30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #63
13th June 2021
From the Minister Growing in Numbers
If you tell someone to grow up you are probably not suggesting that they add a few inches to their height. Reading the Bible passages set for this Sunday (see below) has got me thinking about growth. I often get told that church members want their congregation to grow, by which they mean grow in numbers. I’m not always sure that they really mean it. After all, if you added many new people to a congregation you would change it, and very few of us are keen on change. Numbers matter. When people say they don’t, it often means they’re not confident that we can grow in numbers. Alternatively, some recognise that growth is not just about numbers (or height). Churches can also grow in the maturity of the faith of their members, and in the strength of relationships, within the congregation, and with surrounding communities. If God told St Columba’s it was time to grow, what that would mean?Trevor Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.’ (Luke 2: 52)
Bless us with growth, O God – in our thinking and our numbers; in our relationship with you and with others. We ask it in Jesus’ name.
WORSHIP FOR SUNDAY 13th JUNE 10 .30 a.m. Service at St Columba’s United Reformed Church
Led by the Reverend Trevor Jamison
See below for how to book your place
For the fruits of all creation;
Listen to the word which God has spoken;
The kingdom of God is justice and joy.
Worship Services in the Building
You need to book your seat for a service in the building. To do so, please contact Alison Drew between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon.on the Friday immediately prior to that service.
We have one 30-minute service at 10.30 a.m. Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings are observed, but those from the same household should be able to sit together.
Seats will be filled from the front of the church to the back, and you must take the seat allocated to you by the stewards.
Other options for worshipping at home on Sunday
Online URC audio service https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ 10.00 a.m.
Radio Radio 4 Sunday Worship 8.10 a.m.
Television BBC 2 Songs of Praise 1.15 p.m.
DISCLAIMER: tv and radio schedules can change, so check the timings are correct!
Bible readings for This Week
Ezekiel 17:22-24 God plants a nation which grows to maturity
Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15 The righteous flourish like a growing tree
2 Corinthians 5: 6 – 10 (11 – 13) 14 – 17 In Christ = new creation
Mark 4:26-34 Jesus teaches using parables of growth
Reflection on the Readings Can’t see the teaching for the trees
Today’s Bible readings are full of shrubs and trees. In Psalm 92:12-13 it’s palm trees and cedars. In Ezekiel 17:22-24 the nation is a sprig planted by God which turns into a mature tree (a cedar once again). In Jesus’s parables in Mark 4, seeds scattered on the ground become grain in the fields (26-28), and a tiny mustard seed becomes the greatest of shrubs, providing shade for God’s creatures. (30-32) Jesus begins his parables with, ‘the kingdom of God is as if …’ (26) and ‘with what can we compare the kingdom of God?’ (30) Another way of putting it would be the ‘reign’ or ‘rule’ of God is like … When God’s at work, Jesus says, there is growth. When God’s at work, such growth sustains us, like the grain that gets tuned into bread; such growth protects us, like a mighty shrub providing shade on a hot day. God, according to Jesus is our sustainer and protector. Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash
A Song that responds to the readings
For The Fruits of All Creation, a hymn that references Jesus’s parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29) in its mention of ‘silent growth while we are sleeping.’ Sung here by the Cathedral Choir of St John the Divine, New York
Our next Church Meeting is due to take place on Wednesday 23rd June at
We will reflect on how worship at the church is going, and have an update about renewing the stonework and roof of the building. We’ll hear about plans for remembrance and celebration events when we emerge fully from the pandemic. Also looking to the future, we’ll discuss what we think is the most appropriate pattern of worship for this congregation.
To view the Agenda for the meeting, see the email version of the Weekly Update.
To view the previous meeting’s Minutes, see the email version of the Weekly Update.
To view the Notes about Remembrance and Celebration Events, see the email version of the Weekly Update.
Bible Ecology Course Offered by the North East Church Environment Group
How is Christianity responding to the challenge of the Climate Crisis?? Does the Bible help or hinder us when thinking about creation-care?These are some of the questions addressed in The Bible and Ecology Course., taking place via Zoom, 7.30-9.00 p.m., on Thursdays 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 July.