Weekly Update #72: 15 August 2021

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #72
15th August 2021

From the Minister                            Warm Weather
parasol and deckchairssilhouette of trees in night fireSo, it’s holiday time for me, and for the first time in some while it won’t all be a ‘holiday at home’! Like many who are fortunate to enjoy a summer holiday, I am hoping for warm, dry weather, though I’m realistic about what Northern Ireland and Scotland might provide, even in August. Thoughts of paying a return visit to Greece this year were put aside. First there were seemingly ever-changing requirements for test and isolation when travelling abroad. Then we saw the pictures of forest fires, plus Facebook posts from Greek friends, as the flames got alarmingly close, but then stopped short of, their house in Athens. There’s a limit to how warm we want things to get, and as the recent international scientific report about the world’s climate demonstrates, we have reached it, and then some. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58130705

It would be easy to conclude that the situation is beyond our control, so we may as well ‘eat, drink and be merry’ and try not to think about how that saying ends. Still, as the report itself concludes, though we, humankind, got ourselves into this mess, we still have the capacity to get ourselves out of it, if we make a huge effort to do so. We’ll continue to do our little bit to recycle, reuse and reduce; we’ll press our politicians to do their bit at home and abroad; and we’ll pray to God for the salvation and flourishing of God’s creation, ourselves included.


Images: Parasol and deckchairs  by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay
and photo of forest fire by Henrique Malaguti on Unsplash

The Minister is on holiday until Monday 6th September. If you have a significant and urgent concern, please contact the Church Secretary, Alison Drew.

Prayer            By Molly Pugmire of Climate Justice for All

Creator of all life,
We thank you for the precious Earth
you so carefully crafted.
How grateful we are
for the blessing it is
to marvel at your wonderful creation.
We lament the ways
in which humans have chosen to seek dominance
instead of practising care.
We ask that you would humble us
and help us to see ourselves
not as separate from the rest of creation
but as components of it.
Guide us as we seek to turn
our gratitude for the Earth
into action to care for it,
and let us never forget
that to love and care for the Earth
is an expression of our worship and love for you.


This week’s bonus song

If God saw creation as jazz …

Led by Valerie Taylor
of St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Monkseaton

10.30 a.m. Service at Saint Columba’s United Reformed Church –
now singing the hymns, and seating capacity increased to forty
Book your seat by contacting Alison Drew between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon on the Friday immediately prior to the service.

Other options for worshipping at home on Sunday

Radio                  Radio 4                                                                                 8.10 a.m.
Online                URC audio service   https://devotions.urc.org.uk/              10.00 a.m. 
Television          BBC 1                       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

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14                 What does a new king need to rule well?
Psalm 111                                      ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom’
Proverbs 9:1-6                                Wisdom is food and drink for life
Psalm 34:9-14                                Fear the Lord and do good – that’s wise
Ephesians 5:15-20                         Living wisely when the end is near
John 6:51-58                                  Eat Jesus and live for ever! Really?

You can read the Bible passages online at https://www.biblegateway.com/

Reflection on the Readings                   Wise After the Event

lamp of wisdom sculptureToday’s readings talk a lot about wisdom and a fair amount about fear, sometimes linking the two. Solomon, new to the role of King, now that David has died, requests wisdom from God so that his rule will prosper. Psalm 111 begins by praising God and closes by saying that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9 portrays divine wisdom as a woman inviting you to a meal which will sustain you for life (and in John 6 Jesus talks about his flesh and blood as the basis of a life-giving meal). In Ephesians 5 we are told that in evil times wise people use their time to understand God’s will, not take refuge in drunken despair. We do live in fearful times: COVID 19 is by no means eradicated. The very fabric of this planet is under threat from climate change. Again and again the Bible readings suggest that wisdom is not simply about what goes in your mind. Wisdom involves finding right basis for taking actions. In difficult times, first take account of God. That’s for your benefit and for that of others – and so it’s the wise thing to do.

Image: Peter Dean ‘Lamp of Wisdom Sculpture’, Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire.

Songs that respond to the readings

Two versions of Ruth Duck’s hymn, Holy Wisdom, Lamp of Learning


And a reflective version of Psalm 111, praising God for God’s wonderful works, and remembering that ‘fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’

News                     Festival in Northumberland Square – 4th September

A free festival, celebrating North Tyneside’s cultural diversity, is due to take place in Northumberland Square – just across the road from St Columba’s – from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 4th September. There will be food stalls, activities, and music, ranging from traditional Jewish folk to songs from Bollywood movies.

Opportunity to take part in URC Holiday Forum – 21-27 August 2021

Holiday Forum is a week of faith, fun and fellowship, with friends from all around the URC – this year online. You can join in with Forum on the theme of living and loving in a world that seems ever more tribal. Worship is led by Northern Synod’s Mission Enabler, Jane Rowell, who has led worship at St Columba’s in recent times. The main speaker is the lively and challenging Professor Anthony Reddie, from the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture. To find out how to take part, contact Mathew Hall

St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation
on Saturdays at 10.00 a.m.

Please note: Coffee and Conversation will be taking a break in August

Keeping in Touch – Your contact details

If your contact details (address, telephone or email) change please make sure to inform our Church Secretary Alison Drew.

You can contact your designated Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.

Minister: Reverend Trevor Jamison                 Church Secretary: Alison Drew
minister.northshieldsurc@gmail.com               [email protected].com
0191 290 1193         07896 899538                 0191 251 9774

Copyright © 2021 St Columba’s United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.

Registered Address:
St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square

North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE30 1PW

United Kingdom

St Columba’s United Reformed Church Charity is a registered charity in England & Wales, number 1164784.

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