Weekly Update #74 – 12 September 2021

St Columba’s United Reformed Church

30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW

Weekly Update #74
12th September 2021

From the Minister                                       “It’s just not cricket” – or is it?  

I’m a cricket fan. And this summer, live on free-to-view television, I’ve been watching The Hundred, which is touted as the salvation of cricket in England and Wales. Cricket in this country faces big challenges in connecting with new viewers and (paying) supporters. It is seen as slow, tradition-bound, full of obscure rules and terminology. Its fans are predominantly male, white, and ‘mature’ – “male, pale, and stale”. The Hundred offers a match that’s done and dusted in two to three hours, equal billing for men’s and women’s matches, jazzy team names, and even jazzier team uniforms. It’s not cricket as I have known it (and in part still prefer it), but it is exciting. It draws crowds of the sorts of people not often seen in cricket grounds, including families with youngsters. The Hundred may (or may not) save cricket. Some believe that it’s a travesty that undermines and may kill the true game. It makes me wonder about another declining institution, one with an aging supporter base, perceived as over-traditional, prone to using in-language and odd rules. What might a church do to engage more widely, yet without losing its soul (and its current supporters)?



O God, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to change what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other. Amen.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

Worship Service in the Building
SUNDAY 12th September
St Columba’s United Reformed Church
10.30 A.M. SERVICE 

Led by the Reverend Trevor Jamison

What does it mean for us that Jesus said that you must lose your life in order to save it?
(face coverings still required, one-metre distancing still observed)
SUNDAY 19th September
Apples in the manse gardenWe will celebrate ‘harvest’ at our morning service on Sunday 19 September. This will include a collection of food items for Nite Bite, the church-run project in North Shields, providing food for those who are finding life hard. Items sought include tinned potatoes, meat or fish. Coffee, sugar, and soups where you just add water to make them would also be particularly welcome. Other items will not be refused!

Image: Apples in the Manse Garden (photo by SGU)


As more and more people are fully vaccinated and as restrictions about physical distancing ease, we are able to take more steps to return to worship as it was practised before the pandemic began.

From Sunday 12th September, worshippers no longer need to pre-book their seat.

From Sunday 19th September

  • Chairs in the worship area will be linked back together – couples, families, and those in a ‘social bubble’ may sit together, whilst space for individuals who wish or need to maintain distancing will also be respected
  • Face masks will only be required when singing (but it’s also absolutely fine to wear one throughout the service)
  • Services may now last up to 45 minutes
  • More worshippers will now be able to participate through Bible-reading and leading prayers
  • Sanitising of hands upon entry to and exit from the building will be maintained

Please be understanding about any ‘hiccups’ as we make these changes. Also, please be respectful of the feelings and wellbeing of others.

From Sunday 3rd October

  • We will begin offering refreshments in the church hall after the service
  • Volunteers to help with this should approach Alison Drew
  • Further details about how this will be organised and will follow soon

Options for worshipping at home on Sundays

Radio 4                   Sunday Worship                                                                  8.10 a.m.
Online                    URC audio service   https://devotions.urc.org.uk/              10.00 a.m. 
Television              BBC 1  Songs of Praise                                                      1.45 p.m.

DISCLAIMER: tv and radio schedules can change, so check the timings are correct!

Bible readings for this week

Proverbs 1:20-33                 Divine wisdom, available to all, but will they accept it?
Psalm 19                              Wisdom and God’s law can be seen in creation
Isaiah 50:4-9a                      God’s servant teaches, and suffers as a result
Psalm 116:1-9                      Thanks for answers to prayer made in time of suffering
James 3:1-12                       Watch what you say – especially (religious) teachers!
Mark 8:27-38                        Readiness to suffer is essential to Jesus’s identity

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

Reflection on the Readings                                   Wisdom Raises Her Voice

Symbol of Wisdom by Pieter d'Hont‘Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice.’ (Proverbs 1:20) Imagining God as a man is a habit hard to break, though a dose of Proverbs chapter one might help with that. Here, divine Wisdom, who Christians tend to associate with God the Holy Spirit, is portrayed as a woman; one offering life-giving advice which is too often ignored.  Taking this image of God seriously should affect our view of God and of ourselves. God is not male (or female) but encompasses everything on the spectrum from one to the other. Our shared call to reflect this image of God in our lives is not about meeting cultural expectations concerning gender. It’s about being human, whatever our gender. To develop the thought of the third century bishop, Irenaeus, ‘the glory of God is a human being fully alive.’

Image: Symbol of Wisdom, Spinoza Bridge, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Songs that respond to the readings

Come and Seek the Way of Wisdoma hymn by Ruth Duck, inspired by the picture in Proverbs of God’s Wisdom/Spirit as a woman calling out to others

The Stars Declare His Glorya hymn By Timothy Dudley-Smith, based upon Psalm 19, about discerning God’s presence and work in creation

News:                Café 2.21  and Square Table Lunches to resume
  • Café 2.21 will reopen on Tuesday 21st September at 10.00 a.m.
  • Square Table Lunches will recommence on Thursday 23rd September at 11.30 a.m.
Appropriate precautions will be in place – further information in next week’s Update
St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation
on Saturdays at 10.00 a.m.

Please note: Coffee and Conversation is currently taking a break

Keeping in Touch

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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