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? SEAT BOOKING NO LONGER REQUIRED.
JUST TURN UP ON THE DAY
(face coverings still required, one-metre distancing still observed)
SUNDAY 19th September
HARVEST SERVICE FOOD COLLECTION
We 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)
NEXT STEPS IN OPENING UP WORSHIP IN THE CHURCH BUILDING
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
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
Reflection on the Readings Wisdom Raises Her Voice
‘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.’