COVID 19 Update
In this time of health emergency, rapid change and longer-term uncertainty, as people of faith we are not immune to the anxieties and fears of the wider public. As people of faith we also have responsibilities to each other and the wider community whom we seek to serve. Accordingly, in line with Government and Church guidance, we are suspending all public worship with immediate effect. However, as the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “Public worship will have to stop for a season. But this does not mean that the Church has shut up shop. Far from it.” So, here is what we are planning:
From Monday 23rd March it is our intention to keep the church open between 8am – 12noon, for private prayer. To ensure the safety of our staff and those entering the building, protocols of good hygiene and social distancing are required. All groups that currently use our building during the week will be suspended from Friday 20th March.
From Monday 23rd March the Church Office will be staffed from home.
Office Hours 9am to 4pm. Contact details remain
Tel: 020 7584 2321
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
Live Streaming of Worship, Sunday 11am
Beginning on Sunday 22nd March at 11am* it is our intention to live stream an act of worship from St Columba’s, Pont Street, led by the Minister. This can be watched via the church website, www.stcolumbas.org.uk at 11am (not available on catch up).
To access the live stream click the Menu button in the top right hand side of the page and scroll down and click on “Live Stream”. This will bring up the live stream to the church.
The act of worship of approximately 30 minutes, will include prayers, a sermon and music. (Note: This will not be public worship that everyone can attend, but an offering of prayer and praise, on behalf of us all.)
* In the event of equipment unavailability, live streaming of worship may be delayed until Sunday 29th March.
At present the Sunday Night Shelter, with some modification, is planned to continue for the remaining Sundays of the Night Shelter season. The ReStart Friday evening drop-in is also planning to provide modified provision. At present we are not able to provide lunch to Guests on a Sunday.
Maintaining Community and Supporting Each Other
It is hoped that everybody will play a part in maintaining contact with others via telephone, e-mail or letter, especially those who are particularly vulnerable. Our Elders are encouraged to make contact with those in their districts, and church members are welcome to contact the church office to request a contact from their elder or the Minister.
Congregational Offerings & Lent Appeal
Every organisation and household will be affected by the current economic and social disruption. While we are unable to meet for worship and cannot allow groups to hire and meet in our facilities, we have to maintain the building and meet ongoing, significant financial commitments for the wider Church of Scotland. Please consider your offerings to the ongoing work of St Columba’s.
Bank details are as follows:-
Account - St Columba’s Church of Scotland No. 2 A/C
Sort code – 16 00 42
Account number – 00264741
If you would like to make a contribution to our Lent Appeal, 500 Miles (https://www.500miles.co.uk/). Please use the same bank details but make the description “Lent Appeal” or “LA” or if you decide to post a cheque please make sure it is clear in your cover note, it is for the Lent Appeal.
Finally, What can we do?
Stay in Contact: As disciples of Christ we are called to be faithful – both in times of plenty, and in time of crisis. How might we do that? By maintaining perspective, appreciating what we have, remaining prayerful and in looking out for the needs of others, particularly those feeling vulnerable and isolated. “Social distancing” may have sensible health grounds, but minimising physical contact certainly does not prevent other ways of meaningful communication and support. Telephone calls, a note, an e-mail, a check to make sure someone has food – all these will help.
The Gift of Prayer: “Pray with them sometimes; pray for them always.”
This was the advice given to military chaplains about soldiers, in WWI – recognition that the church goes where the people are, and recognition that we can hold others in prayer, and in turn be held, even when apart. So, we can pray for all who are ill, all who offer medical and emotional support, all who carry heavy duties and responsibilities and all who grieve. From last week’s Order of Service.
Dear God our Shield and our Defender, guide and protect my neighbour in this time of health emergency; deliver them from all harm and may your love and care ever grow in this place.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.
What can we do?
The Light of the World. This Sunday, Mothering Sunday, 22nd March, Church of England congregations are inviting everyone to place a lighted candle in their home window at 7.00pm, as a sign of solidarity and hope in the inextinguishable light of Christ. You might like to do the same.
The Lord bless you and keep you,
19th March 2020
Note: All details and arrangements are subject to change in the light of new advice. Flexibility and good humour will be key!’