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E-Newsletter- 13th August 2020

DOORS OPENING, EARLY SERVICE, LIVE STREAM, PRIVATE PRAYER, VOLUNTEERING & GIVING

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Psalm 122:1-2

Last Sunday real-live people crossed the threshold at St Columba’s for worship - the first time since March. The Early Service was small in attendance, but proved that the logistics of re-opening for worship were in place. Thanks go to the Out of Lockdown Working Group, and in particular to Lucy Llewellyn and Michael Dempsey for undertaking all the necessary preparations. These will undoubtedly be refined week by week, as we see what works, and try hard to make the experience as smooth and welcoming as possible.

One worshipper described last Sunday: “It was with anticipation on a beautiful sunny morning that we went to Pont Street – some more nervous than others; some simply happy to be there, some clearly quite delighted. There was capacity for 48. It rather seems as if lots of people stayed away, to give lots of other people the opportunity to be there! We were widely spaced in the pews. A lot of work has gone into managing arrival, the 9.30 service itself, and subsequent departure. It would be lovely if plenty of other folk now feel confident enough both to travel and to join us – no pressure, but they will almost certainly find it fulfilling.”

Further good news is that St Andrew’s, Newcastle are now planning towards opening for worship from Sunday 6th September 2020.

Worship at St Columba’s in August & September

Throughout August and September there will be two services on Sunday mornings: 9.30-10.00am Early Service. (Attendance, maximum 48 people) 11.00am-12.00 noon Morning Service (Live-streamed; unattended.) Both services will be led by the minister (or visiting preachers on Sunday 23rd & 30th August) in the main sanctuary.

[Headline considerations: Early Service, limited numbers in the sanctuary and social distancing; masks to be worn; music, but no hymn singing; Track & Tracing details requested; refreshments not served.]

Prior to Sunday worship: Notifying your intention to attend
Over the coming Sundays, we request that if you wish to attend the 9.30am Early Service you contact the Church Office each week, to add your name to the list of attendees. You can telephone 020 7584 2321 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Giving your details in advance will ensure you have a place for Sunday service that week, and speed up entry to the building, while completing Track & Tracing procedures. Pre-booking attendance at worship certainly feels odd, but we want to avoid people arriving and finding there are no seats left.

Sunday Early Service: Arrival & Entry to the Building

Please observe physical distancing inside and outside our building. There may be a small delay getting people inside. Allow plenty of time to arrive before service. The doors will be open from 9.00am. If required, the socially- distanced queue will be from the front door round the Lennox Gardens side of the building.

Sunday Early Service: Safety & Hygiene

Anyone is welcome to attend St Columba’s, but please do not, if you have any COVID19 symptoms. If you are feeling unwell, please follow the steps on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Government advice is that you must wear a face mask while you are in the building unless you have a health or disability reason not to. Please come with and wear your own face masks while in the building. (A small supply of masks will be available if you do not have/ forget your own.) To observe good hygiene, hand sanitiser stations are on site. We ask that you use these to keep yourself and others safe. Ladies, Gents and Disabled toilets will be open, with a one in, one out system of use. The lift will be in operation, for those who require it.

Sunday Early Service: Inside the Sanctuary

As you enter the entrance vestibule a member of the stewarding team will check your name off the attendance list and indicate to follow arrows marking the staircase designated for going up to the sanctuary. There will be a one way system in use for going up and coming down, between entrance vestibule and sanctuary. Inside the sanctuary you will see that two out of every three pews are roped off. The remaining “open” pew will have markings to indicate where worshippers should sit. There will generally be three marked spaces in each pew. Members of the same household can sit together. Please be understanding if you are shown to a seat that is not in your usual place.
To adhere to government regulations the sanctuary has been cleared. The pew cushions, bibles, hymn books, Gift Aid envelopes and the Children’s Quiet Corner have been removed to reduce contamination and assist post-service cleaning.

Sunday Early Service: Content

The Early Service, 9.30-10.00am will include prayers, bible readings, a sermon and musical interlude. Unfortunately there will be no congregational singing.
Sunday Early Service: Departure

At the conclusion of the service we ask that worshippers leave the building via the designated one way system and maintain social distancing, particularly at narrow points and exits. We are not able to offer refreshments after service. We know how valuable time to talk and catch up is; we encourage you to phone/Zoom etc, the person with whom you would normally have coffee. Some people may wish to remain in the sanctuary after service for a moment of quiet. While encouraging that, the sanctuary will require to be clear by 10.15am to enable sound checks and preparation for the 11am live-streamed Morning Service.

Sunday Early Service: Givings

For the moment there will not be an offering at the Early Service. Currently, medical advice discourages the use of cash. We continue to encourage people to give electronically, either via the Donate Button on the website www.stcolumbas.org.uk or via the planned giving programme (details in E-Newsletter below.)

Sunday Early Service: Track & Tracing

To assist Track & Tracing we will keep a record (name and telephone number) of everybody who enters the building. The information will be held securely on the premises for 21 days. Should someone in the congregation fall ill and test positive for Covid-19 the details of who was in the church with that person will be passed to the NHS who will then make contact with those who may be at a greater risk of contracting the virus.

Sunday Early Service: Stewarding Team Volunteers

Opening the building safely and efficiently, for the Early Service during August and September, requires a minimum team of six volunteers. Traditionally, these duties are undertaken by our elders. In current circumstances however we would be very grateful to receive offers of help from any member of the congregation. To volunteer, please contact the Church Office. Volunteers need to arrive at St Columba’s between 8.308.45am and will be free by approx. 10.30am.

Please note we asking people not to step forward, if they are clinically vulnerable i.e. over 70, regardless of medical condition, or in alternative vulnerable categories, or if anyone in their household is showing even mild symptoms.

Live Streaming of Worship – Sunday 16th August 2020, 11am

The live stream service continues this Sunday at 11am. Music begins from 10.50am. The service can be watched via the church website, https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/live-stream at 11am.

To access the live stream from the homepage (front page) 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 60 minutes, includes 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.) The words for the hymns will be on the website.

We believe it is really important to continue to live-stream the Morning Service under its current format i.e. for the benefit of those joining worship from afar or those as yet unable to make the journey to Pont Street. For those without internet, the Dial-In facility continues. Many people comment that they do have a sense of worshipping together, even if invisible to each other. While current regulation forbids singing in the pews, the live stream strongly recommends singing in the sitting room!

Dial into Sunday Service

If you are aware of church members or friends who do not have access to internet please inform them that they can now phone in to join the Sunday service. No visuals clearly, but at least they can hear the service. Those interested should follow:
Step 1: At 10.40am call phone number 0203 051 2874.
Step 2: You will be prompted to enter a meeting ID. Please type (using your telephone keypad) 266 883 5072#
Step 3: You will then be asked for a participant number - simply press the #.
Step 4: Enjoy the service! You will hear Ben's organ music from 10.50am.

Sunday: Private Prayer, 1.00-3.00pm

In August we will open the church for a time of quiet and private prayer. The sanctuary will be open to anyone who wishes to come in and pray. Social distancing will be required at all times. Those entering the building will be asked for their contact details to assist with Track & Tracing if/when necessary. No other part of the building, other than the sanctuary, will be open, apart from the toilets. The lift will be in operation. Caretaker and minister will be on hand. In September, we plan to open the sanctuary for prayer at lunchtimes, Tuesday to Friday. Timings tbc.

Congestion Charge

If you are travelling by car, please be aware the London Congestion Charge is now in operation throughout Sundays.

Church Office

Please note that the Church Office will be closed from the 18th August to the 24th August. In this time should you have a pastoral emergency please call 07591926271.

If you need to contact the finance team please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Session Clerk can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Contact details remain;
Website: www.stcolumbas.org.uk
Facebook: @stcolumbaschurchpontstreet
Twitter: @LondonKirk

Maintaining Community and Supporting Each Other

Everybody can 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.

“We Are Church”

Looking for something to keep you smiling during lockdown? We are creating a weekly montage of photos to share on our church social media to show that whilst the doors are closed, We Are Church. We would like photos of you relaxing in your garden, or taking exercise, home schooling, the sights around you or photos from before lockdown. We can all then enjoy spotting friends ‘across the pews”. Please send to Susan by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sharing by text or WhatsApp 07971609034

Congregational Offerings

Every organisation and household is 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.

One-Time Gifts

If you would like to give a one-time gift to St Columba’s you can do this easily through our online giving platform Online Giving. The currency automatically defaults to USD but you can use the drop-down arrow to select GBP. *Please note that there is no need to pay the administration cost that Just Giving ask for. It does not benefit the church in any way. (Using the drop-down menu choose 0%).

Recurring Gifts

If you would like to give a weekly, monthly or quarterly gift, the most efficient way of doing this is setting up a standing order to the church. The Church Office can send you a Congregational Offerings standing order form to fill in, which you can return to the church (we will post to your bank). Alternatively, if it is easier to set the standing order up directly with your bank, please use the following details:
Account - St Columba’s Church of Scotland No. 2 A/C
Sort code – 16 00 42
Account number – 00264741
Reference – Please use an appropriate reference, such your surname and, if you have one, a 4-digit St Columba Gift Aid number, as this helps us match the donation with any Gift Aid form that you have already separately completed. If you don’t remember your number or don’t have one, please get in touch with the finance team on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Offerings to St Andrew’s, Newcastle can be made via:
Account - Church of Scotland
Sort code - 40-34-18
Account number - 11310747

St Columba’s Book Club

The third online St Columba’s book club went very successfully, so much so that the next virtual meeting will be Monday the 14th September at 7pm. The next book will be “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot. If you would like to join the book discussion please contact the office.

St Columba's Tennis Club

St Columba’s Tennis Club is now open again for play. Courts have to be booked at present as hanging around the clubhouse is not yet allowed. For people who haven’t been playing for a while it might be wise to get a bit of help beforehand. David the coach is available at reasonable rates. Telephone 07548 659883. Coaching for children is available. http://www.stcolumbastennis.co.uk/

A Final Thought: Preparing for the Scriptures

When the famous actress, Olivia de Havilland, died in July at the ripe old age of 104, it was reported that she was one of the first women to read the lesson at the American Episcopal Cathedral in Paris in the 1970s. She was a devout Christian bringing up one child in the Episcopal Church and the other in the Roman Catholic Church, the faith of each child’s father.

Up until 2012, she read at the great festivals of the church. ‘It’s a task I love.’ she said. Of her preparation, she reported, ‘You have to convey the deep meaning, you see, and it has to start with your own faith. But first, I always pray. I pray before I start to prepare, as well. In fact, I would always say a prayer before shooting a scene, so this is not so different, in a way!’

Angus

Opening Hours

The office is open from
9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m,
Monday to Friday.

There is a 24-hour answering machine service.

Connect with us

Find us

St Columba’s is located on Pont Street in Knightsbridge in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Church is within easy reach of three London Underground stations – Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line), South Kensington (Piccadilly, Circle and District Lines) and Sloane Square (Circle and District Lines).

St. Columba's
Pont Street
London SW1X 0BD
+44 (0)20-7584-2321
office@stcolumbas.org.uk

Getting here by tube

Knightsbridge Station

Take the Harrods exit if open (front car if coming from the East, rear car if coming from the West). Come up the stairs to street level, carry on keeping Harrods on your right. Turn right into Basil Street. Carry straight on into Walton Place with St Saviour’s Church on your left. At the traffic lights, St Columba’s is to your left across the street. If the Harrods exit is closed, take the Sloane Street exit, turn right into Basil Street. Carry straight on past Harrods with the shop on your right, into Walton Place as before.

South Kensington Station

Come up the stairs out of the station and turn left into the shopping arcade. Turn left again into Pelham Street. At the traffic lights at the end of Pelham Street cross Brompton Road, turn left then immediately right into the narrow street of Draycott Avenue. After just a few yards turn left into Walton Street. Carry on walking up Walton Street until the traffic lights at the corner of Pont Street. Turn right and after a few steps you will be at St Columba’s!

Sloane Square Station

Cross over the square into Sloane Street. Walk along Sloane Street until the traffic lights at the corner of Pont Street. Turn left into Pont Street. St Columba’s will then be in sight.

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