E-Newsletter – 13th December 2020, Third Sunday of Advent
As I write, a small but dedicated team is decorating the Christmas tree in the sanctuary. The tree has been designated by Michael Dempsey, our caretaker, “the biggest ever!” The logistics of arranging lights, stars and sparkles are considerable. But when complete, it will provide a lovely glow of beauty and welcome for the third Sunday in Advent (13th December.)
Following on from a safe and happy return of worshippers into the building last Sunday, this week sees the planned return of the choir for the first time since March. And we also welcome families to a Sunday School gathering*. The children will join us at the start of the 11am service, before leaving for their activities. It will be a very happy opportunity to see some church friends after a long break, and just having our young people in the building will be a good sign of life for all of us.
[* Families should go into the sanctuary as usual for the start of the service and the children will leave for their session after the children’s address. Please can one parent/carer accompany your child(ren) to the Upper Hall, where Roddy and Lesley will be waiting to welcome you. The children can be collected as usual at the end of the service. We can’t present a Nativity this year so during the session we hope to take a few photos and/or short video clips to share with the congregation via the website and social media. If you are happy for your child(ren) to be included, you will be asked to complete a permission form. ’]
I hope many of you will have received a congregational Christmas card this week, with greetings and times of our Christmas services. Courtesy of two, in-house, young artists, this year’s cards are designed by St Columbans, Sebastian Williams and Claire Gorrie. Nice work you guys!
For those wishing to mark Advent in additional, prayerful ways, there are prayer & poetry resources from the Congregational Prayer Group for this weekend in the newsletter. And please remember to sign up well in advance if you wish to attend any/all of our services over the Christmas period. Book early to avoid no room in the pew!
See you soon,
Worship at St Columba’s, Sunday 13th December 2020
For all the details about the upcoming 11am services at St Columba’s- health and safety precautions, mask wearing etc. please visit
https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/worship-during-covid.Please try to register your attendance before 3pm on Friday - it does help to speed up the track and trace.
For those attending on Sunday please remember that parking restrictions are in place around the Church throughout December. You cannot park in resident’s bays but you are permitted to park on the single yellow line as normal.
Live Streaming of Worship – Sunday 13th December 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. The words for the hymns and scripture readings 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.
Hymns, Music & Readings this week are:
277 Hark the glad sound! the Saviour comes (Crediton)
291 When out of poverty is born (Kingsfold)
515 Soldiers of Christ (From strength to strength)
Anthem: Cantate domino, Pitoni
Old Testament Readings: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
New Testament Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Services over Christmas & New Year*
Sunday 20th December 11.00am Lessons & Carols
(Attended & Live-streamed)
Thursday 24th December 6.00pm Christmas Eve Service
(Attended & Live streamed)
Friday 25th December 11,00am Christmas Morning Family Service
(Attended & Live-streamed)
Sunday 27th December 11.00am Morning Worship
(Attended & Live-streamed)
Sunday 3rd January 11.00am Morning Worship (Epiphany)
(Attended & Live-streamed)
* To attend any/all of these services, please sign up before 1pm on the Tuesday 22nd December.
Office Hours 9am to 4pm.
Tel: 020 7584 2321
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
If you wish to come into the sanctuary for prayer during the week, please contact the Office to arrange a suitable time.
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.
Details on the many ways you can support St Columba’s can be found here https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/giving/supporting-st-columbas
Offerings to St Andrew’s, Newcastle can be made via:
Account - Church of Scotland
Sort code - 40-34-18
Account number – 11310747
Due to the current restrictions, unfortunately we will not be able to do our usual Sox & Boxers collection. As an alternative way of contributing to the Christmas Appeal, you may like to consider making a financial donation to either Glass Door or to Borderline. Thank you, from the Mission Committee.
Glass Door Update
Glass Door has significantly adapted its emergency shelter provision in response to coronavirus. Instead of running rotating night shelters, throughout the coldest months, up to 92 guests every night are staying in private hostel rooms (with full board) and increased access to Glass Door caseworkers. Whilst this new service is much safer, it comes at a dramatically increased cost. However, just £30 gives someone who would otherwise be on the street an individual room and three meals for the day. £1,440 pays for food and room for all guests (up to 48 people) in one of their two hostel buildings for a night. If you would like to donate to Glass Door’s Christmas appeal, please visit www.glassdoor.org.uk/donate.
Cheques payable to 'Glass Door Homeless Charity' and post to:
Attn. Ian Foster - Fundraising Managing
GlassDoor Homeless Charity
155a Kings Road
London SW3 5TX
Cheques payable to 'New Borderline' and post to:
Attn. Andrew Ellison - Fundraising Manager
22 City Road
London EC1Y 2AJ
St Columba’s Book Club – 11th January 2020, 7.00pm
The January meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will take place on the 11th January at 7pm (via Zoom). This month’s book will be “Where the Crawdad’s Sing” by Delia Owens. New members are very much encouraged, please get in touch with the Church Office for more detail.
SCRIPTURE & SILENT PRAYER FOR ADVENT
ST COLUMBA’S, PONT STREET & ST ANDREW’S, NEWCASTLE 13th December 2020, ADVENT III
“Advent is the hush in the theatre,
between the house lights going down and the curtain going up.”
“To create times of silent prayer and reflection each day calls for a sense of its importance and for a discipline.”
BEFORE WE PRAY
This Advent we use a mixture of scripture & poetry to lead us into our silent prayer. The scriptures reflect those selected by the Revised Common Lectionary which we use at Morning Service. Once the silence begins let yourself be drawn towards/ to
savour a particular verse, or even just a single word. Our normal prayer time lasts for fifteen minutes.
God of Advent,
In this fading year, with so much loneliness and loss,
come to heal and hold:
In this interrupted year, with so much left undone or un-begun –
come to hold and mend:
In this locked-down year, with so much grounded and reduced – come to liberate, launch and renew.
Christ, our child of promise,
within your infant hands
you hold the grace and joy that will transform -
our lives, our Church, our world.
Make us ready to receive. Amen.
SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 61:1-3
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion - to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
POEM: The Kingdom, R S Thomas
It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
Festivals at which the poor man
Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look
At themselves and love looks at them
Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured
By life. It’s a long way off, but to get
There takes no time and admission
Is free, if you purge yourself
Of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
Of your faith, green as a leaf.
TIME OF QUIET
COLLECT FOR THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
God of power and mercy, you call us once again to celebrate the coming of your Son. Remove those things which hinder love of you, that when he comes he may find us waiting in awe and wonder for him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
In Advent, Christmas and coming New Year,
let us grow with You:
from darkness, into light,
from isolation, to community,
from despair, to hope.
Holy Child, Servant King, Prince of Peace,
with us, despite us,
for us, beside us.
be near us, now and always. Amen.
(Prayers adapted from Life & Work, December 2020)