E-Newsletter – 1st November 2020
I was sent these words at the start of this week:
"Christian faith does not assume a life (or world) of continuous security and familiarity. It is fed by scriptures that speak of transience, mortality, provisionality, interruptions and leavings. But, they also whisper that the endings are always beginnings - the leavings, open a door to arrivals that could not have been experienced otherwise. In other words, the loss can be seen as a gift - what Walter Bruggemann calls 'newness after loss.' Peter Millar
November is traditionally the month where we are reminded of our shared humanity and mortality. We mark All Saints Day on 1st November, Remembrance Sunday on 8th November and our Annual Bereavement Service on 22nd November. But as the quotation above suggests, though experiencing sorrow and loss, for ourselves or others, we try to see it in the wider context of lives held by God – in this life and beyond. We try to live with a sense of the promise described in the reading from the Book of Revelation, set for this Sunday
“They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17
May this November be a profound month for us all, but one that also holds glimmers of light and joy. For those who are grieving, may we make especial prayer.
Along with much other news, we share for a final week, the message from the Stewardship Team
Weathering the storm
We live in strange times. Many people, and many churches, have suffered greatly through the pandemic. While there have been significant bumps in the road for St Columba’s over these last few months, we have been blessed in many ways. Though we have lost around £55K in hall hire bookings since April this year – in an ordinary year, a considerable source of income for us - a generous legacy we received in 2019 has allowed St Columba’s to weather the storm so far in 2020. Many churches don’t have this level of financial support to fall back on, and we are very grateful to all those who give to St Columba’s in their will.
Despite the difficulties we have been through, we have worked together and supported each other as a community. There is still much work to be done, however. The Church has aimed to cut discretionary spending as much as possible this year. We did, however, need to upgrade the fire alarm system as a matter of urgency, and that is costing around £40K. The new system will be fully implemented by the end of the year. Many churches would struggle to cover this cost.
There were also some set-up costs involved in organising the provision of live streamed services in 2020. This was a vital investment: the live stream has been so important to so many throughout the pandemic, allowing us to continue to worship together and maintain our community. We are grateful to all those who make the live stream possible each week, and we give thanks that this investment will be available in future.
We are also very grateful to our office and support staff, who have been kept very busy planning the reopening of our Church for the many support groups who rely on our space, where possible and when it is safe to do so, in line with government guidance.
St Columba’s has weathered the storm so far, but your support is needed to ensure we do so in the future. Whilst understanding that many are in difficult circumstances just now, we invite you now, as we do each autumn, to review prayerfully your giving to the Church if you are able, and to continue your support through the weeks and months ahead.
A prayer for good stewardship
Gracious and loving God,
all I have comes from your hand.
You call me to be a steward of your abundance, a caretaker of everything entrusted to me.
Teach me always to use your gifts wisely
and share them generously.
Send your Spirit upon my church family
that working through us all,
we might carry your love to those we serve,
and in the giving, so receive.
Thank you for your continuing support.
Worship at St Columba’s
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.
Live Streaming of Worship
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 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.
Remembrance Sunday 8th November 10.45am
As Sunday 8th is Remembrance Sunday, the service begins at 10.45am. Due to current circumstances there will not be the annual London Scottish Regiment Church Parade on the afternoon of Remembrance Sunday. However it is hoped the London Scottish will be represented within the morning, congregational Remembrance Sunday service.
If you are travelling by car, please be aware the London Congestion Charge is now in operation throughout Sundays. Although the Church is not within the congestion charge zone you may need to check your route through London to see if you need to pay the charge or not.
Office Hours 9am to 4pm.
Tel: 020 7584 2321
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
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
As it is Half Term, there is no Families’ Newsletter this week. But, we are planning for two Sunday School meetings before Christmas - Sunday 8th November (Remembrance Sunday) and Sunday 13th December (Nativity Sunday.) Families are of course very welcome to attend any Sunday morning service, even while there is no Sunday School provision. Activity sheets are provided. We are looking forward to welcoming back the children, but mindful that all arrangements are of course subject to change in accordance with Governmental Guidance. So, worth checking ahead.
Christmas Card Competition
There are two prizes up for grabs for those whose designs are picked to be made into our Christmas Cards, one for 7 year olds and under and one for 8 years +.
We are looking forward to seeing your designs!
Happy Hour Wednesday 4 November 2020 6.30 - 7.30pm
For a few years we held twice yearly services in the City jointly with Crown Court. Looking to the future and perhaps with changing patterns of worship ahead, are there other initiatives we might develop to promote the Church of Scotland in London?
Annual Bereavement Service Sunday 22nd November
Each year we are very aware that the approach to Christmas can be a particularly poignant time in which we remember those who have died. Each year, therefore, we hold our Annual Bereavement Service. We write to those who have experienced the death of a loved one, and whose service was conducted by one of the St Columba’s ministers, in the last seven years, and invite family members and friends to attend this annual service. This year to mitigate the uncertainties of changing Covid19 regulations and reduce the risk of travel, the service will not be attended in person, but made available via our website from 3pm on Sunday 22nd November, at www.stcolumbas.org.uk The service is designed to be quiet and reflective and will last about forty five minutes.
During the service we remember by name those whose funeral or memorial services we have conducted in the past year (1st October 2019 – 30 September 2020). As a congregation we pray for the family and friends of all whose funerals we call to mind. Relatives and friends who have attended in previous years have found the service to be helpful. If there are other names you would particularly like remembered at this service please pass the details to the Church Office and we will seek to include them.
Particularly this year, with all its difficulties, though we will not be physically together, I hope that people can draw strength and comfort from knowing that loved ones are being remembered and prayed for.
St Columba’s Book Club 23 November 7.00pm
The November meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will take place on the 23rd at 7pm (via Zoom). This month’s book will be “Someone in the Distance” by Dorothy Whipple. New members are very much encouraged, please get in touch with the Church Office for more detail.
Lent Appeal 2021
Caledonian Lecture: Jane Haining, Scottish Heroine
There is still time to view this year’s Caledonian Lecture.
The link to view the Lecture is: https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/caledonianlecture
“Pride of Britain” Award for Young St Columban
And finally, here is some wonderful news from the Williams family. Last year, mother, Suzanne, had a very severe accident in the hills of Scotland, while walking with her family. A dramatic rescue was required. All members of the family were involved but son, Sebastian played a particularly significant role. He has been honoured by being included in the ‘Pride of Britain’ show this year. It is on ITV on Sunday evening at 9pm and he has received a much deserved award. The amazing Oban Mountain Rescue team and helicopter crew are in the filming and the rest of the family all feature. A prequel was on ITV London news on Monday. Well done Sebastian – we are mighty proud of you!