E-Newsletter – 23rd October 2020
A gentle reminder that the clocks change this weekend, permitting that extra hour for R & R! As the light shortens most of us feel a shift in the year; and thoughts of hibernation come to mind. In the media there is much advice on how to survive the winter in the year of Covid. A warm coat and getting outside for some fresh air is the oft-repeated advice. In addition to that piece of common sense, maybe we can add the companionship of our church community and the strength and belief of our faith. At the heart of our faith is the consolation that we are not alone, and that we are loved, even when we don’t particularly feel it. At St Columba’s, Pont Street and St Andrew’s, Newcastle I hope our shared faith will keep us making the effort to stay in touch and enquire after others. I hope too, our shared faith will inform the work that is undertaken by staff and volunteers to feed our homeless guests over the coming weekends of winter or the many alternative ways that we seek to love God and our neighbour as ourselves.
Along with the other bits of news, we share for a second 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. (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.
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
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:
Offerings to St Andrew’s, Newcastle can be made via:
Account - Church of Scotland
Sort code - 40-34-18
Account number – 11310747
Following summer break we have reinstituted the Families’ Newsletter. We are currently hoping to establish two Sunday School meetings before Christmas. More detail to follow. Families are of course very welcome to attend any Sunday morning service, even while there is no Sunday School provision. Activity sheets are provided. Please know that you are always welcome, even on Sundays when there is no specific Sunday School provision.
Christmas Card Competition
St Columba’s Book Club
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.
St Columba's Tennis Club
The Adults' Coaching programme has been updated for this Autumn, with sessions on offer for players of every standard. A new, 6:00pm Tuesday evening session starts this week (from 15th September) for intermediate/club standard adults, while beginners/'rusty racquets' are encouraged to join the Saturday session at 1:30pm.
Saturday morning Junior coaching has been split into more groups to reflect both the standard and ages of players. This includes a new group for 11 years and over at 10:30am and a Teen Squad session (13+) from 11:15am. The first sessions started this weekend (12th September), so do contact David to book a place or email him a completed Juniors' Autumn 2020 Coaching Form.
David's full programme of coaching can be found on the Club website http://www.stcolumbastennis.co.uk/, under Tennis/Coaching. Please note that all sessions need to be pre-booked with David, as numbers may be limited.