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E-Newsletter- 2nd October 2020

General Assembly, Harvest Festival & Jane Haining


Where to begin this week? Taking things chronologically, you could start with the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Commencing on Friday evening, the 2020 General Assembly will necessarily be very different from the traditional week of worship, business and social events held in Edinburgh each May. Instead of 800 Commissioners in the General Assembly Hall there will be 800 people on Zoom webinar with just the “Top Table and a few techies” in the Hall. A new online Assembly Hub has been created so that Commissioners can actively take part with voting, asking questions etc. Anyone wishing to watch the proceedings will find a live stream on the Church of Scotland website under General Assembly 2020.

Proceedings in the General Assembly Hall in Edinburgh will be chaired by Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, with only urgent business to be considered during the shortened two-day event. HM The Queen will not be represented by a Lord High Commissioner this year, but she will instead send a letter to the General Assembly. The agenda has been slimmed down due to COVID19 lockdown restrictions but commissioners will be able to engage with discussions and vote online.

St Columba’s will play its part. Elder, Susan Pym will be one of those out front, as Vice Convener of the Assembly Business Committee, helping everyone move through the reports and deliverances. And Commissioners taking part this year are fellow elders, Catharine Robertson, Graham Cummings, Ian Russell and Alistair Cumming. We wish them all wisdom as they engage in important considerations on behalf of the wider Church of Scotland. We are asked to pray for the Moderator, the Right Rev Dr Martin Fair and for a productive General Assembly without too many technical hitches!

Prayer for the General Assembly
Almighty God,
your Son promised his disciples
that he would be with them always.
Hear the prayer we offer for your servants
now to meet in General Assembly.
May your Holy Spirit rest on them:
a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
Grant them vision and courage;
unite them in love and peace;
teach them to be trustworthy stewards of your truth.
And so guide them in all their doings
that your kingdom may be advanced,
your people confirmed in their most holy faith,
and your unfailing love declared to all the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Common Order)

Closer to home, we celebrate Harvest Sunday this weekend. As Magazine Editor, Patricia Clarke writes in the new edition of the Church Magazine: “Normally we would be arriving for the Harvest Festival service to find the church beautifully decorated by the Flower Guild…it is difficult not to feel a pang of regret for things as they ought to be.” Maybe part of our Harvest appreciation this year is to admire the beauty of the natural world wherever it meets us – garden, park, or countryside and to acknowledge the blessings of the food we have. We can also respond by finding ways to share, either by donating specific items to the Upper Room food bank appeal or the Christian Aid global neighbours appeal (details for both appeals are in the E-Newsletter.)

Prayer for Harvest
God of faithfulness,
your generous love supplies us
with the fruits of the earth in their seasons.
Give us grace to be thankful for your gifts,
to use them wisely,
and to share our plenty with others;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Finally, on Wednesday next week, (7th October) St Columba’s plays host to the Caledonian Lecture 2020. In 2018, ten of London’s, Scottish organisations – collaborated extensively to mark the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I. From those Scots in Great War London events, has grown the fledgling Scots in London association – an expanded collaboration of charities, clubs, congregations and businesses, who seek to enhance and promote the contribution that Scots continue to make in this most diverse and fast-paced capital city. Under the patronage of The Princess Royal, Wednesday evening’s Caledonian Lecture, held at St Columba’s, is the first event under the Scots in London banner. We hope, the first of many.

The subject of the lecture is Jane Haining, the Church of Scotland missionary, who died in Auschwitz, as a result of her loyalty and devotion to the Jewish schoolgirls in her care. It is an incredibly moving story of an ordinary woman, making an extraordinary contribution. To be reminded about faith and courage in time of prejudice and fear, is timely and inspiring. Mary Miller, author of Jane Haining: A Life of Love & Courage and our speaker does it full justice. The evening is scheduled to include Scottish and Hungarian music and words from both Hungary’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the British Ambassador to Hungary. Please tune in for this innovative, virtual, St Columba’s event and invite friends and families to join you online. The lecture is available via the church website from 6pm on Wednesday 7th October, https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/caledonianlecture.

First they came
First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me
(Pastor Martin Niemoller)

See you on Sunday


Worship at St Columba’s, Sunday 4 th October 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.

Live Streaming of Worship – Sunday 4 th October 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.

Harvest 2020

Due to the current restrictions our usual plans for Harvest have slightly changed. If you would like to donate items to The Upper Room, you are very welcome to do so, details below. Alternatively, if you would rather make a financial donation online to Christian Aid, details are noted below with details about the Christian Aid Harvest Resources available on the CA website.

Harvest Appeal - UR4 Meals - The Upper Room


The Upper Room charity provides thousands of meals a year for the homeless and disadvantaged people. We are collecting tins of tuna, sunflower oil, olive oil, pasta, tinned vegetables, face masks and hand sanitisers on three Sundays, 27th September, 4th and 11th October. Collection area: Upper Vestibule, where there will be a large box for donated items.

If you cannot make it to church and would like to donate to The Upper Room you can send a cheque made payable to “The Upper Room” to The Upper Room, St Saviour Wendell Park Church, Cobbold Road, London W12 9LN.

Thank you - UR4 Meals!

Christian Aid - Harvest Information


There are very useful CA resources available on the above website. Financial donations will help families in Nicaragua to grow cocoa plants and also pay towards the training of technicians to assist a farming community for a month. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America and badly affected by climate change. Let's be global Harvest Neighbours!


Debt Petition

Christian Aid are running a Cancel the Debt Campaign to lobby the Chancellor to cancel debt for some of the world's poorest countries. If you would like to sign up details are on the CA link below:


If you can’t make it to church and would like to donate to Christian Aid you can send a cheque made payable to Christian Aid to Christian Aid, 35 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7RL.

Glassdoor Sleepout 2020

Charities have had to be creative this year with the way they are fundraising and Glassdoor has stepped up with the Sleepout (or in) 2020. For the first time ever all the participants are brought together via live stream. Broadcasting from the Duke of York Square on the 2nd October 2020, join the likes of Colin Firth, Jim Carter and the Mayor of RBKC Gerard Hargreaves to Sleepout in your back garden, on the floor at home or something else entirely. More details can be found here https://www.glassdoor.org.uk/Appeal/sleepout-or-in-2020

General Assembly 2020

This year’s Church of Scotland General Assembly takes place this Friday, 2nd October and all day Saturday. Anyone wishing to watch the proceedings will find a live stream on the Church of Scotland website using the following link https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/about-us/general-assembly/general-assembly2020.

Caledonian Lecture: Jane Haining, Scottish Heroine

The Caledonian Lecture, in association with St Columba’s Church, Scots in London and the Hungarian Embassy, will be a virtual event. Join us at 6 pm on Wednesday 7th October for a Scottish Hungarian musical prelude prior to the Lecture by Mary Miller at 6.30 pm, followed by a Q&A session and a Vote of Thanks by HE The Hungarian Ambassador. The link to view the Lecture is: https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/caledonianlecture

A copy of the Lecture programme will be available to download together with information on how to make a discretionary donation to the Robert Burns International Foundation, whose Honorary President is Sir Alex Ferguson. A joint Scottish/Hungarian dinner to commemorate Jane Haining will be held at the Caledonian Club when restrictions are lifted.

Congestion Charge

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.

Church Office

Office Hours 9am to 4pm.
Contact details;
Tel: 020 7584 2321
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.stcolumbas.org.uk
Facebook: @stcolumbaschurchpontstreet
Twitter: @LondonKirk
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.

Congregational Offerings

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

Families’ Newsletter

Following summer break we have reinstituted the Families’ Newsletter. In the meantime, we hope all children, parents and teachers are settling into the new school year. We are currently hoping to establish Sunday School on a monthly basis. 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.

Christmas Card Competition

This year Angus and Lucy are running a Christmas Card Competition. We would like the children of St Columba’s to design a Christmas card. If you can use the theme of love, hope and togetherness and/or your favourite thing about Christmas and send your pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the 8th November 2020.

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!

St Columba’s Book Club

The online St Columba’s book club is going from strength to strength with new members joining regularly. The October meeting will take place on the 12th at 7pm. This month’s book will be Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson. Please get in touch with the Church Office for details on how to join the meeting.

Happy Hour

Happy Hour will meet via Zoom on Wednesday 14 October at 6.30 pm (the Caledonian Lecture is taking place the previous Wednesday). Our discussion theme has a harvest flavour as we look at the significance of food - socially, culturally and in religion.

Newcomers are always welcome. If you would like to join us, please email Kate to be added to the Zoom invitation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

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

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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