E-Newsletter – 29th November 2020, First Sunday of Advent
Monday 30th November is St Andrew’s Day, so this week the main message is a big “shout out” to all the congregation and friends of St Andrew’s, Newcastle. You would undoubtedly have been celebrating Scotland’s patron saint this weekend, if circumstances had permitted. However, while that is not possible, you are very much in our collective thoughts and prayers this weekend.
Sunday also marks the start of Advent – the season of four Sundays running up to the celebration of Christmas. Contrary to the often frantic high street preparations for Christmas, Advent aims to clear a space for anticipation, waiting and expectancy. The readings this Sunday will direct us towards a vigil of waiting – wakefulness, watchfulness and worship. To help us in these weeks, there are resources from the Congregational Prayer Group. They suggest a fifteen minute time of quiet reading, prayer and meditation. I hope the words of scripture and poetry will enhance your thoughts. (See end of e-newsletter)
And a prayer for St Andrew could get us under way:
Lord Jesus Christ,
your apostle Andrew
inspires us as patron of our land.
May we show today
the same enthusiasm for your gospel
which he displayed.
Make our lives as attractive as his,
that the vitality of our faith
and the warmth of our love
may always point beyond us to you.
Like him, may we become
not only disciples but witnesses;
not only your followers
but also your friends. Amen.
See you on Sunday
Live Streaming of Worship
The live stream service continues this Sunday at 11.00am. Music begins from 10.50am. The service can be watched via the church website,
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 prayers, a sermon and music. The words for the hymns will be on the website.
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:
Hymn 273 O come, O come, Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel)
Hymn 279 Make way, make way, for Christ the King (Make Way) Hymn 477 Lo, he comes with clouds descending (Helmsley)
Anthem: Adam Lay ybounden (Ord)
Organ Postlude Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn J.S. Bach BWV 601
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9
New Testament Reading: I Corinthians 1:3-9
Gospel Reading: Mark 13: 24-37
Attendance at Future Services, Sunday 6th December onwards
Currently, we are scheduled to emerge from lock down early next week. London is scheduled to be in tier 2 and Newcastle in tier 3. Subject to confirmation, we therefore anticipate that it will be possible to attend worship both at St Columba’s, Pont Street and St Andrew’s, Newcastle on Sunday 6th December, onwards. If this is the case, the same system employed previously, of registering a place in advance, via the Church Office (St Columba’s) or the Session Clerk (Newcastle) will be re activated. To avoid disappointment, please check details nearer the time. We request that mask-wearing and social distancing continues to be observed. We will be delighted to welcome those who can attend, but fully understand why others may remain home at this stage. The 11am service from St Columba’s will continue to be live-streamed, as well as the Dial-in facility.
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
Zoom Coffee Morning with the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 10.30am, Wednesday 2nd December
Lockdown 2.0 is in full swing here in London and throughout England. To try and break the week up for those who are at home, working from home or need a little something different in the week (and some friendly faces on the screen) I have organised some Zoom coffee mornings.
We will be joined on the 2nd December at 10.30am by The Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In what would have been the moderatorial week in London, Revd Fair will join us to talk about his “odd” year as Moderator and how COVID had changed things for the Church.
On the 9th December at 10.30am we will be joined by Olivia Pyle, Mentoring and Communications Manager for Restart. Restart are a homeless charity who use the Lower Hall on Fridays for their drop in service. Olivia will talk to us about how COVID has changed the landscape of homeless services and how they are looking to the future.
Happy Hour 2 December 6.30p via Zoom - Festive Wine
Annual Bereavement Service
The Annual Bereavement Service remains on our website
Bereavement Service (stcolumbas.org.uk) for those who have not yet had a chance to see it. Amongst comments received this week:
“We wanted to pass on our thanks for the Bereavement Service which we were able to join yesterday watching online together, as well as the rest of the family watching in their homes. On behalf of the whole family we are extremely grateful to you for including Dad in this service and lighting a candle for him. We really appreciated the idea of the service for all the people whose funerals took place in the last 12 months, even more so given the difficulties imposed by the covid pandemic over this past year.”
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 (https://www.glassdoor.org.uk/)
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
Lent Appeal 2021
The Lent Appeal 2021 will be the turn of a small UK charity. If you are involved with such a charity, or know of one that you would like to nominate for consideration, the Mission Committee would love to hear from you. To nominate a small UK charity and/or for more information in regard to next year's Lent Appeal, please contact:
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.
London Prisons Mission Volunteers
In October we marked Prisons Week. London Prisons Mission offer these words: “There is an urgent need for additional volunteers to undertake regular work within prisons, or in support of London Prisons Mission’s (LPM) activities in this field. Introductory visits are arranged to explore and discuss the wide range of needs and opportunities available to match the skills, experience and available time of suitable volunteers. Relevant training and regular support is provided and new volunteers never function alone. The role of regular volunteers is challenging, interesting and working in the prison system, if often frustrating, is invariably very rewarding. We expect each volunteer’s home church to engage informally with the LPM, receive regular reports from volunteers and from time to time inform the congregation about developments and some of the issues involved.”
Anyone interested in exploring this, please contact the Minister, via the Church Office.
SCRIPTURE & SILENT PRAYER FOR ADVENT
ST COLUMBA’S, PONT STREET & ST ANDREW’S, NEWCASTLE
29th November 2020, ADVENT I
“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 chosen, 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: Psalm 80:1-3
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
POEM: The Coming, R S Thomas
And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many People
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.
TIME OF QUIET
COLLECT FOR FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through 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)