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E-Newsletter – 6th December 2020, Second Sunday of Advent

Another first for St Columba’s & St Andrew’s, Newcastle in this year of accumulating firsts – the virtual Moderator. In the second of Lucy Llewellyn-inspired, and inspiring, Zoom Coffee Mornings, we were joined by the Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair. He would have been in London all week, in normal times, but this year is the year of Zoom & Teams. He spoke very interestingly about how he has had to reinvent the way of being a Moderator, in a year when he cannot visit anywhere or anybody, in person. He appears to have made the very best of the situation and has combined reaching out to a wide audience, via the internet, as well as offering a pastoral ministry to fellow ministers. Whoever the speaker is, the Virtual Coffee Mornings are proving a lovely way of seeing familiar faces and keeping in touch. Thank you to everyone who has been able to take part. Look out for details about the next occasion (see below.)

Other good news is that with the return to permitted church attendance this week (Sunday 6th December) we very much hope that by the following week (Sunday 13th December) we will have both a Christmas tree installed and the return of our choir. If we manage this, it will be the first time since March. In the meantime, we remain so grateful for the music recorded by the choir members and mixed each week by Alex Porteous. Sunday School are also scheduled to have a get-together on Sunday 13th December. 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.

From the congregation itself, two items worthy of note. Firstly, St Columba’s member, John Dawson is prominent in this month’s Life & Work, with an article “From Stevenston to shorthand”, from Ayrshire to the Houses of Parliament. Secondly, fellow member, Ian Aitchison, recently on parade at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, celebrates his 97th birthday this weekend. Many happy returns!

See you soon,


Worship at St Columba’s, Sunday 6th 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 6th 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. (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.

Hymns, Music & Readings this week are:

Hymn 334 On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (Winchester New)
Hymn 710 I have a dream (Repton)
Hymn 283 The voice of God goes out (Woodlands)

Anthem: The Angel Gabriel

Old Testament Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11
New Testament Reading: : 2 Peter 3:8-15
Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 1-8

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

Zoom Coffee Morning with Olivia Pyle, Mentoring and Communications Manager Restart, 10.30am, Wednesday 9th December

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.
If you would like to join us for any of the last Zoom coffee morning please email me in the office (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and I shall send you the joining details.

Christmas Appeal

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

Borderline (https://www.borderline-uk.org/)

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.


“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.”

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.

Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

POEM: Kneeling, R S Thomas
Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great role. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.


Almighty God, you sent your servant John the Baptist to prepare your people to welcome the Messiah. Inspire the ministers and stewards of your truth to turn our disobedient hearts to you, that when the Christ shall come again to be our judge we may stand with confidence before his glory; who is alive 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)

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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