Weekly News - 17th April 2020
Christ is risen; He is risen indeed! A happy Easter to you.
Thank you to all of you who have been able to join in the worship of our live streamed services throughout Holy Week. And thank you for so many lovely messages received, indicating that even an empty sanctuary, can bring us together. From your messages, there are precious glimpses of your own homes. One friend corresponded: “Easter 2020 has been special in so many ways – time for reflection and meditation. My dining room has morphed into a sometime Pilates studio and, during a part of every day this past week, my sanctuary, complete with candle lit and, on Thursday evening and today, Easter Sunday, bread and wine.” Another described how a toy-strewn room became, an hour later, the place to share bread and wine on the evening of Maundy Thursday. Another spoke about Easter morning – “trumpets sounding in our hearts, if not our ears!” Post service get- togethers for “coffee in the virtual Upper Hall” continues. As a church member wrote last week: “Self-isolating doesn’t mean that we are without communication or communion.”
While many of us have been able to enjoy worshipping together I am conscious that not everybody has access to these means of communication. There are some who are really finding lockdown a fearsome struggle. A lot of friendship and care is being demonstrated in these days with people making calls to stay in touch and relieve loneliness. Please, having enjoyed the high of Easter morning, continue to look out for each other. You are most welcome to contact the church office to request a contact from their elder or the Minister.
Mental well-being is relevant for all of us – old and young. This week as part of the Families’ Newsletter we are sending out the Covid19 Time Capsule activity sheet. (Available on the website, Families Section.) It is an encouragement to take note of how we are feeling, what we appreciate and what we find difficult. Aimed at the young, it might also speak to the “grownups.” This weekend marks the end of the school holidays and a return to home-schooling. Good luck to all our families for that renewed challenge!
This weekend is also the final weekend of the 2020 Lent Appeal – 500 Miles. Please consider donating to that cause. Next week there will also be a clearer outline of our own congregational finances in the light of lockdown. But as stated last week, even as our revenue from Hall Hire will disappear for several months, we remain committed to meeting our allocation to support the wider work of the Church of Scotland as well as meeting the costs of what we do locally from St Columba’s. (Financial details appear later in the newsletter.
I finish with words from the congregation:
- “Now! the sun is shining despite a chillier wind, but it is time to rejoice and enjoy the life and space we have and to be very thankful.”
- “Can I ask that, when we are all able to join together to worship God in the Sanctuary of St Columba’s (DV), that the first service begins with ‘Thine Be The Glory’, complete with trumpets and cymbals, and somewhere in the service a chance to sing ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’?”
- “Until we are able to meet without maintaining a distance, and you can preach to a sea of faces rather than newly-scrubbed plastic ducks sharing your pulpit...take care”
Amen to that!
The Lord bless you and keep you, I n the great days of Eastertide,
Angus St Columba’s, Pont Street, 17th April 2020
Note: All details and arrangements are subject to change in the light of new advice. Flexibility and good humour will be key!’
Below is a digest of information and advice as things stand:
The Church Office is currently staffed from home. Office Hours 9am to 4pm. Contact details remain
Tel: 020 7584 2321
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
Live Streaming of Worship – Sunday 19th April 2020, 11am
The live stream service continues this Sunday at 11am. Music begins from 10.50am. This can be watched via the church website, https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/live- stream at 11am. The services from Holy Week are also available via the 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 50 minutes, will 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.
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 & Lent Appeal
Every organisation and household will be affected by the current economic and social disruption. While we are unable to meet for worship and cannot allow groups to hire and meet in our facilities, we have to maintain the building and meet ongoing, significant financial commitments for the wider Church of Scotland. Please consider your offerings to the ongoing work of St Columba’s.
Bank details are as follows:-
Account - St Columba’s Church of Scotland No. 2 A/C
Sort code – 16 00 42
Account number – 00264741
If you would like to make a contribution to our Lent Appeal, 500 Miles (https://www.500miles.co.uk/). Please use the same bank details but make the description “Lent Appeal” or “LA” or if you decide to post a cheque please make sure it is clear in your cover note, it is for the Lent Appeal. The charity received an incredibly generous donation from an anonymous St Columba’s donor in recent weeks. Thank you.
St Columba’s member
We are sorry to announce the death of St Columba’s member, Alasdair Campbell. An online funeral will be held for immediate family on Friday 24th April 2020.
What can we continue to do?
Stay in Contact: As disciples of Christ we are called to be faithful – both in times of plenty, and in time of crisis. How might we do that? By maintaining perspective, appreciating what we have, remaining prayerful and in looking out for the needs of others, particularly those feeling vulnerable and isolated. “Physically distanced but socially engaged” is a good maxim for meaningful communication and support. Telephone calls, a note, an e-mail, a check to make sure someone has food – all these will help.
The Gift of Prayer: “Pray with them sometimes; pray for them always.” This was the advice given to military chaplains about soldiers, in WWI – recognition that the church goes where the people are, and recognition that we can hold others in prayer, and in turn be held, even when apart. So, we can pray for all who are ill, all who offer medical and emotional support, all who carry heavy duties and responsibilities and all who grieve.
Prayers in Time of the Corona Virus
For our absent friends
God our Father, you are present to your people everywhere. We pray for those we love who are far away. Watch over them and protect them. Keep far from them all that would hurt the body and harm the soul. Give to them and to us the assurance of the strength and peace of your presence, and keep us all so near to you that we will be for ever near to one another. In your good time, may we renew our fellowship on earth, and at the last come to the unbroken fellowship of the Father’s house in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For hospitals and healing
God of love, your Son brought healing to the sick and hope to the despairing. We pray for all who suffer pain, or who bear the burden of illness, or who have to undergo an operation. Give them the comfort and strength of your presence, and surround them with your healing love and power. May they know the fellowship of Christ who bore pain and suffering for us, and at the last won victory over death. Bless those who share with Christ a healing ministry, researchers, doctors, surgeons, nurses. Use their sympathy and skill for the relief of suffering, the conquest of disease, and the restoration of health; and crown all their efforts with good success; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of might and power, you support us in danger and carry us through temptation. Give us grace to trust in you that, though by nature we are frail and weak, we may stand upright in any time of trial; through the strength of him who makes us more than conquerors, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make us the equal
of whatever lies ahead. Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
knowing your will is health and wholeness;
for you are God, and we need you.
[Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765]