Weekly News 2nd April 2020 - COVID19 Update
I hope you have found ways to get through the week and that even amid unprecedented times you have had some precious moments. In the manse, April Fool’s day was thoroughly celebrated with disappearing tooth brushes and cellotaped taps squirting unsuspecting parents! Outside the domestic, the media keeps us aware that we are entering a still more serious phase of the pandemic. It is a time to pray for our own courage and to pray for strength, peace and protection for those who are working to combat the Corona Virus and those keeping day to day living, functioning.
Church members are certainly doing their bit to help – by staying in contact with each other, offering prayers, organising Sunday School activities and links. Others, of course, are continuing to undertake their professional duties in the key worker occupations. We will continue to live stream our worship and the hope is that as we enter Holy Week we can stream worship on Palm Sunday (11am), Maundy Thursday (8pm), Good Friday (11am) and Easter Morning (11am.) As suggested on Sunday you may wish to light a candle in your home prior to, or at the start of the service, as an expression of being in a sacred space.
In addition, technology permitting, we hope to offer scripture & prayers for each day of Holy Week, when there are not special services. The readings are those set for the day by the Revised Common Lectionary which we follow throughout the year. Please check the website next week.
What has been so encouraging is the number of messages the office has received, from many parts of the globe, expressing appreciation of being able to join together and feel connected, even when distanced. Long may that continue.
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- Palm Sunday and Holy Week
It is our intention to live stream an act of worship from St Columba’s on;
- 11am on Sunday 5th April, Palm Sunday,
- 9th April, Maundy Thursday (8pm),
- 10th April, Good Friday (11am)
- Easter Morning (11am) All services will be led by the Minister. This 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 45 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.
The Sunday Night Shelter, was open on Sunday 22nd March for the last time this season. Our thanks go to all the volunteers who have made another season of vital hospitality available to our guests. Our Friday evening drop in, run by ReStart has relocated to St Cuthbert’s, Earl’s Court to offer a consolidated seven-day a week service, but will return to St Columba’s in due course.
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 this week. Thank you.
What can we 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
We pray for this pandemic spreading across our world, remembering all who have lost loved ones. and praying for those seriously ill at this time.
We uphold the National Health Service. We pray for doctors and nurses and all in the caring professions, and all who support them. Those trying to understand this virus better. working to create an effective remedy.
We pray for our Governments in Westminster and Holyrood, as they work with the best medical advice, to guide us on how we should respond, and what action we should take. We pray that these guidelines might be taken seriously.
and that all would put them into action.
We remember those who cannot visit loved ones in locked-down care homes; Help us to find ways of keeping in touch and offering reassurance. to those with underlying health issues; for any who feel particularly vulnerable or in danger at present.
We pray for those who have been laid off as their work disappears; for financial hardship for individuals and businesses; for those making contingency planning for home-based work or child care or exams. May our inconvenience not blind us to others’ loss.
May this crisis bring out the best in us, not the worst. Help us to live by faith and not by fear.
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]
The Lord bless you and keep you,
Angus St Columba’s, Pont Street, 2nd April 2020
Note: All details and arrangements are subject to change in the light of new advice. Flexibility and good humour will be key!’