Weekly Newsletter - 14th May 2020
Christ is risen; He is risen indeed! A happy, continuing Eastertide to you.
In normal circumstances, this Saturday (16th May 2020) would see the opening of the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. In the Presbyterian tradition, the General Assembly represents the highest church court, responsible for decisions that shape the life of the entire denomination. Each year the new Moderator of the General Assembly (a minister or elder, male or female) is installed on the first day of the Assembly, to undertake the duties of that office, for the following twelve months.
Clearly the Moderator Designate, Revd Dr. Martin Fair, minister of St Andrew’s Church, Arbroath, will face a very different year to his predecessors. He reflects: “Taking on the role of Moderator was always going to be a challenge. But at least I had many others to follow and there was an established pattern. But no one has been this way before, so I’m going to have to step out into new territory without a map. So, for me, trusting in God to lead is where I’m at personally. And that perfectly mirrors the place of the Church as it looks toward a yet unknown future. I guess that’s what my year is going to be about, not what was planned. But I’m ready to embrace it and go forward in faith.” Please keep Martin and his loved ones in your prayers this week.
In the intimations below there is lots of detail about the Church of Scotland’s “Big Weekend”, incorporating both the Moderator’s service of installation and Sunday’s, online, Heart & Soul celebrations. Look out for involvement in both occasions from St Columba’s members! This week’s E-Newsletter concludes with a prayer specifically for the General Assembly but can be prayed for the work of St Columba’s and St Andrew’s, Newcastle and any of the communities of faith with which we have association.
Have a good week and “see you” on Sunday,
St Columba’s, Pont Street,
14th May 2020
Note: All details and arrangements are subject to change in the light of new advice. Flexibility and good humour will be key!’
The Church Office is currently staffed from home.
Office Hours 9am to 4pm.
Contact details remain; Tel: 020 7584 2321
Twitter: @LondonKirk Pastoral
Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
Live Streaming of Worship – Sunday 17th May 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/livestream 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, 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 and the readings of the day will be on the website.
NEW 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 into 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) 253 958 1316# 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.
* We apologise for the error last week that meant that the Dial in didn’t work *
Christian Aid Week – 10th – 16th May
The focus for Christian Aid Week this year has been on the desperate need for water and to help those affected, particularly in Kenya, to be able to save and store water. Due to climate change and drought, many families are having to walk miles just to collect water, crops are failing, creating food shortages and loss of livelihood. Donations will enable better water resources and help towards the building of earth dams to store precious water. Make every last drop count. Under normal circumstances we support Christian Aid Week by church volunteers collecting at stations, but we are unable to do that this year. If you would like to support the vital work that Christian Aid undertakes, both overseas and in the UK please donate this year, direct to the charity. www.caid.org.uk
The Big Weekend: Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May: Installation of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland & Online Heart & Soul 2020
[Message from Rev Bryan Kerr, Convener, Heart and Soul Project Group.]
I am certain that by now you will have heard of the very special service to install Rev Dr Martin Fair as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on Saturday, 16th May at 11am. This will be a very special moment in the history of our Church, and will also be an event where we can be assured of hope and inspiration in these challenging times.
We're delighted to announce, as part of that ‘Big Weekend’ for the Church of Scotland, a special ‘Heart and Soul 2020’ event will take place (online) on 17th May 2020. The current crisis has meant that the original event, scheduled to have taken place in Princes Street Gardens on that day, has had to be cancelled. However, a number of features from the event in Princes Street Gardens can be transferred into an online format, and we're going to screen an abridged ‘Heart and Soul’ at 2.00pm on 17th May - when the original event would have taken place. The programme will run until about 4.20pm. A recording of the event will be available soon afterwards. You will be able to watch the event live on the Church of Scotland website www.churchofscotland.org.uk and live on the Facebook page ([fb.me/churchofscotland]fb.me/churchofscotland).
Hosted by our usual presenters, Rev Ken Froude, Seonaid Knox and Rev Justin Taylor, the event begins with a replay of the service of installation for the new Moderator, Rev Dr. Martin Fair. Without giving too much away, the event features a mix of worship, music, stories and some exciting ‘In Conversation’ guests. Heart and Soul regulars ‘Fischy Music’ will lead a special segment for all ages, and we hope that you'll join in all the actions from home! Spread throughout the afternoon will be some very special conversations: Hugh Pym will be in conversation with Prof Jason Leitch and Viv Dickenson from CrossReach, discussing how they have all been tackling Coronavirus and also how their own faith has helped them. Very Rev Susan Brown will be in conversation with Ross Greer MSP and Tara Shannon from COSY discussing climate justice. Revd Angus MacLeod will be in conversation with Prison Chaplain Anne Stewart & Hospital Chaplain Mark Evans, talking about chaplaincy as a career and the impact of Coronavirus in their places of work.
No Heart and Soul would be complete without some hearty singing, and we've chosen some highlights from the archive over the last ten years of Heart and Soul, the Guild Big Sing and the General Assembly to round things off.
These are difficult times for many in our Church and communities. We hope and pray that ‘Heart and Soul’ might be a place where people can see that the Church of Scotland is still active, still open and providing hope for our nation. I hope you can help us publicise, and join us, during our very special ‘Big Weekend’.
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.
“We Are Church”
Every organisation and household is 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.
If you would like to give a one-time gift to St Columba’s you can do this easily through our online giving platform [Online Donation]. The currency automatically defaults to USD but you can use the drop-down arrow to select GBP. *Please note that there is no need to pay the administration cost that Just Giving ask for. It does not benefit the church in any way. (Using the drop-down menu choose 0%).
If you would like to give a weekly, monthly or quarterly gift, the most efficient way of doing this is setting up a standing order to the church. The Church Office can send you a Congregational Offerings standing order form to fill in, which you can return to the church (we will post to your bank).
Alternatively, if it is easier to set the standing order up directly with your bank, please use the following details:
Account - St Columba’s Church of Scotland No. 2 A/C
Sort code – 16 00 42
Account number – 00264741
Offerings to St Andrew’s, Newcastle can be made via:
Account - Church of Scotland
Sort code - 40-34-18
Account number - 11310747
Lent Appeal 2020 - 500 Miles - Thank you!
www.500miles.co.uk (a Scottish Registered Charity)
There is some lovely news to relay this week, thanks to your generous donations. The Lent Appeal has raised £9,783.63 for the 500 Miles charity. Olivia Giles, CEO and founder of 500 Miles is delighted and sends huge thanks to everyone. The Lent Appeal money will pay for the first year of the specialist diploma training for Alwin Kaponda (bench worker at 500 Miles, Malawi). Alwin will attend the Cambodia School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, or possibly the course at Mobility India in Bangalore to study for an internationally recognised diploma. Thanks to your donations, the cost of Alwin's first year (of a three-year course) will be covered in full, including school fees and his subsistence costs, plus travel. Having Alwin trained to diploma standard will benefit so many amputees, providing them with prosthetic limbs and orthoses (supports for limbs) to help them lead full lives, get them mobile and on the move again...life changing. We look forward to having Olivia Giles back to church, once normal services resume, to update everyone and to thank you in person. In the meantime, many thanks from Olivia Giles, 500 Miles and the Mission Committee.
St Columba’s Book Club
The first online St Columba’s book club went very successfully, so much so that the next virtual meeting will be Monday the 8th June at 7pm. The next book will be “The Salt Path” by Raynor Winn.
My St Columba’s Friend
During this pandemic the St Columba’s Sunday School team have been sending out a families newsletter to our younger members of the congregation. This week we have asked them to think about writing letters (a great activity for them to practise their writing and spelling skills).
We are asking if members of the congregation would like to become a pen friend and have a letter sent by one of our younger folk (expect letters and pictures). If you would like to write back to them – even better, post is always nice when you are young.
A Prayer for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
your Son promise his disciples
that he would be with them always.
Hear the prayer we offer for your servants
met in General Assembly.
May your Holy Spirit rest on them;
a spirit of 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
(Book of Common Order)