Weekly Newsletter - 17th July 2020
On Thursday evening some forty of our elders appeared in their magic Zoom boxes, for our first, virtual Kirk Session. Prior to the meeting there was plenty of joshing about keeping all members on mute – a facility, one observed, unavailable in regular Kirk Session meetings! Actually, people have adapted very speedily and some important decisions were made.
Beginning on Sunday 9th of August we aim to offer expanded morning worship, as follows:
09.30-10.00am Early Service. This will be open to worshippers. It will be socially distanced, without singing and require the provision of details for contact tracing purposes. It will give the opportunity for those who are safe to do so, to be in the building. Attendance will be limited on numbers. In due course, we will publicise arrangements to handle ticketing (if required), safe arrival and departure, and detail of what worshippers can expect in the building. At present, it is not envisaged that hospitality, post-service will be offered. Our ability to offer the Early Service will be dependent upon finding sufficient volunteers (from elders and non-elders) to provide a welcome team. We will publicise criteria for volunteers when we issue a formal request for them.
11.00am-12pm Morning Worship. The live-streamed service will continue in its current form i.e. broadcast via the website and Dial-In facility, but remain unattended.
In a further development, provisionally coinciding with the introduction of the Early Service, the church will be open for private prayer on Sunday afternoons; 12.30- 3.00pm (timings tbc.) Again, we will publicise arrangements for safe arrival and departure, once they are finalised.
The Kirk Session agreed that there would be no hall hire undertaken in August due to staff leave, cancellation of scheduled holiday clubs by their organisers and the opportunity to undertake the installation of the a new fire alarm system and an Accessibility Audit. The exception to this is the return of the ReStart Friday evening drop-in, from Friday 24th July onwards. We are delighted to welcome back the charity that provides so much via its provision of food, companionship and mentoring. The Kirk Session also agreed that hall hire could recommence in September, with the likely emphasis on our regular support groups. It is anticipated that the reintroduction of lettings would be gradual. We cannot expect our building, that pre-pandemic, was in such continual and varied use, to return to that state
this autumn. Both the numbers of hirings and the numbers of people attending, will inevitably be reduced.
These decisions were made on Thursday evening. They will now require significant thought and work to implement. On behalf of our Church staff and Kirk Session, I would ask both your prayers and patience. Some places of worship are opening more swiftly than ours; others more slowly. I hope that taking into account the particular advantages and challenges that our building and community possesses, you will see that we are seeking to do the right thing. We are taking a relatively cautious approach, but also viewing the pandemic and its repercussions as a marathon, not a sprint. Worship continues to offer us a place where we come together, via internet, Dial-In or soon, in distanced pew, and to find courage, strength and vitality from God, for the facing of these days.
Have a sunny weekend and see you on Sunday.
Angus, St Columba’s, Pont Street, 17th July 2020
Please note that the Church Office will be closed from the 20th July to the 31st July inclusive. In this time should you have a pastoral emergency please call 07591926271.
Contact details remain;
Live Streaming of Worship – Sunday 19th July 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. 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 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 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.
Poetry & Silent Prayer for Sundays
For some years now a small group of church members have met on the second Sunday of each month, between 10.15-10.30am, in the London Scottish Regimental Chapel. Primarily, this monthly gathering has been the opportunity to pray for the life and ministry of St Columba’s. Each year, during Advent and Lent, the meetings expand and change somewhat. Prayer is encouraged by a short piece of scripture, a poem and then a time of silent prayer. During lockdown, those who would normally gather in the London Scottish Chapel have been encouraged to maintain a pattern of praying at their usual Sunday time. Praying with others, especially when keeping silence, is definitely easier when done with companions! The group would now like to make the resources they receive each week available to a wider audience, via the newsletter and the website. The prayers and poem for Silent Prayer are at the end of the newsletter, and will also appear on the Live Stream page of the website. We hope this will encourage people to find time and space for some precious quiet prayer and offer prayers for the ongoing life of our congregations and nations.
St Columba’s Member
We are sorry to announce the death of St Columba’s member Hugh MacDonald. Hugh’s family will be having a small private funeral on the 20th July 2020. Please keep Brenda and his family in your prayers.
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 Giving. 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
St Columba’s Book Club
The third online St Columba’s book club went very successfully, so much so that the next virtual meeting will be Monday the 14th September at 7pm. The next book will be “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot. If you would like to join the book discussion please contact the office.
St Columba's Tennis Club
St Columba’s Tennis Club is now open again for play. Courts have to be booked at present as hanging around the
clubhouse is not yet allowed. For people who haven’t been playing for a while it might be wise to get a bit of help beforehand. David the coach is available at reasonable rates. Telephone 07548 659883. Coaching for children is available. http://www.stcolumbastennis.co.uk
POETRY & SILENT PRAYER ST COLUMBA’S, PONT STREET 19th July 2020
BEFORE PRAYER [Take time to find a comfortable place to sit. A candle or a vase of flowers, or an object can be a helpful object for focus. Be aware of your body and breath. “Silence - a meeting place where I am looking for God’s love and He is looking for mine.”]
I weave a silence on to my lips
I weave a silence into my mind
I weave a silence within my heart
I close my ears to distractions
I close my eyes to attractions
I close my heart to temptations
Calm me as You stilled the storm
Still me, keep me from harm
Let all the tumult within me cease
Enfold me, Beloved, in your peace.
(THE EDGE OF GLORY by David Adam)
SCRIPTURE: PSALM 86:11-13
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
MEDITATION, (We usually associate ‘fasting’ with Lent, but a time of recollection can be any time in the day or year.)
Fast from judging others: feast on the dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on difference: feast on the unity of life.
Fast from anger: feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism: feast on optimism.
Fast from worry: feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining: feast on appreciation.
Fast from hostility: feast on non-violence.
Fast from bitterness: feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern: feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety: feast on eternal truth.
Fast from idle gossip: feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from lethargy: feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from discouragement: feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress: feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from shadows of sorrow: feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from apparent darkness: feast on the reality of light.
TIME OF SILENCE
CLOSING PRAYER Almighty God, your Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence. Give us pure hearts and constant wills to worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Word of Life, heal, forgive, comfort, bless.
Be still, be glad, and be at peace.