Weekly Newsletter - 25th June 2020
This week I joined a Zoominair for Church of Scotland ministers – lots of faces (about 90) on the same screen! It was part of the Church of Scotland’s efforts to offer ongoing support to its ministers during, and emerging from, lockdown. The experience of congregations and ministers clearly varied. For some the pandemic has galvanised creativity and new forms of bringing people together; for others it has seemed much tougher. What came through, loud and clearly, was that whether congregations have had a “good pandemic” or not, there is anxiety for everyone around the easing of lockdown and reopening of buildings. We are not exempt from those anxieties, either at St Columba’s, Pont Street or St Andrew’s, Newcastle.
The decisions made by the respective Kirk Sessions will most probably vary, recognising the different circumstances of each. It is quite possible that St Andrew’s will move to make private prayer available quite soon, while adhering to guidance on social distancing and stewarding/cleaning of the building. St Columba’s will require to be more cautious. While Knightsbridge School use our Lower Hall (Monday – Friday) we cannot contemplate other groups having access to the building. After term finishes, the ReStart Friday drop in may recommence, in modified form. As yet however, it is difficult to envisage a swift return to the normal use of our building by its many different users.
At the same time, I know there is disappointment that we are not, as yet, opening the sanctuary for private prayer or public worship. At the moment (and everything is subject to review), the health and safety of our staff has also to be a priority. We also remain reluctant to encourage use of public transport to get to us. The Coming Out of Lockdown Committee/Working Group is due to meet on Thursday 2nd July. They have the difficult task of balancing official guidance, a continuously evolving set of circumstances, staff welfare, congregational hopes and financial imperatives. Please keep them in your prayers this week.
On a good note, however, let me share the message received from one church member this week. “I have been very much blessed with telephone enquiries from several church members during the lockdown. It does make me appreciate we are a family. My gratitude to all.” Closed doors, or not, the spirit of the place is borne aloft in the lives of its people – wherever those lives are lived. Thank you for all you do to sustain and make real our church family; stay sunny and see you on Sunday.
Angus, St Columba’s, Pont Street, 18th June 2020
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 28th June 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. This week the prayers are provided by congregational prayer group member, Daphne Moore. 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.
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
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 13th July at 7pm. The next book will be “Why I am no longer talking to white people about race” by Reno Eddo-Lodge. 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 28th JUNE 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 89:1-2, 5-6
I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. Happy are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance; they exult in your name all day long, and extol your righteousness.
MEDITATION For Such a Time As This, Revd Liz Crumlish
For such a time as this Lord we see you carefully prepared, and responding on the hoof. Lord we see you planning ahead, and reacting in the moment. Lord we see you showing the way, and equipping and empowering others. Lord we see you right in the thick of it, and in deserted places. For you took time to be with the crowds, and to be with God. You took time to encounter individuals, and to encounter yourself. You took time to sift and sort, to discern and pray. You took time to do, and to be. What if, today we followed your example. Knowing ourselves beloved of God. Doing, with others, the work you reveal. Resting in you, that we might be filled. Being, simply, who you call us to be. For such a time as this.
TIME OF SILENCE
O God our defender, when storms rage about us and cause us to be afraid, rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear, and preserve us all from unbelief; through your Son, 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.