Weekly Newsletter - 29th May 2020
Some weeks ago one of our church families reported that when their youngest child saw the minister lighting the candles, at the start of the Sunday morning live stream service, the child would spontaneously break into a rendition of Happy Birthday. This Sunday nothing could be more appropriate.
Pentecost - from the Greek pentekostos, meaning "fiftieth," was a Jewish festival celebrating the spring harvest, and the revelation of the law at Mount Sinai. In the New Testament Pentecost story that Luke tells, the Holy Spirit descended on 120 believers in Jerusalem on the fiftieth day after Jesus's resurrection. The Spirit empowered them to testify to God's saving work, emboldened the apostle Peter to preach to a bewildered crowd of Jewish sceptics, and drew three thousand converts from around the known world in one day. For many Christians, Pentecost marks the birthday of the Church.
In Luke’s dramatic description of Pentecost, the author vividly challenges the imagination - tongues of fire, a rushing wind, bold preaching, mass baptism. Yet, more than spectacle, the Pentecost story is about the Holy Spirit showing up and transforming ordinary, imperfect, frightened people into the Body of Christ. “It’s about God disrupting and disorienting our humdrum ways of engaging the sacred, so that something new and holy can be born within and among us. It’s about the Spirit carrying us out of suspicion, tribalism, and fear, into a radical new way of engaging God and our neighbour.” (Debie Thomas, www.Journey with Jesus)
Whether we are preparing to see family members return to school; meet up with friends for the first time, (while staying socially distanced); supporting, or being a key/frontline worker; caring for a loved one(s), near or distant; raring to restart or struggling to hold on – however we are/feel - may the Spirit of God birth us out of lockdown fear, to abundant-life freedom.
Happy Pentecost; Happy Birth Day
St Columba’s, Pont Street, 29th May 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 31st 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 will be on the website.
NEW Dial into Sunday Service- PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE IN MEETING ID
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) 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.
We are delighted to welcome Revd Alistair Cumming to lead worship on Sunday 31st May. Alistair is a member of St Columba’s and Clerk to the Presbytery of England. In his spare moments he has a full time job and family! We look forward to hearing God’s Word as Alistair brings it to us.
Next Sunday 7th June: Celebration of St Columba’s Day Part I:
Next Sunday, in celebration of St Columba’s Day, morning service will include a celebration of Holy Communion. As on Easter Sunday, those worshipping via the live stream or Dial In service, are invited to prepare bread and wine (or equivalent) and to eat and drink at the appropriate moment in the service. Equally, others may simply wish to watch and pray through that part of the service.
Traditionally, we welcome the friends of St Columba’s on that day. Though their Annual General Meeting and planned afternoon visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden cannot take place, we hope they will be joining us for our Sunday worship and give thanks for their continuing support.
Next Sunday 7th June: Celebration of St Columba’s Day Part II:
Captain Fantastic Children’s Party
In 2015, as part of our 60th Anniversary celebrations for the “new” St Columba’s, we held a memorable children’s party, hosted by children’s entertainer, Captain Fantastic. Last year we baptised the Captain’s two twins, Harry and Beatrice. Their Dad, Tommy Balaam, has very kindly offered to give us a virtual children’s party, via Zoom and St Columba’s Day seems a great day for a party. The party will start at 10am on Sunday 7th June. Families who wish to “attend” the party should contact the office to receive details for joining. Please indicate the number and age of children to enable Captain Fantastic to pitch the party appropriately.
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 additional prayers are provided by 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.
Our next Happy hour session, via Zoom, will be on Wednesday 3rd June, 6.30pm and the theme is "Can we define 'charisma'?"
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
Reference – Please use an appropriate reference, such your surname and, if you have one, a 4-digit St Columba Gift Aid number, as this helps us match the donation with any Gift
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
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 practice 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.
St Columba’s member
We are sorry to announce the death of St Columba’s member, William David Ross.
POETRY & SILENT PRAYER FOR EASTERTIDE ST COLUMBA’S, PONT STREET SUNDAY 31st May 2020, PENTECOST
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 104:31-35b
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works - who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke. I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!
A Sonnet for Pentecost, Malcolm Guite Today we feel the wind beneath our wings Today the hidden fountain flows and plays Today the church draws breath at last and sings As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise. This is the feast of fire, air, and water Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth. The earth herself awakens to her maker And is translated out of death to birth. The right words come today in their right order And every word spells freedom and release Today the gospel crosses every border All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace Today the lost are found in His translation. Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.
TIME OF SILENCE (Try 4-8 minutes initially)
Almighty Father, in your great mercy you made glad the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord. Give us such knowledge of his presence with us that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life, and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Word of Life, heal, forgive, comfort, bless. Be still, be glad, and be at peace. The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Happy Easter! Hallelujah! Amen.
ADDITIONAL PRAYERS FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY 31ST MAY
(Prepared by Congregational Prayer Group)
Lord, heavenly Father; at this time there are lots of questions and unknowns but we thank you that we can stand confident, and clearly look to you and trust in your words. Thank you that your love never fails, it never gives up. You are dependable, steadfast, faithful and true and we thank you for who you are. Amen.
Jesus said: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11: 24-26
Almighty and everlasting God, you always are ready to hear our prayers; today, in these strange and uncertain times, we offer these prayers of supplication:
- For our family and friends: continue to be with them and thank you for your provision and angelic protection over them.
- For the scientists and government: give all the decision makers your godly wisdom; inspire them and give them energy and courage in their decision making and let them advise us with clarity and conviction.
- For the church: thank you for the great opportunity for the churches to speak of your love specifically at this time; thank you for the wonders of modern technology so that people may hear your word; may we at St Columba’s be all welcoming, giving comfort and encouragement to others by showing examples of your love.
- For key workers/the lonely/the abused/the sick/the vulnerable: so many are scared and frightened; please give them ‘your peace which passes all understanding’ and let them know more of your faithfulness at this time. May you
protect all those caring for the sick and give them courage and be their companion.
- For ourselves: in quiet we bring to God our specific needs and requests.
FOR REFLECTION: Private Devotions,
by Lancelot Andrews 1555-1626
At all times...
Three times a day...
Evening, and morning and at noon...
Seven times a day...
In the morning, a great while before day...
The third hour of the day...
About the sixth hour...
The hour of prayer, the ninth...
God our refuge and strength,
we look to you today;
show us who you are.
May you “stretch out your hand
to heal and perform signs and wonders”
to a world that is hurting and scared.
Might they too, in you,
find an ever present refuge and hope,
protection and provision. Amen.