Weekly Newsletter - 11th June 2020
Amid everything being discussed about return to work and/or school, travel abroad, the restart of sport, the gathered crowds of protest etc, the issue of opening places of worship is also giving pause for thought. Whatever activity or environment, everyone understands how difficult it is to establish clarity in a rapidly evolving situation.
So, how are we responding at St Columba’s? Since the start of the second half of the school term, a small number of Knightsbridge School staff and pupils have been using the Lower Hall, Monday to Friday, during their break times. This has been carefully thought through with the school and has run very smoothly. Currently, this is the only group using our building.
Though governmental permission to open churches for private prayer seems set to be given, after consideration, we do not feel that we can, as yet, open the church sanctuary for visitors, prayerful or otherwise. This is because we cannot safely staff, maintain and clean the building under current guidelines and restrictions. In addition, as a “gathered” congregation, very few of our members live locally to the church. Though we would love people to be able to come and pray in our beautiful sanctuary, we cannot promote journeys that increase risks to the health of members, staff and those they come into contact with.
Clearly, it is disappointing not to be opening our doors more fully; especially as so many people have said how much they look forward to their day of return. However, we are incredibly fortunate to be able to share worship from St Columba’s each week, either via the internet or the Dial In Service. We are also very grateful for the collective effort by so many people to stay in touch with others, thus maintaining our family of faith in small, but real ways. All decisions, of course, regarding opening the building are under constant review, responding to changing circumstances and official guidelines.
So, physically the doors may remain closed a while, but as we might recall from scripture, neither a stone at a tomb, or a locked door ever held Jesus back!
Hope you had a happy St Columba’s Day (9th June), and are having a good week; see you on Sunday.
Angus, St Columba’s, Pont Street, 11th June 2020
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 – Sunday 14th 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. 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 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.
THIS SUNDAY- 3rd Anniversary of Grenfell Tower Fire
Sunday 14th June is the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, which was a major event in the recent history of our own London borough and the entire nation. This year the community in North Kensington is understandably finding it difficult to mark the anniversary in the usual way with public services, memorials and gatherings of various kinds. Members of the local community including Grenfell United, the bereaved and survivors, have come up with a way in which the Church across London might be able to help mark this important occasion, and express our sympathy and support for those still affected by the tragedy.
On previous anniversaries, the bell in the local parish church has rung 72 times, once for each victim of the fire. The new idea this year is that at 6pm on Sunday 14th June, bells in churches all across London would ring 72 times. This would initiate two minutes silence, after which there would be three more rings, one for each year since the fire itself. In this way, in the absence of public events, people across London might be reminded of the anniversary and those who still live with the memory of the fire would feel that this important moment for them is marked in a properly, public way. An online vigil will begin at that point for those who wish to access it.
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 second 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
PRAYING TOWARDS SUNDAY 14TH JUNE 2020
[Resources prepared by Congregational Prayer Group]
Psalm of Praise: Psalm 28: 6-9
Praise be to the Lord,
For he has heard my cry for mercy. The
Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
And with my song I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,
A fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Prayer of Praise & Gratitude
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, never gives up. You are dependable, steadfast, faithful and true and we thank you for who you are. Amen
Gospel: Mark 11: 24-26
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.
Prayer for Others
Almighty and everlasting God, you always are
ready to hear our prayers; today, in these
strange and uncertain times, we offer these
- For our family and friends: continue to be with them. We 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 & St Andrew’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: [A quiet time to bring to God your specific needs and requests.]
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
Reflection on Prayer
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...
At daybreak... The third hour of the day...
About the sixth hour...
The hour of prayer, the ninth...
[Private Devotions of Lancelot Andrews, 1555-1626]