Weekly Newsletter - 7th May 2020
Christ is risen; He is risen indeed! A happy, continuing Eastertide to you.
Lockdown and the live streamed services have led to some interesting reflections. With permission granted from the church member, I offer the following as both thought-provoking and inspiring.
“It struck me today (Sunday 3rd May) that we are all, collectively, experiencing that which individual Church members have experienced over the years – the sudden inability to attend their Church, to join the familiar congregation and the loss of that fellowship, whether for a short period of time or permanently. We all now know, how it feels to be detached from those things, and those people, we took for granted. I was reminded of my father’s ongoing struggle, following a series of catastrophic strokes which left him increasingly disabled, and left him lingering in a number of hospital settings, while he worked on getting back some of his mobility. Once reasonably recovered enough, he would insist on my mother getting him ready for Church including, on Communion Sundays, getting him into his full morning suit, and then Mum driving him to Church where she would get him into his wheelchair and push him to the front steps of the Church, to be met by two strong Elders, who would lift him out from his wheelchair and he would walk with their help into the building, to return to his wheelchair and access the Sanctuary via the lift and then sit in the side aisle beside the Lectern. His determination and need to join his fellow Elders and the congregation, as often as possible, was unstoppable, until his increasing frailty and my mother’s illness, forced him to stop.
It is humbling to understand the efforts that some of our members, particularly the elderly, make, in order to attend worship. It is a real joy to know that friends who have not been able to attend worship at St Columba’s for a long time – due to geography, illness or circumstance – are once again able to see the church that means a lot to them, and participate in its ongoing prayer. Long may that continue.
St Columba’s, Pont Street, 6th May 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 10th May 2020, 11am
The live stream service continues this Sunday at 11am. Music begins from 10.50am. We apologise that due to a technical glitch the organ was barely audible on Sunday 3rd May. This was a problem at the Pont Street end – it was not the problem of your computer or hearing aid! We promise to do better this week!
The service can be watched via the church website, https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/live-stream 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.
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.
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.
Christian Aid Week – 10th – 16th May
UK charity fighting global poverty | Christian Aid Christian Aid UK charity that works in 37 countries helping people, regardless of religion or race. www.caid.org.uk
The focus for Christian Aid Week this year is 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
Church of Scotland’s Big Weekend, Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May 2020
On Saturday 16th May at 11am, the new Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will be Installed in the General Assembly Hall in a live online Service. Rev Dr Martin Fair from Arbroath, Moderator Designate and Rt Revd Colin Sinclair, the outgoing Moderator will be present. Social distancing will apply and so the ceremony will be as far removed from the usual 800 commissioners as we can imagine. On Sunday 17th May, 2pm - 4pm there will be an online Heart & Soul with much of what you would expect to see in Princes St Gardens, during the Church of Scotland’s annual outdoor gathering and celebration. St Columba’s elder, Susan Pym is organising three In Conversations as part of the programme. Susan reflects: “So much work is going on to try to bring the entire church together and to compensate for there being no General Assembly this year.” Both events available via the Church of Scotland website www.churchofscotland.org.uk
St Columba’s Online Book Club
On Monday the 11th May at 7pm the inaugural St Columba’s Book Club will convene. This month’s book will be “Picnic at Hanging Rock” by Joan Lindsay. If you would like to join the book discussion please email Lucy in the Church Office for the Zoom details
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
ccount number – 00264741
Offerings to St Andrew’s, Newcastle can be made via:
Account - Church of Scotland
Sort code - 40-34-18
Account number - 11310747
Note: All details and arrangements are subject to change in the light of new advice. Flexibility and good humour will be key!’