Weekly Newsletter - 9th July 2020
We all seem to be very much in the period of wondering what happens next, what are we allowed/not allowed to do, and when? Work, travel, education, medical care, socialising, sport, worship – everything comes with a greater or lesser degree of uncertainty attached. So, signs of hopefulness are especially welcome. From Newcastle, this week came the encouraging account of quiet, re-beginnings: “A small group spent Tuesday morning trying to tame the Church garden and cleaning the building. We were blessed with good weather which was very helpful in allowing the whole building to be thoroughly aired whilst we were outside.” I know it felt good for people, even a small number, to be together sharing in a common task, in a place that is precious to them.
In London, the Out of Lock Down working group is making its recommendations to the Kirk Session, (scheduled to meet, Thursday 16th July) who will make the decision about what we do and when. It seems unlikely that we will open the building for hall hire before September. While that is sensible, but disappointing, it will allow time to put in place safeguards for our staff and time and space to undertake the update of the building’s fire alarm system – a significant and vital undertaking.
For worship, my hope is that we will be able to both innovate and maintain. I would like to offer an Early Service (09.30-10.00am) to which those who are able and safe to attend, can come. If/when that starts, we would continue with the 11am live stream Morning Service with the same format as currently employed. The live stream, 11am service would continue without a congregation physically in the building. If this plan proves possible, it would represent a modest, maintainable re- opening of the building, while permitting the continuance of the live stream service that allows far-flung, and unable to travel members of the congregation, to remain in our community of prayer. Once decisions are confirmed, we will try to communicate them as swiftly and widely as possible.
In many places lock down has encouraged creative and innovative response. One such initiative is the Prayer Garden at St Michael’s, Slateford, Edinburgh. If you check out the link, you may recognise the characteristically broad smile of former Associate Minister, Reverend Andrea Price! https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/2020/prayer-stations-erected-in-edinburgh-church-garden
And speaking of St Columba’s alumni, you may be interested to read the article about the Very Reverend Fraser McLuskey, and his wartime chaplaincy with the newly formed Special Air Service (SAS) – an organisation that stills holds him in high esteem today.
Meanwhile, thank you for your continuing prayers and support for our two congregations. Have an excellent week and see you on Sunday,
Angus, St Columba’s, Pont Street, 9th July 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 12th 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. As this Sunday is the second Sunday in the month, there are additional prayer resources prepared by St Columba’s elder, Liz Fox. 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 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 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
Congregational Prayer Time Resources 5th Sunday after Trinity – 12th July 2020
Collect of the day:
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. (I Peter 3:8-15, NIV)
O God, our Father, we thank you that you have put into our hearts the desire to pray. We thank you that you have made us such that in any time of trouble we instinctively turn to you. We thank you that you have given us the gift of prayer, that your ear is ever listening to catch our every word, and to hear even the heart’s unspoken cry for help; that the door to your presence is never shut to those who seek to enter on their knees.
We thank you that you have given us the confidence to pray. We thank you that you have told us that you are our Father, that your name is love; that you love each one of us, as if there was only one of us to love, and that no child of yours can be lost in the crowd. We thank you that you have given us unanswerable proof of your love, by sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to live, to suffer and to die for us.
Give us now an answer to our prayers. We do not ask that we should be protected from all pain and sorrow, from all danger and distress. We ask for humility to accept whatever comes to us, and for courage, and fortitude and endurance to come safely through it, and to come out on the other side finer in character, and nearer to you. We do not ask that you should answer our prayers as we in our ignorance would wish, but as you in your mercy and love know best.
Into your hands we commend our spirits, because we know that you are love to care, mercy to bless, power to save.
Hear these our prayers for your love’s sake. Amen. (William Barclay)
Lord God, we give You thanks that we are still able as a congregation to come together to worship You. We pray for our Minister, as he seeks to lead us through these troubled waters. We pray for all those in authority who seek the common good, who strive to protect the health of us all and to maintain economic well-being.
We pray for all who work in hospitals, surgeries and care homes and for those who are caring for loved ones. We pray for those who are ill, lonely or anxious; for those who are facing unemployment, uncertainty and disruption to their lives. We pray that we shall feel Your comfort and know Your presence with us. Amen.
Let thy mighty hand, O Lord our God, and outstretched arm be our defence; thy mercy and loving kindness in Jesus Christ, thy dear Son, our salvation; thy all true word, our instruction; the grace of thy life-giving Spirit our comfort and consolation, to the end and in the end. Amen. (John Knox)
POETRY & SILENT PRAYER ST COLUMBA’S, PONT STREET
12th 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: ISAIAH 55:10-11
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
POEM, What I Have Learned So Far, Mary Oliver
Meditation is old and honourable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labour in its cause? I don’t think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.
TIME OF SILENCE
Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you. Give us peace in your service, and in the world to come the joy of seeing you face to face; 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.