For Sunday 19th September 2021, 17th Sunday after Pentecost
Having collated the responses to the recent Congregational Survey and taking advantage of a fresh pair of eyes, I invited our Associate Minister, William to offer “an executive summary” of the survey findings. The St Columba’s Kirk Session meets on Saturday 25th September. Prior to that they will have opportunity to see the full set of survey responses, to assist the shaping of a Congregational Plan for presentation to the Local Church Review Panel in November. Once again, thank you to all who took part in the survey, and I hope you find the following encouraging and of interest.
Summary Findings from the Congregational Survey 2021
It is a very healthy sign that so many members of the St. Columba’s congregation (approximately 100) wished to participate in the recent Congregational Survey and took time to consider all the questions.
Over 90% of those responding to the survey had joined worship via the livestream from a wide variety of geographical locations around the UK and abroad, and this has clearly been very successful. It remains important however to bear in mind that there are those who are not part of the online community and for whom telephone and postal communications are more appropriate.
Church members are clearly very happy to be worshipping in person again, citing being in church together and singing during the service as especially important. Others mentioned the quarterly Communions and the weekly celebration of Holy Communion in the London Scottish Chapel being significant for them. Not surprisingly, members of the congregation welcome the return of coffee and lunch after the service and other opportunities to socialise together.
While there was a suggestion that livestream worship might have been an opportunity to do things differently, for most, the livestream services provided a sense of belonging, continuity and familiarity. Members commented that they appreciated a traditional Church of Scotland Sunday service from St. Columba’s and a sense of worshipping with others, despite being apart. They enjoyed the high quality of the music and preaching. There was reference to “hearing a clear message of hope” and the feeling that online worship had been a “huge comfort” There was a very clear wish that livestream services continue, possibly with more camera options, closeups, etc.
To help church members stay better connected there was the suggestion that an elder be appointed with responsibility for those who can only attend church services and other events virtually. One member commented that “Perhaps a little more insight into the sense of isolation for those of us who live alone” was required. Many members expressed gratitude for the support they had received from St. Columba’s during the last 18 months, one member wrote: “I have known that St. Columba’s cared for me” and others of still feeling part of “the St. Columba’s family”. Several respondents mentioned how helpful the Church Office had been and especially thanked Mrs Lucy Llewellyn. Phone calls from elders were also much appreciated, as was the weekly newsletter and the online Coffee Mornings. The hope was expressed that that there might be more online activities including discussion groups in the future.
While obviously looking forward to an “early return to normality with no masks”, there is an awareness of those who have suffered loss during the pandemic and for whom life will never be the same again. However, looking to the future suggestions included the use of individual communion glasses and a prayer chain enabling members of the congregation to support one another in prayer. In summary, those who replied to the survey saw as their future priorities as worship, fellowship, and the hope that there “will still be a strong and thriving St. Columba’s in 2041”.
Live Streaming of Worship
Services can be watched via the church website stream. https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/live
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 60 minutes, includes include prayers, a sermon and music. The words for the hymns will be on the website.
We believe it is really important to continue to live-stream the Morning Service under its current format i.e. for the benefit of those joining worship from afar or those as yet unable to make the journey to Pont Street. For those without internet, the Dial-In facility continues. Many people comment that they do have a sense of worshipping together, even if invisible to each other.
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.
Hymns, Music & Readings, 19th September 2021
Hymn 1 “How blest are those who do not stray” (Psalm 1) (St. Botolph)
Hymn 594 “Come, Holy Spirit, come” (Diademata)
Hymn 166 “Lord of all hopefulness” (Miniver)
New Testament Reading: James 3:13 – 4:8a
Gospel Reading: St. Mark 9: 30 – 37
Anthem: O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit (Tallis)
Musical Interlude: Thou knowest, Lord (Purcell)
Organ Postlude: Psalm Prelude Set 1, Number 1 (Howells)
Friends of St Columba’s AGM & Tea, 2pm, Sunday 19th September
Contact details; Tel: 020 7584 2321
Facebook: @stcolumbaschurchpontstreet. Twitter: @LondonKirk Pastoral
Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
*Please note the Church Office will be closed on Friday 24th September*
The Hospitality Committee look forward to welcoming you back to enjoy Sunday Lunches as they recommence on Sunday 19th September 2021 in the Lower Hall after the Morning Service. The cost remains as before - £3.50 for two courses. They offer the opportunity to enjoy Fellowship together once again.
A reduced lunch service will operate from this date, on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month.
Congregational Survey and Congregational Conversations
This week’s newsletter carries a summary of the recent congregational survey findings (see above.) As previously publicised
Given the impact of the pandemic, past and ongoing, pastorally, it feels important to allow church members to reflect and share a little on their experience. Accordingly, there has been the invitation to join one of the Congregational Conversation groups scheduled in September. While the groups may discuss how best the congregation emerges into our new circumstances and our future priorities, the aim is not to be a “strategy meeting”, but to offer some solidarity and deepen the understanding of how others have experienced some difficult and demanding times. The remaining dates are:
Friday 17th September 11.30am – 12.30pm (via Zoom)
Tuesday 21 September 6.30 – 7.30pm (via zoom)
Sign up is via the office.
What is collated from the survey and what is shared in the Congregational Conversations will all feed into the Elders’ Away Day (Saturday 25th September) and help us prepare for the Local Church Review that takes place on the weekend of Saturday 6th Sunday 7th November. Hopefully, the combination of these initiatives will help us faithfully and prayerfully, make the next steps along the St Columba’s way. The overall response to the survey has been very positive, although there are criticisms and disappointments also expressed. It will be our collective responsibility to try to respond to those concerns.
Harvest Appeal - UR4Meals - The Upper Room
The Upper Room charity provides thousands of meals a year for the homeless and disadvantaged people. The above links provide an insight into the incredible services the charity provides. We are collecting on three Sundays, 19th and 26th September, culminating on Sunday 3rd October which is Harvest Festival Sunday. Suggested items for donations:
canned fish, canned meat and canned vegetables, olive oil, sunflower oil, jarred sauces and long-life milk (any).
Collection area: Upper Vestibule, where there will be a box for donated items.
If you would prefer to make a financial donation online direct to The Upper Room, UR4Meals, please click on the link.
Thank you - UR4 Meal!
Sunday School & New Youth Group
Last Sunday was the first opportunity for our young people to gather at the start of the new school year. It was a very happy morning. St Columba’s families please note the dates of the scheduled Sundays when there will be activities for both Sunday School groups (4–9-year-olds & 10-13years olds.)
Sunday 10th October, 11am
Sunday 14th November (Remembrance Sunday) 10.45am
Sunday 12th December (3.30pm, Christingle making, pizza family tea Carols by Candlelight at 5pm)
We are sorry to announce the recent death of Gael Gorvey-Robertson. Gael was the artist who created the Breathing Spaces exhibition, hosted in part, at St Columba’s in 2002. It represented her bridge-building response to the events of 9/11. She was also the co-creator of Naming the Beloved, part of the Scots in Great War London collaborations in 2018. Two of her installations from that time are on display in the London Scottish Chapel this Sunday. Please keep her family in your prayers as they prepare for her funeral next week.
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
Details on the many ways you can support St Columba’s can be found here https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/giving/supporting-st-columbas
St Columba’s Book Club
The next meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will be on the 11th October at 7pm. The book for October is Elena Ferrante’s “The Lying Life of Adults”. The wonderful thing about the St Columba’s Book Club is that it is all done via the amazing power of Zoom so you can be comfy on your couch or at your dining room table- no need to provide food or host the book club (they don’t mind if you attend in your PJ’s ☺) and you don’t even have to be based in London! New members always welcome and very much encouraged.
St Columba’s Coffee Mornings
We are looking forward to welcoming participants back to the St Columba’s virtual coffee mornings from September (note that is will be Afternoon Tea in November). Please pop the below dates in your diary and do let the Church Office know if you would like to attend.
13th October (10.30am) - Revd Bola Adamolekun, Church of England Chaplain at Brixton Prison discusses her role at the Prison in what is Prisons Week. Bola will talk about how COVID has affected support to prisoners, the highs and lows of her role and will give further information on Prisons Week.
17th November (2pm) - Revd Camille Cook, Senior Pastor at Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington will discuss Thanksgiving and its role within the Church. Camille will be well known to many at St Columba’s so a nice chance to see her again also!
15th December (10.30am)- Revd Dr John McCulloch, Minister St Andrews, Jerusalem Tiberias will discuss Christmas in the Holy Land.
Our October Happy Hour will be a special ‘walk and talk’ ramble to celebrate meeting again face to face.
We’ll meet on Saturday 2 October at 11am at The Richmond Gate entrance to Richmond Park for a c. 2 mile stroll through the park followed by a light lunch at the bar/coffee shop at 144 Richmond Hill.
Richmond Gate is about 20 minutes’ walk from Richmond Station. For those who prefer to save their energy for the park, the 371 bus to Kingston goes from Richmond Station passing the Star and Garter home which is adjacent to the park entrance. Everyone who enjoys a walk is welcome, even if you have not been to previous Happy Hour sessions, you are also welcome to join the group for lunch at around 12.30pm if you prefer not to walk.
Please leave your name and mobile number with the office by Friday 30 September if you would like to join.
Glass Door Sleep Out, Friday 1st October
“Give up your bed for the night and help someone find a route out of homelessness.” Glass Door's annual Sleep Out will be taking place on Friday, 1 October 2021. Participants give up their bed for one night to give someone a chance to leave homelessness behind. Find out more and sign up at https://www.glassdoor.org.uk/
This year, Glass Door (which partners with churches to run the UK’s largest open access homeless support network) is encouraging people either to take part remotely or to sign up for one of the limited spaces available at Duke of York Square in Chelsea. Take part as a church team or by yourself. Sleep on your floor or join 200 others at Duke of York Square. Either way, you will be helping someone find a route off the streets.
The charity is expecting more demand on their services as the furlough scheme ends and evictions begin. Glass Door has ambitious plans in place to support people in need this winter, and the funds raised through the Sleep Out will help to ensure they can open their doors to the large number of people expected to need shelter and support.
Registration is FREE but participants are asked to set an ambitious target for their fundraising goal. Every pound you raise can help someone find safe shelter and support to get off the streets for good.
If you would like to leave stamps for Crossreach, please pop them into the Church Office on Sundays.