E-Newsletter – 24th January 2021
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)
This week our headlines have been full of Presidential Inauguration, and you may have seen Amanda Gorman become the youngest poet ever to perform at a presidential inauguration. The 22-year-old delivered her work The Hill We Climb to both the dignitaries present in Washington DC and a watching global audience. Her five-minute poem began: "When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?" She went on to reference the storming of the Capitol earlier this month. "We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy," she declared. "And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated." Overall, her poem called for "unity and togetherness."
This week is also the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/2021/week-of-prayer for-christian-unity-to-begin Psalm 62, set for this Sunday (Third after Epiphany) and already quoted continues:
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:8)
If a poet’s words can offer vision and hope, to bridge division and build unity, so can out prayers. So, amid ongoing anxiety and uncertainty, we might offer these words:
in whose way of love
lies the secret of all life
and the hope of all people,
we pray for quiet courage
to match this hour.
We did not choose to be born
or to live in such an age:
but let its problems challenge us,
its discoveries exhilarate us,
its injustices anger us,
its possibilities inspire us
and its vigour renew us
for your kingdom’s sake. Amen
(From prayer card created for 1998 Lambeth Conference)
Keep well and safe. Have a good week and see you on Sunday
Live Streaming of Worship – Sunday 24th January 2021, 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/live-stream 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 60 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.
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. While current regulation forbids singing in the pews, the live stream strongly recommends singing in the sitting room!
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 this week are:
Hymn 509 Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult (St Andrew)
Hymn 252 As a fire is meant for burning (Beach Spring)
Hymn 192 All my hope on God is founded (Michael)
Anthem: Let thy merciful ears, O Lord (Thomas Mudd)
Organ Postlude: Fugue in A Major no. 9 (Josef Rheinberger)
Old Testament Readings: Jonah 3:1-10
New Testament Reading: I Corinthians 7:29-31
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:14-20
Office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. The Church Office is currently being manned from home.
Tel: 020 7584 2321
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
If you wish to come into the sanctuary for prayer during the week, please contact the Office to arrange a suitable time.
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 – 22nd February 2021, 7.00pm
The February meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will take place on the 22nd February at 7pm (via Zoom). This month’s book will be “Honour” by Elif Shafak. New members are very much encouraged, please get in touch with the Church Office for more detail.
Happy Hour has reverted to to the first Wednesday of the month and will meet next on Wednesday 3 February at 6.30 pm by Zoom for an hour or so of discussion and fellowship. Our theme will be; Censorship - are current levels sufficient to suppress words, images or ideas that are harmful to society?
Zoom Coffee Morning
The St Columba’s Zoom Coffee Mornings have returned for lockdown 3.0. More than twenty folks tuned in to hear a fascinating talk from Kate McNish on beekeeping. We have a fantastic line up of speakers and hope that friends from both St Columba’s and St Andrew’s, Newcastle, and elsewhere will join us. Please contact the church office to be included in the zoom invitation.
27th January, 10.30am Gaelic Singer and Performer, Michael Hill will join us to talk about Robert Burns poetry and songs. Michael will
also perform some pieces for us.
3rd February, 10.30am Revd Eleanor McMahon joins us. Subject TBC 10th February, 10.30 Revd Jane Taylor will talk us through icons & how they are painted
17th February, 10.30am Our very own Revd Angus MacLeod will lead us into Lent with a talk about Ash Wednesday.
The St Columba’s Magazine continues to be published though the pandemic. 2021 subscriptions are now due. If you would like to renew your subscription or take out a new one, please get in touch with the Church Office.
Encouragement by Church of Scotland to get vaccinated against COVID-19
Locally, via our links to Kensington & Chelsea Faith Communities Partnership we are similarly encouraged to promote vaccination and help dispel some of the myths and concerns that are prompting vaccination hesitancy.
The following statement comes from Kensington & Chelsea Faith Communities Partnership
“As member of the Kensington and Chelsea Interfaith Forum we are encouraging our communities to get vaccinated against Covid-19. It is vital that you keep yourselves and your loved ones safe, so we are urging residents to follow the guidelines, take measures to keep yourselves well and get the vaccine when it is offered to you. It is only by doing so will we beat this virus and get our lives back.
We know how hard it has been for many of our communities with many faith settings having to close and many feeling isolated as a result. We can’t wait until we are able to open our doors again and come together and worship safely once more. The vaccine takes us one step closer to this becoming a reality.
As members of the Interfaith Forum we will be receiving our vaccinations when we are invited to have them. The NHS is currently rolling
out the Covid-19 vaccination programme in order of priority so please do be patient if you’ve not yet been contacted. You will be contacted by your GP when it is your turn. There have been many rumours, misinformation and myths about the vaccine which we know have caused concern in some of our communities. Our Council has produced some frequently asked questions which will hopefully answer any questions you may have to have an allay your fears. Read them here
One question that does come up quite often is do any of the approved vaccines contain animal products or eggs. The answer is no, they do not. They are also halal and kosher. The approved vaccines have been through stringent clinical trials and safety checks that all other licensed medicines go through before being approved.
The last year has been a year like no other, we’ve all had to make sacrifices, spend time away from our loved ones and have missed out on big celebrations. This vaccine brings hope and it brings a light at the end of the tunnel. Please do all stay to safe and hopefully it won’t be long before we’re all back together again.”
COVID-19 vaccination scam alert Some people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID 19 vaccination. In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details. Like other scams, the same rules apply;
- Don’t click on links or attachments in unexpected texts, emails or instant messages
- Challenge every request for your personal details.
- It doesn’t matter what they say or what they know about you, don’t respond to unexpected phone calls, hang up, take five then verify their claims via a trusted method. (such as the usual website or official phone number)
The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to members of the public over 80 years old.
The NHS will:
- NEVER ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine.
- NEVER ask for payment for the vaccine or for your bank details.
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, you should report this directly to Action Fraud either online; https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or via
phone 0300 123 2040
Where the victim is vulnerable, report it to the MPS online or by calling 101.
Link to an example of the scam text message on behalf of which.co.uk