For Sunday 15th August 2021, 12th Sunday after Pentecost
I always say, no two days are the same at St Columba’s and today has been one of those days! We had a couple visit the church this afternoon who have never been to St Columba’s ever before BUT have not missed one of our live streams, as recommended by her friend. They asked to meet Angus who has been an important part of their lockdown and looked around the church, as they left they also met William and said to me “oh what a bonus I got to meet both of the boys!”. It was so nice to meet them and to see the joy the church has brought to them. In fact I think they made our afternoon!
I am off on holiday again next week so the lovely Fiona will be in the hot seat covering. I have a week of entertaining the girls. I am hoping for warm weather so we can make ice cream, enjoy the paddling pool and lots of walks in the woods- however I don’t think the weather report is helping my plans!
Enjoy the week ahead and see you soon
Six years ago, in August 2015 I had the privilege of representing the Church of Scotland at the General Synod of Methodist – Waldensian Church in Italy. The Waldensians were a pre- reformation movement but like the Church of Scotland are now part of the Reformed family of churches.
Peter Waldo (or Valdo) (1140 – 1205) was a merchant in Lyons who like his near contemporary Francis of Assisi advocated simplicity and poverty in the life of the church. Waldo is also credited with commissioning the first translation of the New Testament into the vernacular. In January 1179 he was received in Rome by Pope Innocent iii who affirmed his vow of poverty but as a layman Waldo was forbidden to preach. The Waldensians were excommunicated by Pope Lucius iii in 1184 and eventually driven from Lyons, many of them settling in the high valleys of Piedmont which are still the heartland of the Waldensian Church today. Around 1532, following the reformation in Geneva the Waldensians were invited by Farel to join the wider reformation movement.
The Waldensian Church and the Methodist Church in Italy were united in 1975 and today have around 30 - 35, 000 members in Italy and 15,000 members in South America. Although they are a tiny minority in Italy the Waldensians are hugely respected not least because of their social work and many Italians who are not Waldensian choose to pay their “church tax” to the Waldensians knowing that it will be put to good use.
We are all aware of the terrible plight of refugees, often young children, crossing the Mediterranean in tiny unsafe boats and one project trying to alleviate such suffering is Mediterranean Hope, an initiative of the Protestant churches in Italy including the Waldensians, working to support migrants in Lampadusa and Sicily. Fiona Kendall is a Church of Scotland mission partner based in Rome and working as European and Legal Affairs Advisor with Mediterranean Hope and you can learn more about her work https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/serve/world-mission/mission-partners/italy
If you wish to read more about the history of the Waldensian Church two very useful books are “An Alliance across the Alps” by R.D. Kernohan (former editor of “Life and Work”) and a more recent publication by an American author “With their backs against the Mountains, 850 Years of Waldensian Witness” by Kevin E. Frederick.
See you Sunday, William McLaren.
Update from the “Out of Lock Down” Working Group
- We continue to request that worshippers book in prior to the one-way system (with marker arrows) now ceases.
- The space between “useable” pews is now reduced from two to one pew. ∙ We continue to encourage, though not enforce, face coverings, especially while singing, in line with good practice.
- Worshippers can use CH4 (the purple hymn book) and the pew bibles, though the printed sheet with hymns and readings is also available. ∙ The Session Room will be unlocked on Sunday mornings for use. ∙ We hope to restart Sunday School from Sunday 12th September – tbc. ∙ We do not plan to offer the crèche facility in September.
- Sunday lunch in the Lower Hall (on the first and third Sundays of the month) will restart on Sunday 19th September.
- The short, weekly communion service at 12.15pm in the London Scottish Chapel will restart on Sunday 3rd October.
- The Working Group will meet again on Thursday 2nd September to review and update all relevant matters.
We remain very grateful to all on the Working Group who continue to give their time and energy to negotiating the twists and turns of the last year and a half, on behalf of us all.
Attending Morning Worship
Live Streaming of Worship
Services can be watched via the church website, https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/live stream. 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, 15th August 2021
Hymn 27 “I will always bless the Lord” (Psalm 34) (Taladh Chriosta)
Hymn 465 “Be thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart” (Slane)
Hymn 511 “Your hand, O God, has guided” (Thornbury)
New Testament Reading: Ephesians 5: 15 - 20
Gospel Reading: St. John 6: 51 - 58
Anthem: Cantate Domino (Pitoni)
Musical Interlude: O for a closer walk with God (C.V. Stanford)
Organ Postlude: Toccata in G (Dubois)
Our coffee teams are now serving coffee and tea again in the Upper Hall, after the Morning Service. They serve people seated at tables of four. Milk and sugar will be placed on every table, and as a trial, cups and saucers will be in place on the tables with coffee already in the cups and to fill the cups with hot water at the tables. Please ask for tea if required. Both doors to the Upper Hall will be open to avoid any congestion and also to have windows open at both ends of the hall. Anyone taking coffee should go straight into the Upper Hall, masked until they sit down, wait to be served, and not to move around.
[We anticipate starting lunches again as from Sunday 19th September.]
Contact details; Tel: 020 7584 2321
Facebook: @stcolumbaschurchpontstreet. Twitter: @LondonKirk
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
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 the 23rd August (via Zoom) at 7pm. The month’s book will be “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. If you would like to join please contact the office for more information.
If you would like to leave stamps for Crossreach, please pop them into the Church Office on Sundays.
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.
8th September (10.30am) - TBC
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.