For Sunday 22nd August 2021, 13th Sunday after Pentecost
Good afternoon everyone from sunny Knightsbridge,
We have had quite varied weather this week, but I am happy to report that the sun is shining at the moment.
This is almost the end of my 2nd week covering Lucy for her holiday and in 2 weeks time I shall be heading back to my little people in the classroom. I shall have a varied role this year including teaching in Nursery and Reception and working with groups for reading in Year 3! All very varied, but will make my days interesting.
We have had quite a few sign ups for Sunday already, so if you would like me to add you to the list, please do give me a call or email to let me know. If you could do that before 3 pm tomorrow, that would be great!
I’m off to Scotland on Saturday to visit my parents, so I am looking forward to that. I hope you all enjoy what is left of the summer.
Until next time,
This Sunday is the 31st anniversary of my ordination by the Presbytery of Greenock on 22nd August 1990.
Anniversaries make us look both backwards and forwards and I have been thinking about the people I have known in Greenock, Polbeth, Dublin, Dundee and now London who have shaped my ministry and who have ministered to me.
I once had the pleasure of meeting Joanna Trollope and discussing her novel “The Rector’s Wife”; I said that it struck me that in her story everyone was really horrible to the rector and his family whereas my experience is that people who might have very difficult lives themselves are often very generous and supportive.
Ms Trollope replied that she had interviewed 10 clergy wives while researching her novel and that those in deprived urban parishes had had similar experiences to me but that those in rural parishes had had a much more difficult time. Why that should be I cannot say.
I am deeply grateful to those who have welcomed me into their homes and allowed me to share in some of the most momentous events of their lives, both joyous and unspeakably sad.
I often say that one essential characteristic in a minister is nosiness – I’m interested in people, I want to hear their stories and over the last 31 years, in the parish, as a prison chaplain, a university chaplain and with army cadets I’ve heard some very interesting stories which have inspired and encouraged me.
Ministry in the 21st century is not easy, but its not meant to be and I remain deeply grateful for the privilege of the call to ordained ministry. Looking to the future, maybe one day I’ll write a book!
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, 22nd August 2021
Hymn 84 How lovely is thy dwelling-place (Harington)
Hymn 542 Lord, speak to me, that I may speak (Winscott)
Hymn 514 Onward! Christian soldiers (St Gertrude)
New Testament Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
Gospel Reading: John 6:56-69
Anthem: Magnificat (Gibbons)
Musical Interlude: Nunc dimittis (Gibbons)
Organ Postlude: Fugue sur le trompette (Couperin)
Golden Wedding Congratulations
We are very happy to welcome Susie and Colin Scott-Malden who are celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary. They were married in St Columba’s on 21st August 1971. They are accompanied by their children and grandchildren to celebrate this wonderful occasion.
Our Coffee Rota is now complete thanks to the various people who responded to our appeal for help to serve coffee (and tea) after the Sunday Morning Service. For the time being, we will continue to serve people seated at
tables of four in the Upper Hall. Both doors will be open to avoid
any congestion and the windows open at both ends of the hall.
Anyone taking coffee or tea should go straight in to the Upper Hall, masked until they sit down, wait to be served, and not to move around.
We still anticipate starting lunches again as from Sunday 19th
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.
We are sorry to announce the deaths of church members, Abdul Fady Othman, (February 2021) and Coco MacLeod who died on 6th August 2021. St Columba’s and the Friends of St Columba’s were represented at Coco’s burial service on Thursday 19th August. Please keep the loved ones of both members in your prayers.
Congregational Survey and Congregational Conversations
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the recent congregational survey; we have had approximately one hundred responses. We will now take time to collate the information and insights offered, and in time share that with the congregation.
As previously explained, given the impact of the pandemic, pastorally, it feels important to allow church members to reflect and share a little on their recent experience. In September there will be the opportunity to attend a Congregational Conversation group, either in person or via zoom, for a fuller chance to hear and share experience.
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 also 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 response to the survey has been really encouraging. Please now consider participating in one of the Congregational Conversations.
Sunday 12th September, 12.30-1.30pm (In person)
Wednesday 15th September 11.30am – 12.30pm (In person)
Friday 17th September 11.30am – 12.30pm (via Zoom)
Tuesday 21 September 6.30 – 7.30pm (via zoom)
(Sign up via the Church Office will begin next week.)
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.
Our next session (themed discussion f/b general socialising) will take place on Wednesday 8 September in the Upper Hall at St Columba’s at 6.30pm. We’ll be joined by our Associate Minister William McLaren. Light refreshments available. Further details to follow but please save the date. All welcome, especially newcomers.