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For Sunday 26th September 2021, 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:2

newsletter 26 september 2021


In August the Presbytery of England ordained Rev Dr Allan Wright to a pioneering ministry to the veterinary community of the Northeast of England. One definition of pioneer is, “a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.” This week I received the following thoughts on pioneering ministry.

“A pioneer minister’s role is to make God visible in a place. It is to join God where God is already working and ask to help. As this is a completely new ministry, with no blueprint, or expectation from the community into which it will establish itself, it would be inappropriate to have a prescriptive, or concrete, approach to the ministry.

It is about ‘setting the space for encounter, without setting its parameters; setting a direction in motion for people to travel, without dictating the narrow journey.’ (Inspiring New Worshipping Communities – Pathways for Pioneer Ministry and Church Planting in the Church of Scotland).

The pioneer minister can offer/become a social glue, as the community of worship grows around the initiatives and events that unfold. It is important, however, to note that this will be a slow process with little in terms of measurable outcomes initially. The first step is a ‘ministry of presence’ - to engage with and be absorbed into the community.

Via the recent congregational survey, the follow up congregational conversation groups and this weekend’s Elders’ Away Day we are considering how we emerge from recent events and how we live out our faith as a congregation. In the same communication about pioneer ministry, I received the following guidelines.
(In the original, each section concludes with a pioneer minister does…. How does it sound if we replace pioneer minister with a member of St Columba does….?

‘Because at times life and work can be stressful
and it can be helpful to talk to someone
about what’s on your mind;
a member of St Columba’s has time to listen.

We visit regularly but don’t interrupt work.
We understand, encourage and support all people
in their various and often challenging roles;
a member of St Columba’s offers support.

A member of St Columba’s is a person of faith
but their role is not to convert you -
but they will pray for you or anyone in your family – if you ask!
We listen to whatever you want to talk about,
but if you don’t want to talk;
a member of St Columba’s understands.

We are not employed by the business
so are independent of management;
a member of St Columba’s keeps a confidence.
(Adapted from NIM newsletter)

Giving thanks for all that they do, please keep our elders in your prayers as they meet this weekend, on Friday evening for the Kirk Session and on Saturday morning for the Away Day.


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, 26th September 2021

Hymn 160 Praise my Soul the King of heaven (Praise my soul)
Hymn 624 In Christ there is no east or west (McKee)
Hymn 202 Stand up and bless the Lord (Carlisle)

Gospel Reading: Mark 9: 38-50

Anthem: All we like sheep have gone astray (Handel)
Communion Anthem: Ave verum (Byrd)
Organ Postlude: Fugue in B flat (Handel)

Communion Sunday

For those watching via the live stream, you are invited to prepare bread and wine (or equivalent) to join in our celebration of communion, if you wish. Alternatively, you may prefer simply to prayerfully observe what is offered in the sanctuary. Those in church will be invited to come forward to receive the bread, though unfortunately on this occasion we cannot offer the common cup wine. It is Christ’s table, and it is open to anyone whose tradition is to receive the bread and wine.

Office Hours

Contact details; Tel: 020 7584 2321
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.stcolumbas.org.uk
Facebook: @stcolumbaschurchpontstreet.
Twitter: @LondonKirk
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271

*Please note the Church Office will be closed on Friday 24th September*

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 Meals!

Sunday School & New Youth Group

St Columba’s families please note the dates of the next 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)

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.

Congregational Offerings

Details on the many ways you can support St Columba’s can be found here https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/giving/supporting-st-columbas

Would anyone wishing to contribute to St Andrew's, Newcastle please contact the Session Clerk on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for bank details or other means of donating.

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.

Happy Hour

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 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.
Find out more about Glass Door’s plans and how to get involved at www.glassdoor.org.uk or get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


If you would like to leave stamps for Crossreach, please pop them into the Church Office on Sundays.

The Royal Foundation of St Katherine’s - An Introduction to
Strengthening Prayer: Four Movements for Spiritual Health

To those who are interested in strengthening their prayer, please see details of a course which will be held on 16th October at The Royal Foundation of St Katherine’s, Limehouse which is a 2 minute walk from Limehouse DLR station. More details can be found online here https://bit.ly/3CvbMsW.

In this quiet day, psychologist Dr Roger Bretherton will gently explore the four core spiritual movements of Strengthening Prayer: how God sees us, how we see God, how we see ourselves and how we see others. Taken together these prayerful exercises can foster wellbeing, enhance spiritual connection, and inspire effective action. Strengthening Prayer blends character strengths psychology, mindfulness practice, contemplative prayer and biblical meditation. No prior experience is required. Whether you are a newcomer to the life of prayer or a seasoned explorer keen to investigate new spiritual paths, this day retreat will have something to offer.

The cost of £35 includes coffee and pastries on arrival, a retreat lunch and afternoon pot of tea and cake.
(Thank you to the Congregational Prayer Group for this information.)

Flying the Flag

Next time you are at St Columba’s, look up for the flag. With the help of an enormous cherry-picker our flagpole was fixed, having been damaged in the storms in 2020. The Saltire waves a blessing over Pont Street once more!

Opening Hours

The office is open from
9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m,
Monday to Friday.

There is a 24-hour answering machine service.

Connect with us

Find us

St Columba’s is located on Pont Street in Knightsbridge in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Church is within easy reach of three London Underground stations – Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line), South Kensington (Piccadilly, Circle and District Lines) and Sloane Square (Circle and District Lines).

St. Columba's
Pont Street
London SW1X 0BD
+44 (0)20-7584-2321

Getting here by tube

Knightsbridge Station

Take the Harrods exit if open (front car if coming from the East, rear car if coming from the West). Come up the stairs to street level, carry on keeping Harrods on your right. Turn right into Basil Street. Carry straight on into Walton Place with St Saviour’s Church on your left. At the traffic lights, St Columba’s is to your left across the street. If the Harrods exit is closed, take the Sloane Street exit, turn right into Basil Street. Carry straight on past Harrods with the shop on your right, into Walton Place as before.

South Kensington Station

Come up the stairs out of the station and turn left into the shopping arcade. Turn left again into Pelham Street. At the traffic lights at the end of Pelham Street cross Brompton Road, turn left then immediately right into the narrow street of Draycott Avenue. After just a few yards turn left into Walton Street. Carry on walking up Walton Street until the traffic lights at the corner of Pont Street. Turn right and after a few steps you will be at St Columba’s!

Sloane Square Station

Cross over the square into Sloane Street. Walk along Sloane Street until the traffic lights at the corner of Pont Street. Turn left into Pont Street. St Columba’s will then be in sight.

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