For Sunday 8th August 2021, 11th Sunday after Pentecost
Good Afternoon All,
I’m back from a refreshing week in Pembrokeshire. Staycationers everywhere! I have never seen the beaches so busy and trying to get a reservation in a local pub was somewhat interesting, however we managed lots of ice cream, fish and chips and late night swims (well Baz & the kids not me) on the beach.
Back to St Columba’s this week and we have been preparing for the upcoming baptisms this weekend. The congregation might be larger than it has been for a while but everything will be stage manage properly and we keep everyone safe. Thanks to Fiona for stepping in and covering the office for me (she will be back with you in a couple of weeks whilst I sneak off for another week).
Enjoy the weekend ahead and see you all next week.
This Sunday three infants are brought to St Columba’s for baptism – Juno, Douglas and Hughie. It will draw a larger congregation than we have been used to in recent months, with some of the anxieties that accompany increased numbers. But logistics aside, it is surely a cause for celebration that three families choose to celebrate with us, bringing their precious children formally into the family of faith.
In the service we offer these words of welcome: “Little brother/sister, by this act of baptism you begin a journey that will take your whole life. Today is not an end, but a beginning. What God will make of you, we know not. Where God will lead you, surprise or inspire you, we cannot say. This we know, this we declare: God is with you. You are precious in His sight.”
Sometimes church members express disappointment that after a family has come for baptism, we don’t necessarily see very much more of them – until perhaps the baptism of a baby brother or sister! Sometimes, even church-going families will lament that a family member, a teenager or young adult, has “turned their back on church” or formal religion. When such things happen perhaps it is wise to take the long view, careful not to underestimate what is going on beneath the surface in people’s lives. Of course, we would love to have every family regularly finding significance and meaning in our worshipping community. Of course, we believe that each family or individual has something to contribute to our communal life of faith. But, if that doesn’t automatically happen we shouldn’t become either down-hearted or embittered. Rather we might consider the insight of the Dominican friar, Timothy Radcliffe, writing in his book on baptism, Take the Plunge:
“Some (baptised) babies may never enter a church again, and their later search for meaning may lead them away from Christianity to other faiths or even to atheism, but it is our belief that somehow God will be with them, opening ways forward where there seem to be none, never giving up. This is why parents testify to their faith precisely by not fretting when their children wander far from the Church. To do so would be a denial of our faith in the God who leaves the ninety-nine safe sheep to look for the one who was lost.” pp13, Take the Plunge
“Where God will lead you, surprise or inspire you, we cannot say. This we know, this we declare: God is with you. You are precious in His sight.”
May Juno, Douglas and Hughie discover this in their lives to come, just as we who are already baptised, be reminded of baptism’s beautiful message.
See you on a very happy Sunday to come.
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, 8th August 2021
Hymn 501 Take this moment, sign and space (Take this moment)
Hymn 632 Our children, Lord, in faith and prayer (Belmont)
Hymn 686 How happy are all they who hear (St Stephen (Newington))
Hymn 562 Through the love of God, our Saviour (Ar Hyd T Nos)
Gospel Reading: St John 6: 35, 41-51
Anthem: O quam gloriosum, Victoria
Musical Interlude: Lead me Lord, S S Wesley
Organ Postlude: Minnet Gothique, Boellmann
Gifts for Baptismal Days
Thanks to the generosity of a church friend our plan is to present a copy of 99 Prayers for Children to each family on forthcoming baptismal Sundays. Our kind sponsor writes: “It’s a key part of the Christening when the parents promise to bring their children up within the church. These prayer books will be a part of the process of the teaching of prayer and God. I remember many of the Prayers from when I was young and singing them to my parents when I went to bed. It would be an honour to be part of the gifts to each child and the family on the day they are welcomed into the Church.
We will also continue to ask families to contribute their baptised child’s name to contribute to the baptismal banners project.
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
Congregational Survey & Pastoral Conversations: FINAL WEEK Please keep an eye out for the Congregational Survey that came out on Friday evening, 23rd July (via e-mail) and by post on Monday 26th July. We have currently received over seventy responses. With the pandemic, as a congregation, we have had to face new circumstances. Some very positive things have emerged; some things have been particularly hard. Experiences have varied greatly. Pastorally, it feels important to allow church members to reflect and share a little on their recent experience. So, our Kirk Session has agreed that now is an appropriate moment for conversation, asking your help to discern what is important for our life ahead – how we might faithfully, helpfully, and hopefully, make the next steps along the St Columba’s way. To that end, the survey which can be completed either online or by return of post is the first step. It will be followed in September by the invitation to attend conversation groups for a fuller chance to hear and share experience. This 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. Assisting us with the survey and the conversation groups in September would be much appreciated.
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.
Prayers for Sunday, August 8th, 2021,
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost.
Prepared by the Congregational Prayer Group.
Come let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is a great God and great King
who is above all gods.
Hymn verses from CH4 517, Fight the good fight
Fight the good fight with all thy might.
Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek his face,
Life with its path before us lies,
Christ is the way, and Christ the prize.
Bible verses: I Timothy: 6:11 & I Corinthians 9:24-26
“Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your confession of faith.”
“Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly, I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, a strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize”.
Reflection and prayers
∙ This summer has been a great summer for those who like sport. After all the problems that Covid has caused it has been good that sport has reappeared. We have been blessed with Wimbledon, the Euros, the Lions tour of South Africa and the Olympics. Sport plays a big part in people’s lives. As Paul mentions sport in his letters, we can safely assume that it played a big part in the lives of people in Biblical days.
∙ So, pray and thank God for the gift of sport. Being good at sport is a gift but recognise that not everyone is good at sport and their gift may lie elsewhere. ∙ Ask him to bless all those who play sport particularly those who are Christian. Pray that they may use it to minister and extend the message of God’s love to others.
∙ As we have seen with the abuse of members of the England football team and a member of the British Lions, all who are non-white, sport can also bring out the worst in people instead of the best.
∙ Pray for all people who are abused maybe because of the colour of their skin. Help them rise above the abuse. Pray also for
the abusers to show them the error of their ways. Pray that the authorities will catch those responsible and that they will face up to the consequences of their wrongdoing.
∙ Deliver us from taking an extremely nationalistic or perhaps personal attitude in measuring success solely on sport. A great country or person is not only one that is good at sport. A great country or personal success can be something else; how we react to other countries, especially refugees and those fleeing persecution.
∙ Sports people must be disciplined. Use them as an example in your spiritual life particularly in prayer and Bible reading.
∙ At the end of the day help us to see that there are more important things than sport. Bill Shankly a famous Scot who managed Liverpool FC was wrong when he said that “football is more important than life and death.” Help us to remember that life is not a 100 metres sprint but rather a marathon.
Conclusion (said or sung): The Doxology.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him, all creatures here below,
Praise him above, the heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen”.