Newsletter – 11th March 2021
On Sunday, this year’s Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair will preach for the live-stream service at 11am. Unable to be with us in person, as he was scheduled to be, Dr Fair has kindly pre recorded sermon, prayers and presentation of Long Service Certificates for five St Columba’s elders. We look forward to his message.
The Moderator has had to adapt in so many ways, during his year in office and he has done an enormous amount to engage and communicate with those both within and beyond the Church this year. In a letter to all congregations about Holy Week and Easter he writes:
“While probably unable to meet together in church our devotional patterns can certainly continue, and to that end, I am going to offer a series of daily reflections running from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. These will be available through the Church of Scotland social media channels and will be released each morning at 8am. Further, text versions will be available for local printing if desired and non digital folk will be able to access them via phone: 0333 340 9200. Each episode will include readings, prayers, reflections and music; with ministers, deacons, elders and others from across the Church taking part.
My hope is that these daily reflections will remind us of our essential unity and that we belong to a body of believers that stretches beyond
our parish boundaries. As we continue through Lent,
may you have a growing sense of the nearness of the Lord
and know that with Him, we’ll find ourselves soon enough at Calvary and in turn at the empty tomb.”
The Moderator’s prayers on Sunday are combined with some beautiful drone film footage of Arbroath Abbey, which is just across from his parish of St Andrew’s, Arbroath. There is a poignancy, silent eloquence, and grandeur to such places; though open to the skies, they surely remain places of prayer. Our final hymn (CH4 497 Almighty Father of all things that be) includes the verse:
Thou dost the strength to worker's arms impart;
from thee the skilled musician's mystic art,
the grace of poet's pen or painter's hand,
to teach the loveliness of sea and land.
We have much to be thankful from those who shaped our church homes and make them beautiful via music, colour, design, flower or word.
Many congratulations to our five long serving elders, ordained at St Columba’s on Palm Sunday 1991 – Liz Fox, Ben Gourlay, Kate Macnish, Liz Maliphant and Sheila Nicoll. For thirty years of wonderfully dedicated and faithful service to our church family, thank you.
Happy Mother’s Day/Mothering Sunday; see you then,
Live Streaming of Worship– 11am, Sunday 14th March 2021
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:
Hymn 71 Give thanks unto the Lord our God (Ellacombe, CH4 247)
Hymn 385 Here hangs a man discarded (Shrub End)
Hymn 497 Almighty Father of all things that be (Chilton Foliat)
New Testament Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
Gospel Reading: John 3:14-21
Anthem: Never weather-beaten sail (Wood)
Postlude: Psalm prelude set 1, no 1 (Howells)
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):
If you wish to come into the sanctuary for prayer during the week, please contact the Office to arrange a suitable time.
Lent Appeal 2021 - Play for Progress - www.playforprogress.org
Each year the Mission Committee consider proposals for our Lent charity. Their recommendation is endorsed by the Kirk Session, alternating between a small UK-based charity one year and an overseas charity the next. This year’s choice is Play for Progress.
Play for Progress was founded in 2014 as a company and registered as a charity in 2016. Dr Anna MacDonald is the Co-Founder and Head of Relationships.
"Play for Progress (charity no. 1166328) delivers therapeutic and educational music and arts programmes for traumatised and socially-isolated unaccompanied minor refugees. Our weekly Croydon-based programme is available to the hundreds of unaccompanied minor refugees and asylum seekers who are associated with the Refugee Council UK’s Children’s Section and guarantees that these vulnerable young people can rely on a close-knit and resilient community of mutually-trusting citizens of the world, who learn from and celebrate each other at every opportunity, and who use music and creative play as a tool for social change, self-expression, team building, and personal development." Dr Anna MacDonald. Please do click on the attached links to learn more about Play for Progress.
Video from the creation of our recent 'roots and branches' exhibition.
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Our community created this collection of tracks during our weekly RAW sessions, where we Record, Arrange, and Write music. Each track was built directly by or in collaboration with the young people and displays their creativity, characters, and wide-ranging talents.
This album was released as part of 'Roots and Branches: a Collaborative Art Exhibition' by Play for Progress for the Museum of Croydon in January 2020. You can experience a virtual representation of the exhibition here:
We look forward to welcoming Dr Anna MacDonald to give a brief talk during the service on: Sunday 21st February and Sunday 28th March (Palm Sunday). If you would like to contribute to the Lent Appeal, details are:
Bank details: Please use “Lent Appeal” as the payment reference
St Columba's Church of Scotland
Royal bank of Scotland
Account number 00264741
Sort Code 16 00 42
Cheques payable to: "St. Columba's Church of Scotland" and with a note that it is for the Lent Appeal.
Finance Dept. (Lent Appeal)
St. Columba's Church
London SW1X 0BD
If eligible, Gift Aid greatly helps. If you need to complete a Gift Aid declaration form, please contact the Church Office.
Lent Appeal funding will help Play for Progress maintain their vital services. They do such amazing work to help the children and young people (refugees and some are asylum seekers) that are referred to the charity. Thank you, Mission Committee.
Lent Book Study 2021: “Living His Story: Revealing the Extraordinary Love of God in Ordinary Ways” by Hannah Steel (The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2021.)
“We are fascinated by stories. Every culture has them, passed on from generation to generation. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the story at the heart of the universe…. This liberating book, ideally suited for Lent reading, suggests many ways of engaging in invitational evangelism. Through exploring accounts of Jesus and his first followers, we discover simple and practical ways of telling the gospel story afresh.”
This Lent we are offering a weekly Book Study Group, led by
Morning Bible Study – 10.30 -11.30am, Thursdays
(25th February 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th March)
Evening Bible Study – 7-8pm, Tuesdays
(23rd February 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd March)
To sign up for attendance at either morning or evening session please contact the Church Office. Please purchase your own copy of the book in advance.
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
Service of Thanksgiving for Margaret Brown, Thursday 18th March 2021, 2pm
We are glad to announce that we will hold a Service of Thanksgiving for St Columba’s elder, the late Margaret Brown on Thursday 18th March, at 2pm. The service will be live-streamed and available via the website in the normal way. Unfortunately, due to current restrictions there will not be in-person attendance.
Zoom Coffee Morning
The St Columba’s Zoom Coffee Mornings have returned for lockdown 3.0. 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. Still to come:
17th March 10.30am Revd Dr David Coulter. Minister at St Andrews, Guernsey give us a talk about ‘God and the Gun’.
24th March 10.30am Dr Anna MacDonald, Head of Relationships for our Lenten Appeal Charity - Play for Progress, tells us about
the charity in more detail.
31st March 10.30am Revd Dorothy Lunn – gives her perspective on St Columba’s, Pont Street and linked charge, St Andrew’s,
St Columba’s Book Club – 12th April 2021, 7.00pm
The next meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will take place on the 12th April at 7pm (via Zoom). April’s book will be “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernadine Evaristo. New members are very much encouraged, please get in touch with the Church Office for more detail.
Historic Chapels Trust Lectures
One of our elders, Jean Stevenson, is a trustee of the Historic Chapels Trust, and has drawn our attention to a number of evening lectures which members of the congregation might find of interest. They can be accessed via the link here http://www.hct.org.uk/
The first talk on 16 March is on "Reading A Quaker Meeting House" where what to look for in a Quaker meeting house will be described, followed by a discussion about Quaker worship.
On 13 April "Dear Pastor, ...but who should I turn to if not the church to which I belong" tells the story of how in the Nazi era, a church in East London (St George's) worked tirelessly to assist Protestant Christians of Jewish descent, flee to England. An aspect which may come out in the lecture, is that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was at one time associated with St George's.
On 23 April "Equiano's Daughter: A glimpse of dissenting England" begins with Henry Bromley (1798-1878) a congregational minister from North London, but goes on to introduce us to his family and his first wife Joanna, who was the daughter of Olaudah Equiano, who was born in Benin, enslaved in the New World and became a free man in the England of Clarkson and Wilberforce.
SCRIPTURE & PRAYER
Prepared by the Congregational Prayer Group
St. Columba’s, Pont Street, & St. Andrew’s, Newcastle.
Sunday 14th March 2021, Fourth Sunday of Lent
Dear Lord, as we journey with you through this solitary and sombre season of Lent, help us to acquire the gifts of compassion and empathy to enable us to help those whose burden is so much heavier than our own.
Scripture Reading: John 3 14-21
14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
Companion poem Celtic cross, Maurice Lindsay
The implication generations made
This symbol of their lives, a stone made light
By what is carved on it, the plaiting masks
But not with involutions of a shade
What a stone says, and what a stone cross asks.
The stone remains, and the cross to let us know
Their unjust hard demands as symbols do
But on them twine and grow beneath the dove
Serpents of wisdom, whose cool statements show
Such understanding that it seems like love.
Dear Lord, we pray to you in this time of Lent, a solitary and thought-provoking time every year but even more so this year. We pray that our faith may be strengthened in breadth and depth. Teach us to learn by example to put our trust in thee and to support those whose burden is heavy. We pray for the minister and people of Colston Milton who have so little and yet offer such a shining example of faith and trust. As we make our own journeys through Lent, help us to be aware of the journey you made so many years ago, knowing of the agony on the cross which awaited you. Help us to help those around us who also have unavoidable sad paths to tread - those who have received a diagnosis of a fatal physical disease, or those who have been told of progressive dementia. Help them and their loved ones to bear these heavy burdens, comforted by the knowledge that you are there for them and have also walked such sad and difficult paths.
Teach us good Lord to serve thee as thou deservest
To give and not to count the cross
To fight and not to heed the wounds
To toil and not to seek for rest
To labour and not to ask for any reward
Save the joy of knowing that we do thy will
We ask you to bless and keep us all till we meet again