Newsletter – 14th February 2021
Outside, the sky was almost brown The clouds were hanging low.
Then all of a sudden it happened:
The air was full of snow.
The children rushed to the windows. The teacher let them go,
Though she teased them for their foolishness.
After all, it was only snow.
It was only snow that was falling,
Only out of the sky,
Only onto the turning earth
Before the blink of an eye.
What else could it do from up here,
But fall in its usual way?
It was only weather, really.
What else could you say?
The teacher sat at her desk
Putting ticks in a little row,
While the children stared through the steamy glass
At the only snow.
Only Snow, by poet Allan Ahlberg and a snowbound scene (photo) from Northumberland, courtesy of Irene Wilkinson, Session Clerk of St Andrew’s, Newcastle, point to a memorable week of weather. Snow is not without its headaches, but it can be the bringer of great beauty and revived playfulness – think snowballs and sledging! Amid the repetitive nature of lockdown days, The teacher sat at her desk/ Putting ticks in a little row, poet and school children remind us about astonishment, delight, wonder, as well as gratitude, While the children stared through the steamy glass /At the only snow - qualities that are at the heart of worship and prayer.
This week, our friend Rev Alistair Cumming leads us in worship up the mountain of the Transfiguration. In the church calendar this is the last Sunday after Epiphany before curtain-up for the first Sunday in Lent (21st February.) Currently, there is a lot of preparation going on to make resources and activities available for Lent; more details next week.
In the meantime, you may wish to look at the website of Play for Progress, www.playforprogress.org this year’s chosen charity for the Lent Appeal. There is still time to sign up for the Lent Study Groups which will discuss “Living His Story: Revealing the Extraordinary Love of God in Ordinary Ways” by Hannah Steel (The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2021) and Lucy’s Zoom Coffee Mornings continue with thoughts for Lent on Ash Wednesday (17th February.) There are resources for prayer in this week’s newsletter and thanks to the congregational prayer group there will be additional prayer resources available each week in Lent. So, thanks to the efforts of numerous people, I hope we will all find ways to make Lent a special and profound time – and discover it as “a joyful preparation for Easter.”
See you on (next) Sunday,
This week’s preacher- Revd Alistair Cumming
Whilst Angus takes a well-earned Sunday off from the pulpit, Revd Alistair Cumming steps in. Alistair is currently the Presbytery Clerk of the Presbytery of England and a well
known face to many at Pont St. He is an Auxiliary Minister which means he has a full time "day job", as Head of Learning & Development at Lidl GB. Alistair was ordained into ministry 9 years ago. He served for 4 years in the ministry team here, before taking on the role of Presbytery Clerk.
Live Streaming of Worship– 11am, Sunday 14th February 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 132 Immortal, invisible, God only wise (St Denio)
Hymn 355 You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd (Triumph)
Hymn 474 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed (Es Ist Ein Ros’Entsprungen)
Old Testament Readings: II Kings 2:1-12
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:2-9
Anthem: O Lord, increase my faith (O. Gibbons)
Organ Postlude: Now thank we all our God (S. Karg-Elert)
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): 07591926271
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: museumofcroydon.com/roots-branches-main
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. Send to:
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 the Minister:
Morning Bible Study – 10-11am, 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
St Columba’s Book Club – 22nd February 2021, 7.00pm
The February meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will take place on the 22nd February at 7pm (via Zoom). This month’s book will be “Honour” by Elif Shafak. New members are very much encouraged, please get in touch with the Church Office for more detail.
Happy Hour – 3rd March 2020, 6.30pm
Wednesday 3rd March is the 10th anniversary of the very first meeting of Happy Hour, which was led by Alistair Cumming in a City pub, with a pool table in the background! We are delighted Alistair will return to join us on 3rd March at 6.30pm for our Zoom session and we extend a particular welcome to other former participants who may want to come and say hello again and hear Alistair’s reflections. Andrea and Neil Price hope to attend and of course newcomers are always welcome too.
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. This week we enjoyed the insights of Rev Jane Taylor on icons and prayer. Still to come:
17th February 10.30am Revd Angus MacLeod will lead us into Lent with a talk about Ash Wednesday.
24th February 10.30am Jeni and Ian Rutherford talk about their time at St Andrew’s Church, Jerusalem
3rd March 10.30am TBC
10th March 11.00am Revd Christopher Rowe, Minister at Colston Milton Church in Glasgow talks about his ministry and parish
17th March 10.30am TBC
24th March 10.30am TBC
31st March 10.30am TBC
The St Columba’s Magazine continues to be published though the pandemic. 2021 subscriptions are now due. If you would like to renew your subscription or take out a new one, please get in touch with the Church Office.
SCRIPTURE & PRAYER for TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY
ST COLUMBA’S, PONT STREET & ST ANDREW’S, NEWCASTLE
Prepared by Congregational Prayer Group
Collect of the day
Father in Heaven,
whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured
before chosen witnesses upon the Holy Mountain
and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem:
give us strength so to hear his voice and bear our cross
that in the world to come
we may see him as he is,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me upon a rock. (Psalm 27:4-5)
O God, our Father,
we know that by ourselves we can do nothing.
If we try to face our work by ourselves, we collapse beneath our burdens and our responsibilities. Our bodies become exhausted; our minds grow weary; our nerves are tensed beneath the strain.
If we try to face our temptation by ourselves, the fascination of the wrong things is too strong. Our resistance is defeated, and we do the things we know that we should never do, because we cannot help it.
If we try to face our sorrows by ourselves, there is nothing to heal the wound upon our hearts, nothing to dry the fountain of our tears, nothing to comfort the loneliness which is more than we can bear.
If we try to face our problems by ourselves, we cannot see the right way; and, even when we see it, we cannot take it; and, even when we take it, we cannot follow it to the end.
If we try to rid ourselves of faults by ourselves, we are for ever defeated; the same sins conquer us; and we are never any farther on.
We know our need. Life has taught us that we cannot walk alone. So be with us to help, to guide, to comfort, to sustain, that in all the chances of life, whatever light may shine or shadow fall, we may meet life with steady eyes, and walk, in wisdom and in strength, in purity and in joy, in the way everlasting, until we reach our journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (William Barclay)
Lord God we give you thanks that we are still able as a congregation to come together virtually to praise and worship You. We give You thanks for our Minister as he tends to us, as he leads and guides us, week by week.
We pray for all those in our congregation, thinking especially of those who are sick and of those who are anxious. We give You thanks for the skill and dedication of our doctors and nurses and for our scientists who bring us hope of brighter times ahead. Reassure us Lord of Your Love and let us feel Your comfort and know Your presence with us. Amen
Lord God Almighty,
I charge thee of thy great mercy
and by the token of thy holy rood
that thou guide me to thy will and to my soul’s need
better than I can myself,
that above all things
I may inwardly love thee
with a clean mind and a clean body;
for thou art my Maker, my Help and my Hope:
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Alfred the Great)