Newsletter – 21st February 2021
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. At this morning’s Zoom Coffee Morning, discussion centred on, what is Lent for? And, how should we participate in Lent? The consensus was that for the majority of those raised Church of Scotland, Lent played very little part in people’s upbringing or faith journey. Historically, there was an unfortunate presumption that Lent was in some way “suspicious;” something done “by Episcopalians and Roman Catholics!” Fortunately, we are generally more open to other traditions these days.
Rather than seeing Lent as a half-hearted giving up, of chocolate, or something similar, it could be viewed as a time to take up something. Traditionally the principal spiritual disciplines of Lent are prayer, alms-giving and fasting. So, Lent could be about giving space and time for God – either through reading or prayer, “alms-giving or fasting.”
There is a selection of ways to journey towards Easter this year. This week church members should receive the Lent Congregational Pastoral letter, with prayer and scripture resources. Please also take time to visit the church website, with its specific Lent & Easter page https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/lent-and-easter. The congregational prayer group offer some prayer resources each week and on Sunday we will hear from Dr Anna MacDonald about the work of Play for Progress, this year’s Lent charity. And I would certainly recommend trying the film meditations on the gospel, prepared by Rev Christopher Rowe, from his parish of Colston Milton. These are small ways to help us treat each of the next
forty days as significant ones.
To launch the way, here is the gospel set for Ash Wednesday, set this year, followed by a prayer from the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Gospel Reading for Ash Wednesday
‘Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[a]
5‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16 ‘And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
A prayer for Lent
Today we set out to walk towards Easter
To the cross and eventually to an empty tomb.
As we travel, open our senses, we pray,
To what you would have us see and hear and taste along the way And all that Jesus might come more clearly into sight.
Our desire is just that;
To see him more clearly
That we might love him more dearly and follow him more nearly. Amid the talk of giving things up for Lent,
Forgive us for ways in which we have trivialised spiritual
And lead us to what you would have us take up for Lent
And not least that desire for more of Jesus.
As we travel, shape our souls by your Spirit
And inspire our living by your Word.
We pray in Jesus' name, Amen
(Revd Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of Scotland.)
See you on Sunday,
Live Streaming of Worship– 11am, Sunday 21st 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 482 Come let us to the Lord our God (Kilmarnock)
Hymn 337 Forty days and forty nights (Aus der Tiefe)
Hymn 172 Sing for God’s glory (Lobe Den Herren)
Old Testament Readings: Genesis 9:8-17
New Testament Reading: I Peter 3:13-22
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:9-15
Anthem: Anthem: Drop, drop slow tears (Gibbons)
Organ Postlude: “Fiddle” Fugue in d minor (J. S. Bach)
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmZAyqwyUM0&t=1s
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. 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. Still to come:
24th February 10.30am Jeni and Ian Rutherford talk about their time at St Andrew’s Church, Jerusalem
3rd March 10.30am David Natzler former Clerk to the House of Commons talks about the last decade- a Westminster perspective.
10th March 10.30am 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 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 TBC
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.