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Newsletter – 21st March 2021


news 21 03 21

This Sunday is sometimes known as Passion Sunday. On the fifth Sunday in Lent  the shadow of the Cross lengthens, as we consider the story and event that is at the  heart of Christian faith. This week the American writer Debie Thomas voices our  reluctance to confront this hardest part of our faith: 

“In my own life, I often flinch away from the Jesus of the Passion — the vulnerable,  broken Jesus — because I want a muscular, superhero Jesus instead. I want the  dramatic rescue, the quick save. I don’t want to learn the discipline of waiting at the  tomb, in the shadowed place, in the realm where my questions far outnumber the  answers. I am impatient for resurrection, and scorn everything that comes before it. I  don’t think I’m alone in this struggle; many of us wrestle with the Jesus of Holy  Week, because he looks so different from what we expect in a  Saviour.” (www.journeywithjesus.net

To reflect upon faith in hard times – and to encourage – we can look forward to the  forthcoming Keeping the Faith: London Chaplains in the Time of Covid. The online  exhibition includes portrait photography and accompanying words from twenty  chaplains (or clergy) who have been ministering in a wide variety of places  throughout the last twelve months. I am delighted that following the visit of  photographer Louise Haywood-Schieffer to Pont Street she agreed to share her work, in collaboration with St Columba’s, as part of our Holy Week prayer and meditation.  

We are so grateful to her. I hope the artist’s eye and the reflections of others will open us to new understandings, new compassion and new challenge. Louise’s creativity will accompany the  daily acts of worship offered via the live-stream throughout Holy Week. 

Please continue to enjoy the various Lent resources already on the Lent  & Easter webpage https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/lent-and-easter – readings and  prayers prepared by members of the congregation, anthems by the choir and the  film meditations of Reverend Christopher Rowe of Colston Milton Parish  (Glasgow.)  

Finally, this Sunday marks a year of live-stream services. Time to acknowledge the  incredible original efforts made by our friend Richard Jolly to install the equipment  hours before Lock Down I came into effect. It has been such a gift to us since then.  So, an anniversary salute, to the “unseen technicians” who make it all happen week  by week – Richard Jolly, Liz Fox, Hugh Pym, Lucy Llewellyn, Paul Dempsey and  Sheila Nicoll.  

See you on Sunday, 


Live Streaming of Worship– 11am, Sunday 21st 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 39 God the Lord, the King Almighty (Hyfrydol) 
Hymn 401 Tree of life and awesome mystery (Thomas) 
Hymn 514 Onward! Christian soldiers (St Gertrude) 

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34 
New Testament Reading: Hebrews 5:5-10 
Gospel Reading: John 12:20-33 

Anthem: A new commandment (R. Shephard) 
Organ Postlude: Fugue in B Flat Major (G.F. Handel) 

Office Hours  

Office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. The Church Office is currently being  manned from home.  

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 

Private Prayer 

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.

Fundraiser Presentation:
Video from the creation of our recent 'roots and branches' exhibition.


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
Pont Street
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 – 10.30 -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. 

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.

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 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,  Newcastle and the road to Easter. 

Happy Hour – Wednesday 7th April, 6.30pm 

The next Happy Hour session will take place by Zoom on Wednesday 7 April at  6.30pm. Our discussion theme is Sunday Trading and will be led by Elder Roderick  Buchanan. Roderick has worked in both the supermarket and museum worlds and  will consider attitudes to Sunday trading and changes over the past 20 years in both  sectors, from the viewpoint of a regular churchgoer. Do please come and join us.  Email Kate, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be sent the Zoom link on the day. 

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. 

Funeral of Stewart Fleming – Friday 26th March, 11.45am 

The funeral of Mr Stewart Fleming will take place on Friday 26th March at 11.45am.  We hope to have details of attending “virtually” in coming days. Please contact the  Church Office for details. Stewart was the resident caretaker at St Columba’s  between 1999-2013 and a great friend to many. Please keep Ellen and the family in  your prayers. 

Service of Thanksgiving for Margaret Brown 

For those who were unable to attend the service for Margaret Brown on Thursday it  is possible to view the service via the church website https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/special-services 

Historic Chapels Trust 

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. 

Scotscare Sheltered Housing 

Scotscare, the charity for Scots in London currently has sheltered housing vacancies  available at Rothesay Court, Grove Park, London. The accommodation provides  supported living for Scots over 55, or over 50 living with a disability. Allocations are  made on a priority system ensuring those most in need receive the housing they  require. If you know someone or you yourself are interested in the accommodation  please contact Scotscare directly on 0800 652 2989 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to  find out more.  

Prepared by the Congregational Prayer Group
St. Columba’s, Pont Street, & St. Andrew’s, Newcastle.
Sunday 21st March 2021, 5th Sunday of Lent

Opening Prayer

Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all his benefits.

Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us all from sin and death. Breathe upon us with the power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ, and serve you in holiness and righteousness all our days. Send out your light and your truth to be our guide; let them lead us to your holy hill, to your dwelling place. Amen.

Scripture Reading John 12. vv20-36
The Request of the Greeks

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him “Sir, we should like to see Jesus”. So Philip went and told Andrew, and the two of them went to tell Jesus. Then Jesus replied: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. In truth, in very truth I tell you, a grain of wheat remains a solitary grain unless it falls into the ground and dies; but if it dies, it bears a rich harvest. The man who loves himself is lost, but he who hates himself in this world will be kept safe for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; where I am, my servant will be. Whoever serves me will be honoured by my Father.
“Now my soul is in turmoil, and what am I to say? Father , save me from this hour. No, it was for this that I came to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” A voice sounded from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by said it was thunder, while others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus replied, “This voice spoke for your sake, not mine. Now is the hour of judgement for this world; now shall the Prince of this world be driven out. And I shall draw all men to myself when I am lifted up from the earth.” This he said to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
The people answered, “Our Law teaches us that the Messiah continues for ever. What do you mean by saying that that the Son of Man must be lifted up? What Son of Man is this? Jesus answered them: “The light is among you still, but not for long. Go on your way while you have the light, so that darkness may not overtake you. He who journeys in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, trust to the light, so that you may become men of light.” After these words Jesus went away from them into hiding.

With Thee there is Light

O God, early in the morning do I cry unto Thee.
Help me to pray and to think only of Thee.
I cannot pray alone.
In me there is darkness,
but with Thee there is light.

I am lonely
but Thou leavest me not.
I am feeble in heart,
but Thou leavest me not.
I am restless,
but with Thee there is peace.
In me there is bitterness,
but with Thee there is patience.
Thy ways are past understanding,
but Thou knowest the way for me.
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

O heavenly Father, help us to listen and act, to put into practice that which you taught, both at our day’s work and at our instructions in the faith. Help us to remember that words are poor things without deeds, and that faith without works is dead. We thank you for the dedication to your church of our elders recently named after 30 years of loyal service. May we follow their example and join in the instruction at their ordination to be servants of Christ Jesus, and to share the ministry of love to all people. May we all “get out and do good” (Rt Rev. Dr. Martin Fair) and be amongst those who “look to God [and] are radiant with joy”. Amen


Lord, we thank Thee for this place; in which we dwell;
for the love that unites us;
for the peace accorded to us this day;
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth, and our friendly helpers.
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

May the love of the Lord Jesus,
draw us to himself;
May the power of the Lord Jesus
strengthen us in his service;
May the joy of the Lord Jesus
fill our souls. Amen
(William Temple)

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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