Newsletter – 21st March 2021
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 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:
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
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
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
REFLECTION & POINTS FOR PRAYER
Prepared by the Congregational Prayer Group
St. Columba’s, Pont Street, & St. Andrew’s, Newcastle.
Sunday 21st March 2021, 5th Sunday of Lent
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.
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