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Newsletter- 23rd May 2021


23 may 21 01

Two prayers for us as we approach the weekend. This Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost. Fifty days after Easter, and ten days after Ascension Day, we mark the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples gathered in Jerusalem – sometimes referred to as the birth-day of the Church. A fitting Sunday to celebrate with our friends of the linked charge at St Andrew’s, Newcastle, as they reopen their doors for worship.

23 may 21 02

St Andrew’s, Newcastle community garden.

As the events recorded in Acts 2:1-21 (Sunday’s reading) are disconcerting/astounding, (think typhoons and wildfire), the Holy Spirit/Pentecost prayer is perhaps one we should pray, only if we are prepared to be unsettled.

Come, Holy Spirit,
lamplighter, midwife of change,
comforter, disturber, inspirer, and advocate.

Come, fill the church
with the gifts earth
can neither produce nor afford.

Come, fill our lives
with that rich mixture of peace and restlessness,
calm and enthusiasm,
which are the hallmarks of holiness.

Come, promised Spirit of God,
find your way and make your home among us.
(Prayer for Pentecost, Common Worship)

The outpouring of languages at Pentecost reminds us that from the outset the Church was open to all, regardless of language, ethnicity, gender or status. In line with the Old Testament prophecy of Joel, the Spirit of God was to be poured out on all – old, young, male, female, slave and free. Consequently, all would be capable of summoning the dreams and vision that would be the life of the followers of Christ. What dreams do we hold for our own families of faith?

The second prayer is more specific; it is for the Church of Scotland General Assembly which starts on Saturday 22nd May. (More details below.) Held online for a second year, 756 participants are expected to join together remotely from across Scotland and around the world for the deliberations. At a time when all its representatives - elders, ministers, youth and international representatives - will have felt the weariness and pressures of the pandemic, it is surely right that we hold them in our prayers. They will face some complex issues and potentially make some difficult choices. But, let us hope there will also be precious moments of hopefulness, friendship, truth, beauty, music and laughter – “that rich mixture of peace and restlessness, calm and enthusiasm, which are the hallmarks of holiness.”

Almighty God,
your Son promised his disciples
that he would be with them always.
Hear the prayer we offer for your servants
now to meet in General Assembly.
May your Holy Spirit rest on them:
a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.

Grant them vision and courage;
unite them in love and peace;
teach them to be trustworthy stewards of your truth.
And so guide them in all their doings
that your kingdom may be advanced,
your people confirmed in their most holy faith,
and your unfailing love declared to all the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
(Prayer for the General Assembly, Common Worship)

The proceedings will be live streamed and available for everyone to watch on the Church of Scotland website https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk

Finally, and closer to home, many thanks to all who played a part in marking Christian Aid Week and those who created a very happy Sunday School gathering last Sunday. I’m pretty sure the stones of our beautiful building rejoiced to host those signs of returning life.

And, in advance of Sunday – Happy Birthday!


Attending Morning Worship

If you would like to “book a pew” for the service at St Columba’s please contact the Church Office either by telephone, 0207 584 2321 or email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 3pm on Friday. Booking a place speeds up the test and trace process as you arrive at Church.

Live Streaming of Worship

Services can be watched via the church website, https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/live stream.
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.

Guest Preacher, Revd Forbes Walker

We are delighted that Revd Forbes Walker leads worship at St Columba’s, Pont Street on the next two Sundays (23rd & 30th May) while the minister is away at St Andrew’s, Newcastle and on leave. Graduating from Glasgow University with degrees in Biochemistry and Divinity, Forbes undertook postgraduate study at Princeton University and worked in a PCUSA church in New Jersey for a year. After ordination he was parish minister of Avendale and Drumclog (Strathaven) for 12 years before moving south to be a full-time school chaplain and teacher (chemistry, RS philosophy) in 3 co-ed schools in Berkshire, Kent and London. He is a member of Crown Court and the Presbytery of England. He is currently serving as Interim Moderator of Corby, St Andrew's. Welcome.

Hymns, Music & Readings, 23rd May 2021

Hymn 608: Spirit of truth and grace
Hymn 605: Thanks to God whose word was spoken
Hymn 459: Crown him with many crowns

Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 37: 1-14
New Testament Reading: Acts 2:1-21
Gospel Reading: John 15: 26-27 & John 16:4b-15

Anthem: O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit (Tallis)
Postlude: tbc

Office Hours

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
(Please note that the Church Office will be closed from 12pm on Friday the 28th May to Friday 4th June inclusive)

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.

The Church of Scotland General Assembly 2021

The Church of Scotland General Assembly for 2021 will be held online for a second year. It will open on Saturday 22 May with commissioners and other attendees joining together remotely from across Scotland, England and around the world. St Columba’s commissioners this year are Elizabeth Fox and Peter Mills. Susan Pym will be in the GA Hall all week in her role as Vice Convener of the Procedure Committee.

On Saturday 22 May, there will be an opening session beginning at 10am, which includes the installation of the Moderator. The former Deputy First Minister in the Scottish Executive and church elder, The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC (Jim Wallace) will begin his year-long role of ambassador for the Church of Scotland, succeeding the 2020-21 Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair.

The Lord High Commissioner is the Sovereign's personal representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Lord High Commissioner's role is to maintain the relationship between the State and the Church. The appointee attends the General Assembly as an observer, makes an address, and reports to Her Majesty on its proceedings. The tradition of appointing a Lord High Commissioner began in the late 16th century. Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge and Earl of Strathearn, as the Lord High Commissioner to the 2021 General Assembly and he will be attending in person.

The proceedings will be live streamed and available for everyone to watch on the Church of Scotland website https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk

Borderline Seeking a Trustee

Would you be interested in a Board role with a well-regarded and dynamic charity with a Scots focus? Maybe you also have experience in communications and marketing? If so, we
would love to speak to you! We are on the look-out for a new Trustee, ideally with marketing skills, to join us on the board of Borderline, the City based charity that assists homeless and insecurely housed Scots in London. Contact the Chair for an informal chat, free of any obligation: Jessica Cadzow Collins Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Phone: 07879413091

St Columba’s Coffee Mornings

Tuesday, 8th June 2021- 10.30am - Revd Pauline Steenbergen will join us to talk about Maranatha Yoga. You may want to view their video of the Lord’s Prayer here The Lord’s Prayer 2021 - YouTube. Pauline is a Church of Scotland Minister who has helped to set up Marantha yoga which is a mix of traditional hatha yoga and Christian spirituality. Wednesday, 14th July 2021- 10.30am- Revd William McLaren. William joins us as Associate Minister from Stobswell Church in Dundee. This is a chance to get to know William a little better and for William to introduce himself "virtually" to us all.

Happy Hour

As museums and galleries begin to reopen, Happy Hour’s discussion theme on 2 June at 6.30pm is sharing memorable experiences of Christian Art. You are invited to share a memory of a painting, sculpture or other illustration based on any part of Jesus’ life from Annunciation to Ascension as represented in sculpture, drawing or painting. If you are able to share a picture online, even better, but descriptions are also fine. As always, everyone interested is welcome to join - just email Kate (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) in advance so that you receive the link on the day.

St Columba’s Book Club

The next meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will be the 7th June (via Zoom) at 7pm. This month’s book will be Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell. Family Sunday, 27th June & Congregational Picnic

The Sunday School team are planning for Sunday 27th June 2021. Children will take part in Sunday School Activities and have a get together in the Upper Hall during the Morning Service. If you would like to book a place, please contact the Church Office. It is also hoped that a congregational picnic will follow morning service. Keep the date in mind and look out for more information as a plan comes together.

St Columba’s Quiz

Due to the COVID 19 restrictions we were not able to get together for the annual St Columba’s Quiz. So, this year we have taken the quiz online. The quiz is available on the website here https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/community-life/quiz-2021 - for the answers please email the Church Office.

Meditation, Mind & Body

There are currently two opportunities on offer from Church of Scotland ministers, for those seeking a combination of physical, spiritual and mental health. One from Revd Christopher Rowe, minister of Colston Milton Parish Church, Glasgow and one from Revd Pauline Steenbergen, a member of the Presbytery of England, living in Cumbria.

Tai Chi with Revd Christopher Rowe

St Columba's friend, Reverend Christopher Rowe runs a weekly, 40-minute Capacitar Tai Chi Class by Zoom, usually at 10am on a Wednesday. (If you want to find out more follow this link http://capacitaruk.org/ ).

He has very kindly extended an invitation to anyone from St Columba's or St Andrew’s, Newcastle who is curious about Tai Chi, or wants to try something different, to join his class and have a go. Traditionally, Tai Chi would not have a commentary, it is just about the movement of the body but Christopher adds his own commentary which makes the experience more like a moving meditation. The sessions are gentle and do not involve violent exercise and if necessary can be done sitting down, although the transference of weight helps posture, balance and flexibility. The benefit of Tai Chi is not purely physical though and many find it helpful in boosting mood and mental health. There are claims that it is helpful for those with Parkinson's disease, osteoarthritis etc. - but the main thing is that for many practitioners it simply makes you feel better. For the Zoom Code please contact the Church Office.

Why not try it out and see for yourself? Christopher would love to see you and, if you are struggling with Facebook or the Zoom technology, contact Lucy in the office who is happy to help.

Maranatha Yoga with Revd Pauline Steenbergen

Maranatha Yoga www.maranathayoga.org.ukis for those who want to explore what it means to connect body, mind and spirit through a combination of yoga postures, mantra and meditation. Blended with Christian Spirituality, Maranatha Yoga is accessible to all, no matter what their beliefs or background. It allows space to explore what it means to connect with all parts of our human experience: our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts and our spiritual selves. A typical Maranatha Yoga class begins with words of welcome to help people relax, set aside their daily worries and focus on the aims of the session. This is followed by a warm-up sequence which celebrates the wonder of our creation. Traditional yoga postures are then practised whilst reflecting on key scriptural texts or prayers, thereby familiarising us with the words and creating within us a deeper understanding of their meaning. The session finishes with a time in silent meditation and a closing prayer.

Pauline Steenbergen has been a Church of Scotland minister for 24 years in parishes, team ministries and as a Locum. She was formerly Hospice Chaplain for 5 years in Eden Valley
Hospice and Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice. She is a Spiritual Director in the Diocese of Carlisle since 2013. Pauline is a Non- Stipendiary Pioneer minster with Cumbria Fresh
Expressions in the Diocese of Carlisle and is Maranatha Yoga Team Leader. Pauline is scheduled to speak at our Zoom Coffee morning in June. [See www.limegreenyogi.co.uk for Pauline’s classes on Zoom during the week or also Maranatha Yoga Gatherings on 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month 3.30 – 4.30pm. Free or for donations. Health Questionnaires need to be filled in and submitted before Zoom codes are given out for insurance reasons.]

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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