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Newsletter – 26th March 2021


“A flight of crossess,” Ian Gillespie, St Andrew’s, Newcastle

26th march21

This Sunday is special in various ways. In the Christian calendar it marks the beginning of Holy Week, stretching from Palm Sunday to Easter morning. It is the sacred ground covering the events of Jesus’ final days – Last Supper, Gethsemane, arrest, trial, torture, Cross, tomb – and beyond.

This Sunday also marks the first opportunity for people to return to worship in person at the 11am service. As previously publicised, the Kirk Session decided that from Sunday 28th March we could undertake a cautious reopening of the building for Sunday worship, with those wishing to attend booking their places, via the church office. All of us in the building will need to observe the now familiar etiquette of social distancing, mask wearing – and perhaps most challenging of all - resisting the temptation to have a good chinwag/catch-up. We strive to maintain these guidelines for the greater and longer-term benefit of all.

Whether you are in church or attending via the live-stream/dial-in, what can you expect on Sunday and in Holy Week? On Sunday we will begin with the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem on the donkey. From there we will move on to a Reading of the Passion story (the account in Mark’s Gospel.) We rarely hear the whole drama, uninterrupted. This is a Sunday simply to allow the power of the gospel to speak to us. We also welcome back Dr Anna MacDonald, co-founder of our Lent Charity, Play for Progress. Anna gave a remarkable talk on Wednesday to the Zoom Coffee Morning gathering, powerfully outlining the need for the charity and the work it undertakes.

We have been incredibly fortunate with some of the offerings that have been made towards Lent this year. A fascinating variety of Wednesday morning speakers, Bible readings from church members’ homes, prayers composed and shared by the congregational prayer group, the insights and experiences discussed in the Lent Study groups, the powerful film meditations from Revd Christopher Rowe in Colston Milton and music recorded by the choir. https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/lent-and-easter All aids to the Lenten journey.

Just as music often reaches the parts words cannot, it is often the artist who unveils something of beauty or draws attention to things we might otherwise overlook. Two examples: Firstly, the online exhibition of Louise Haywood-Schiefer’s portraits and interviews with chaplains in the time of COVID. I am so happy that Louise has chosen to launch her project in collaboration with Holy Week at St Columba’s.

26 march21 2

Do take time to visit her exhibition. Her images and words are accompanied by daily verses from the psalms to help our prayers and meditations. Via the live stream there are acts of worship offered from St Columba’s on each day of Holy Week which can be viewed from 9am each day. Please note, the Maundy Thursday Communion (8pm) and Good Friday Service (11am) are live-stream only i.e. no in-person attendance.

The second artist offering comes from St Andrew’s, Newcastle member Ian Gillespie. Ian, who celebrated his most recent birthday with a telegram from the Palace, is truly a man of many parts. Just one of those is silversmith. “Flight of crosses” (see above) illustration of his craft.

26 march21 326 march21 4

The two individual crosses further illustrate his skill. The left hand one is modelled on one of Iona’s historic Celtic crosses and was made for a family member on the occasion of his induction as a minister of the Church of Scotland. Ian asked a teacher on Iona to visit the old quarry and find a suitably shaped piece of Iona Marble. Ian visualised the marble piece as depicting the Island where Columba landed. Back in the North East of England Ian got a local man who makes marble fireplaces to cut the flat base to the marble and drill a slot to take the cross.

The right hand cross was made for former minister of St Columba’s and St Andrew’s, Newcastle, Revd Barry Dunsmore. In 2007 he celebrated his 25th anniversary of his induction as a minister in the Church of Scotland. Barry’s wife, Hilda commissioned Ian to create the pectoral cross. Its design – cross and St Andrew’s cross – echoes the cross that tops the tower at Pont Street.

See you on Sunday, Angus

Live Streaming of Worship– 11am, Sunday 28th 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 78 Oh, set ye open unto me (Southwark)
Hymn 367 Hosanna, loud hosanna (Ellacombe)
Hymn 365 Ride on (Winchester New)

Mark 11:1-11, Jesus enters Jerusalem.
Reading of the Passion from the Gospel of Mark.
Philippians 2:5-11, The mind of Christ.

Anthem ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ (Hutchings)
Organ Postlude Fugue in C Major (Buxtehude)

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.

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 – Last in current series

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: 31st March 10.30am Revd Dorothy Lunn talks about “An almost 300 year journey in faith- links to St Columba’s Pont Street”.

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.

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

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.

Prayers and Reflections for Palm Sunday,
28th March 2021, 6th Sunday of Lent

Prepared by Congregational Prayer Group

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
And his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100

Opening prayer
“Heavenly Father, I pray that this day I may live in your presence and please you more and more.

Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
John Stott

Gospel Reading from The Message: Mark 11: 1-11
When they were nearing Jerusalem…..he sent off two of his disciples with instructions: “You’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never yet been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘The Master needs him, and will return him right away.’”
They went and found a colt tied to a door…and untied it. Some of those standing there said, “What are you doing untying that colt?” The disciples replied exactly what Jesus had instructed them, and the people let them alone. They brought the colt to Jesus, spread their coats on it, and he mounted. (Mark 11:1-7)

Ponder and reflect:

  • What can we learn from Jesus in this passage?
  • Why would Jesus tell them to take the colt?
  • Were the owners willing for them to take it?
  • How did Jesus know they would be willing?

The people gave him a wonderful welcome, some throwing their coats on the street, others spreading out rushes they had cut in the fields. Running ahead and following after, they were calling out,
Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!
Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David!
Hosanna in highest heaven! (Mark 11:8-11)

He entered Jerusalem, then entered the Temple. He looked around, taking it all in. But by now it was late, so he went back to Bethany with the Twelve.

Ponder and reflect:

  • What is the significance of Jesus entering Jerusalem like this? • How did the crowd react?
  • What is the significance of palm branches?

Shout and cheer, Daughter Zion!
Raise the roof, Daughter Jerusalem!
Your King is coming!
A good king who makes all things right,
A humble king riding a donkey,
A mere colt of a donkey. (Zechariah 9: 9)


  • May our church be a place of rest, truth and love - full of God’s grace and power.
    That we would be a church of inclusivity and that all would feel welcome.
  • Forgive us when we categorise people; thank you that you are a God of all nationalities and ethnicities; we can all come to you on an equal footing.
  • We ask that we will depend more and more on you; that you will be our firm cornerstone, that you will be a treasure in our hearts; that we will not be shaken in this climate of uncertainty, and by so doing, we will show and share love, compassion and grace to those
    around us.

* Help us to pray for the storms we face which include:
* Global infirmity, particularly for those in our own congregation who suffer ill health.
*Economic instability, including those who have lost their jobs and face an uncertain future.
*Children and young people who have suffered enormously throughout this past year.
*Political incivility - give our politicians and police force godly wisdom, strength and clarity.
*Racial inequality - give us all a renewed commitment to our common life together.
*Social invisibility - the homeless, the elderly, the lonely, the hungry.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer for Holy Week:
Merciful God, as we enter Holy week, turn our hearts again to Jerusalem, and to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Stir up within us the gift of faith that we may not only praise him with our lips but may follow him in the way of the cross. In Jesus name, Amen (John Paarlberg)

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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