Newsletter – 28th February 2021
We are now well into the first full week of Lent. Last Sunday, the Lent Appeal on behalf of Play for Progress www.playforprogress.org was launched by the charity’s co-founder, Dr Anna MacDonald, outlining the work with unaccompanied minor refugees and asylum seekers. She spoke about the importance of giving stability to children who have often experienced trauma of various kinds, have very few adults who they can trust, and operating far from home, in English, which may be their third or fourth language. Anna reminded us of the importance of having someone to speak up for them, especially when interacting with the care and legal systems, as well as the joy that emerges from their music and creativity. The Appeal Tree, prepared by the Mission Committee, at the front of the sanctuary, is a reminder of the season and opportunity to respond.
Elsewhere, the Lent Study groups have begun and there are some lovely weekly resources on the website https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/lent-and-easter – e.g.the Sunday gospel read by church members in their own homes, prayer resources from the congregational prayer group, a weekly anthem from the choir, and the film meditations from Colston Milton minister, Rev Christopher Rowe. All invitations to “take something up” and journey more deeply into this season. In times of continuing uncertainty and restriction, I hope they
will provide – in the phrase of one discussion group member
– “pockets of hopefulness.”
One “pocket of hopefulness” were the discussions undertaken by the Out of Lock Down Working Group this week. In the light of the
Government’s “road map” out of lock down, the group has put its proposal to the Kirk Session. The recommendation is for a cautious (i.e., restricted numbers) re-opening for attended, in-person worship from Palm Sunday onwards (Sunday 28th March 2021.) Once the Kirk Session has had the opportunity to confirm/adapt/counter the proposal, we will publicise detail as widely and fully as possible. My sense is that though Lent, and possibly Holy Week, may be very different from the norm, there are also things that can be deeply shared, even if not face to face. For our long term good, please continue to be prayerful and patient, as well as hopeful and helpful, as we walk the pilgrim way to Jerusalem.
See you on Sunday,
Live Streaming of Worship– 11am, Sunday 28th 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 162 The God of Abraham praise (Leoni)
Hymn 402 Take up your cross. the Saviour said (Breslau)
Hymn 192 All my hope on God is founded (Michael)
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
New Testament Reading: Romans 4:13-25
Gospel Reading: Mark 8:27-38
Anthem: Agnus Dei (Thomas Morley)
Organ Postlude: Praeludium in E minor (Nicolaus Bruhns)
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
Private Prayer, Friday 5th March 2021
If you wish to come into the sanctuary for prayer during the week, please contact the Office to arrange a suitable time.
World Day of Prayer
This year’s World Day of Prayer Service has been prepared by the women of the Republic of Vanuatu (located in the South Pacific Ocean). The World Day of Prayer is an international, inter-church organisation which organises a day of prayer across the world every year on the first Friday of March.
The committee of the Chelsea and South Kensington branch of the World Day of Prayer have been challenged by this year’s events and have decided to postpone a service in this area with the hope of being able to hold one later on in the spring. Some branches are managing to stream services. If you are interested in finding out more go to WDP website: wwdp.org.uk for further information or go to the link below. Find a World Day of Prayer Service 2021
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 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.
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 – 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.
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:
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 aboutthe 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.
REFLECTION & POINTS FOR PRAYER
(based on Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Mark 8:31-38; Romans 4:13-25)
Prepared by the Congregational Prayer Group
St. Columba’s, Pont Street, & St. Andrew’s, Newcastle.
Sunday 28th February 2021, Second Sunday of Lent
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, you reached into Abraham and Sarah's lives
and asked them to dream the impossible dream—
that you would transform what appears to have been
a barren and lifeless situation
into one overflowing with promise and hope—
and, through faith in you, they believed your promises.
Forgive us, O God,
if we never get beyond thinking of your call on our lives
as an impossible dream or even as an unwelcome interruption.
the apostle Paul emphasizes Abraham's complete trust and faith
in your promises
and how he grew ever stronger in faith,
fully convinced of your ability to fulfil what had been promised.
Forgive us, O God,
when we find it hard even to hear your promises
above commercial assurances of transformation—
promises tempting us to trust the newest
and trendiest product to realize our dreams.
Jesus revealed the great depth of your love
in his determination to defeat evil
even when this meant giving up his own life.
Forgive us, O God,
when we allow the power of evil to flourish
because we fear that taking up one's cross
would be just too costly an exercise.
Gracious and loving God
forgive our lack of trust in you;
have mercy on us and forgive us.
Help us when we hesitate,
and strengthen us when we are weak.
Breathe your Spirit afresh into our hearts and minds - our lives -
so that we have the courage to follow Jesus
wherever he takes us. Amen.
Assurance of Forgiveness
Faith was reckoned as righteousness...to us who believe
in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
who was handed over to death because of our sins
and was raised for the sake of our righteousness. (Based on Romans 4:20-25)
Hear and believe these words about God's amazing grace,
grace experienced through Jesus' sacrificial love,
as forgiveness of sins. Amen
Thanks be to God!
Prayers for others
O Lord, we give you thanks for the example of Abraham
and for all the saints who have gone before us –
for those who waited in patience for your promises to come to pass –
for those who lived in hope
while around them it seemed to be only darkness,
for those who witnessed to you
when it was not considered the proper thing to do,
for those who forgot their own selves
in their desire to obey your commands
and respond to your call upon their lives.
Help us today, O God, to examine the level of our faith –
to look seriously at our resistance
to talk about the cross and about sacrifice;
and to consider in prayer our reluctance
to give up the things of this world –
to risk our reputations, our comfort, and our security
for the sake of following you –
for the sake of witnessing to you –
for the sake of obeying you ....
Lord, hear our prayer, and in your love, answer.
We pray, O Lord, that you would make us bold in our faith.
By our self-forgetting, our self-denial,
help us make visible to all our brothers and sisters
the reality of your power and care –
that power and care that is so often made evident
when we confess our weakness –
and so often concealed from others, when we are strong....
Lord, hear our prayer, and in your love, answer.
We pray, O Lord, for those people
whose names, or faces, or needs are resting upon our hearts –
for the members of our church whose health is failing as they age –
for those believers whose families
are struggling to deal with teenage rebellion
and adult confusion and uncertainty –
for those who have little or no faith and who seem to be lost
even though your light shines around them
and your word is close to hand....
Lord, hear our prayer, and in your love, answer.
We pray, O Lord, for those in our family,
our church, our community and our world
that you bring to our hearts and minds at this time –
and we hold them up to you with the words of our lips...
All these things we pray to, through your Son Jesus,
who died that we might live,
and who lives that we might never die. Amen.
A Sending forth, for the Second Sunday of Lent
Go, in God’s power that moves through acts of faith.
Open your ear to God’s divine revelations.
Depend on God, who is wise beyond the laws of this land.
Do all of these things,
so that all that is right and good
permeates each day until we meet again.