For Sunday 2nd May 2021, 5th Sunday of Easter
The photo above was sent to me this morning, with the words: “Today’s sermon!” i.e., Stop, Look, Listen. On the same morning, author Michael Morpurgo spoke on radio about the genesis of his new book, The Song of Gladness.
This time last year, at the start of the first lockdown he was feeling anxious and sad. Early one morning, while in his vegetable patch, a blackbird joined him. The bird sang. Morpurgo whistled back. There was a connection. The next day when Morpurgo came out, the bird was waiting for him. He felt the bird and its song had a message for him. As the author recounted: “What did I need? I needed song, I needed gladness, I needed the world out there, that is wild, the world that I do love, but probably didn’t pay enough attention to, like most of us. So, I thought, follow that song, follow where that song goes, take it around the world and bring it back to that vegetable garden.”
The moment proved to be a catalyst. Morpurgo wrote the story in a morning. Spanning a blackbird in a Devon garden, to leopards in the African savanna, hibernating bears and chimpanzees high in the forest canopy, A Song of Gladness is a reminder of our connection with nature and with each other, and the urgent need for us to join together in caring for the planet and every creature in it.
The next day Morpurgo read it to the blackbird, “who sang afterwards his applause.”
“Stop, Look, Listen.” Another voice that really understands the land and seeks to faithfully steward it, is that of Cumbrian shepherd, James Reebanks. In his autobiography, ‘The Shepherd’s Life’, Reebanks gives the reader three rules to cover his work as a shepherd:
“First rule of shepherding – it’s not about you,
it’s about the sheep and the land.
Second rule – sometimes you can’t win.
Third rule – shut up and go and do the work!”
As one Church of Scotland preacher asked last week: “Could they stand as three rules for the Christian life?”
See you on Sunday,
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.
Hymns, Music & Readings, 5th Sunday of Easter:
Hymn 415 This joyful Eastertide (Vruechten)
Hymn 716 Come and find the quiet centre (Lewis Folk Melody)
Hymn 248 For my sake and the Gospel’s, go (Bishopgarth)
New Testament Readings: Acts 8:26-40 & I John: 4:7-21
Gospel Reading: John 15:1-8
Anthem: Jesu, the very thought of thee (Bairstow)
Organ Postlude: Voluntary in D minor for Double Organ (Purcell)
Contact details;Tel: 020 7584 2321
Facebook: @stcolumbaschurchpontstreet. Twitter: @LondonKirk
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271
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
Christian Aid Week - 10 to 16 May 2021
Due to the current Covid 19 restrictions we are unable to do station collections. We can still be involved and support Christian Aid by making a donation directly to them, via their website or by post.
The focus for this year’s Christian Aid Week is on the terrible effect climate change is having in Kenya, causing dreadful droughts and then occasionally severe flooding. Donations will be used to build more earth dams that will capture and retain fresh rainwater. People are walking miles to fetch water in containers. Lives will be transformed if earth dams could be constructed close to local communities, funding is needed to do that.
Zoom Coffee Morning: Wednesday 12 May.
We are delighted that Ben Selfe, Church Engagement Officer and Fundraising Officer, Christian Aid, will be joining the virtual coffee morning. Please contact the Church Office for the Zoom link.
Water is such a precious commodity: Every Last Drop.
Click on Donate button for card payments.
Cheques payable to Christian Aid (+ note to say it is for Christian Aid Week)
Please post direct to:
Christian Aid Week
35 Lower Marsh Street
London SE1 7RL
Celebrating 75 Years Anniversary: Real people. Real Change.
Thank you for helping some of the world’s poorest people.
The next Happy Hour session will take place on Wednesday 5 May at 6.30pm, via Zoom. Michael Stevenson will lead our discussion on the role of office bearers within the Church of Scotland, drawing on his many years of experience as our former Session Clerk.
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.
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.
Meditation, Mind & Bod
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 Colton 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 http://www.maranathayoga.org.uk/ is 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.