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Newsletter – 31st January 2021


“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24

In the first of this season’s Coffee Morning Zoom talks, St Columba’s elder, Kate McNish enlightened attenders about the amazing world of bees. From a Church of Scotland blog this week came further input about creating a Bee Water Station. Bees need water, especially on hot days to supplement the pollen and the nectar. They use it for their digestion. In addition, it is used in the hive to dilute the honey to the right constituency and to cool down the hive when it becomes hot. This is achieved by an appropriate flapping of wings. Bees are susceptible to drowning in bird baths and garden ponds. So, they need shallow water and an easy way to access it. Placing stones, as suitable landing spots, in a terracotta dish fits the bill. The bees work extremely hard, flying at 16 miles per hour and flapping their wings 230 times per second. A summer worker bee only lives for 6 weeks and only goes out foraging for the last 3 weeks of her life. In that time, going out every day to forage all the daylight hours, she will bring home enough nectar to make just one twelfth of a teaspoonful of honey.

In the ‘Dictionary of Christian Art’, the beehive was ‘a symbol for the Christian church as a unified community where all worked with diligence and harmony to spread the honeyed
words of the gospel.’ As the blog’s author said: “Something worth aspiring to, and to bee!”

Keep well and safe. Have a good week and see you on Sunday.


Live Streaming of Worship (Holy Communion) – 11am, Sunday 31st January 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.

Holy Communion

This Sunday we celebrate Holy Communion. If you wish, please prepare a little bread and wine, (or equivalent), in advance of the service, and then feel free to share it at the appropriate moment in the service.

Hymns, Music & Readings this week:

Hymn 113 God the Father of Creation (Cwm Rhondda)
Hymn 187 There is a wideness in God’s mercy (All for Jesus)
Hymn 112 God, whose almighty word (Moscow)

Anthem: O pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Tomkins)

Organ Postlude: Praeludium in F Sharp (Buxtehude)

Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Gospel Reading: Mark 1:21-28

Church Member

We are sorry to announce to death of St Columba’s elder, Margaret Brown, who died in Martin House Care Home, Southall on Tuesday 26th January. Please keep her family in your prayers. Rest eternal grant unto her and let light perpetual shine upon her.

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 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 – 10-11am, 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.

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.

St Columba’s Book Club – 22nd February 2021, 7.00pm

The February meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will take place on the 22nd February at 7pm (via Zoom). This month’s book will be “Honour” by Elif Shafak. New members are very much encouraged, please get in touch with the Church Office for more detail.

Happy Hour – 3rd February 2021, 6.30pm

Happy Hour has reverted to the first Wednesday of the month and will meet next on Wednesday 3 February at 6.30 pm by Zoom for an hour or so of discussion and fellowship. Our theme will be; Censorship - are current levels sufficient to suppress words, images or ideas that are harmful to society? Please email Kate Payne if you would like to be included in the invite This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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. This week we enjoyed the poetry of Robert Burns,
via the recitations and singing of Michael Hill. Still to come:

3rd February 10.30am Revd Eleanor McMahon asks:
“Would you not like your own Church?”

10th February, 10.30am Revd Jane Taylor will talk us through icons & how they are painted

17th February 10.30am Our very own Revd Angus MacLeod will lead us into Lent with a talk about Ash Wednesday.

More Robert Burns

For anyone who wants to continue to celebrate the Ploughman Poet after his commemorative day, several groups have sent us their invitations: The Caledonian Club, Virtual Burns Night celebration.
Please note the video will be available to watch until 31st January. Greenock Burns Club Annual Celebration
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEIF7ipte19nN1vlAwkhGEw/videos There is also worship from Glasgow Cathedral, with plenty acknowledgement of Burns. The President of the Glasgow & District Burns Association and the President of the Robert Burns World Federation read the lessons and HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay offers a message of greeting. https://www.glasgowcathedral.org/a-morning-service-for-the-31st-of-january/

Magazine Subscriptions

The St Columba’s Magazine continues to be published though the pandemic. 2021 subscriptions are now due. If you would like to renew your subscription or take out a new one, please get in touch with the Church Office.

Encouragement by Church of Scotland to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Locally, via our links to Kensington & Chelsea Faith Communities Partnership we are similarly encouraged to promote vaccination and help dispel some of the myths and concerns that are prompting vaccination hesitancy.

The following statement comes from Kensington & Chelsea Faith Communities Partnership
“As member of the Kensington and Chelsea Interfaith Forum we are encouraging our communities to get vaccinated against Covid-19. It is vital that you keep yourselves and your loved ones safe, so we are urging residents to follow the guidelines, take measures to keep yourselves well and get the vaccine when it is offered to you. It is only by doing so will we beat this virus and get our lives back.

We know how hard it has been for many of our communities with many faith settings having to close and many feeling isolated as a result. We can’t wait until we are able to open our doors again and come together and worship safely once more. The vaccine takes us one step closer to this becoming a reality.

As members of the Interfaith Forum we will be receiving our vaccinations when we are invited to have them. The NHS is currently rolling out the Covid-19 vaccination programme in order of priority so please do be patient if you’ve not yet been contacted. You will be contacted by your GP when it is your turn.
There have been many rumours, misinformation and myths about the vaccine which we know have caused concern in some of our communities. Our Council has produced some frequently asked questions which will hopefully answer any questions you may have to have an allay your fears. Read them here https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-faqs-vaccine

One question that does come up quite often is do any of the approved vaccines contain animal products or eggs. The answer is no, they do not. They are also halal and kosher. The approved vaccines have been through stringent clinical trials and safety checks that all other licensed medicines go through before being approved.

The last year has been a year like no other, we’ve all had to make sacrifices, spend time away from our loved ones and have missed out on big celebrations. This vaccine brings hope and it brings a light at the end of the tunnel. Please do all stay to safe and hopefully it won’t be long before we’re all back together again.”

COVID-19 vaccination scam alert

Some people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID 19 vaccination. In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details. Like other scams, the same rules apply;

  • Don’t click on links or attachments in unexpected texts, emails or instant messages.
  • Challenge every request for your personal details.
  • It doesn’t matter what they say or what they know about you, don’t respond to unexpected phone calls, hang up, take five then verify their claims via a trusted method. (such as the usual website or official phone number)

The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to members of the public over 80 years old.

The NHS will:

  • NEVER ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine.
  • NEVER ask for payment for the vaccine or for your bank details.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, you should report this directly to Action Fraud either online; https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or via phone
0300 123 2040 Where the victim is vulnerable, report it to the MPS online or by calling 101.

Link to an example of the scam text message on behalf of which.co.uk https://conversation.which.co.uk/scams/scam-nhs-covid-vaccine-text-message/

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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