Newsletter – 7th March 2021
“The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”
The opening verse of the psalm set for this weekend, the 3rd Sunday in Lent. A reminder to look up and be astonished at the ever-changing canopy above us.
We sometimes use the words of the poet E E Cummings as a prayer:
I thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
We have had some amazing, early spring days of sunshine, with blue, blue skies this week; also, World Book Day. On Thursday I followed a small mermaid to school, tail peeking out from beneath her anorak. (Meanwhile, I was actually escorting Miss Elizabeth Bennet to her school – all dignity and deportment, less pride and prejudice.) So, from the words of another cherished novel:
“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray, I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky – up – up – up - into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”
(L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)
May our continuing journeys of Lent contain big skies and inspiring books. See you on Sunday,
Live Streaming of Worship – 11am, Sunday 7th 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 160 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven (Praise, my Soul) Hymn 354 O Love how deep how broad how high (Eisenach)
Hymn 622 We sing a love that sets all people free (Woodlands)
Old Testament Readings: Psalm 19
New Testament Reading: I Corinthians 1:18-25
Gospel Reading: John 2:13-22
Anthem: Peccantem me quotidie (Morales)
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
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.
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
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.
Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair, Sunday 14th March 2021
On Sunday 14th March, this year’s Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair will preach for the live-stream service at 11am. Unable to be with us, as he was scheduled to be, Dr Fair is kindly pre-recording his sermon for the occasion and it will be edited into the familiar order of our Sunday service. We look forward to his message.
The Moderator has had to adapt in so many ways, during his year in office and he has done an enormous amount to engage and communicate with those both within and beyond the Church this year. In a letter to all congregations about Holy Week and Easter he writes: “While probably unable to meet together in church our devotional patterns can certainly continue and to that end I am going to offer a series of daily reflections running from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. These will be available through the Church of Scotland social media channels and will be released each morning at 8am. They will also be available to download and place on your own digital platforms. Further, text versions will be available for local printing if desired and non-digital folk will be able to access them via phone: 0333 340 9200. Each episode will include readings, prayers, reflections and music; with ministers, deacons, elders and others from across the Church taking part. My hope is that these daily reflections will remind us of our essential unity and that we belong to a body of believers that stretches beyond our parish boundaries. As we continue through Lent, may you have a growing sense of the nearness of the Lord and know that with Him, we’ll find ourselves soon enough at Calvary and in turn at the empty tomb.”
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 10th Anniversary
Congratulations to all members of Happy Hour, old and new, who got together this week to celebrate ten years of friendship, faith and discussion. Here’s to the next ten!
Diamond Wedding Anniversary
Congratulations to Hugh and Valerie Aitken who celebrate on 11th March their wedding that took place at St Columba’s sixty years ago. Here’s to the next sixty!
Service of Thanksgiving for Margaret Brown, Thursday 18th March 2021, 2pm We are glad to announce that we will hold a Service of Thanksgiving for St Columba’s elder, the late Margaret Brown on Thursday 18th March, at 2pm. The service will be live-streamed and available via the website in the normal way. Unfortunately, due to current restrictions there will not be in-person attendance.
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:
10th March 10.30am Revd Christopher Rowe, Minister at Colston Milton Church in Glasgow talks about his ministry and parish
17th March 10.30am Revd Dr David Coulter. Minister at St Andrews, Guernsey give us a talk about “God and the Gun’.
24th March 10.30am Dr Anna MacDonald, Head of Relationships for our Lenten Appeal Charity - Play for Progress, tells us about
the 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.
St. Columba’s Church of Scotland
Congregational Prayer Time
LENT III 7th March 2021
COLLECT of the DAY:
Almighty God, of ourselves we have no power to help ourselves. Keep us outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Book of Common Order
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this: and they believed the scripture and word that Jesus had spoken. When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.
John 2: 13-22
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
O God our gracious heavenly Father,
the prophet Malachi tells us that you are like a refiner’s fire;
your coming means a purge.
Remind us therefore in whose image we are made
and cleanse the shrine of our hearts
from everything which disfigures;
from the clutter and dross of worldly ambition and anxieties
and from too small a vision of your greatness and majesty,
for “even the heaven of heavens cannot contain you”.
you call us into your Church to be members of your body
“built together to be the Temple of God”.
Raise us up by your unfailing mercy
and dwell in us by your Holy Spirit
that we may faithfully serve as Christ’s limbs
through which he speaks and acts
and thus be the community of love
which you would have us be.
So, we pray for the Church universal
and most especially for our own congregations
giving thanks for the many who minister to us
in their several ways
and asking for grace and wisdom
for those who bear rule in our midst.
We ask your blessing on our Minister and Kirk Sessions
and on those whose untiring efforts
have maintained the worship, witness and corporate life
of our fellowships.
Guide by your Spirit we pray the deliberations
of those engaged in the search for an Associate Minister
that we may be led to a true “servant of Christ”
and faithful “steward of the mysteries of God”.
We thank you God that the time of measuring distances
and enforced separation
may be drawing to a close
and that soon we can hear again
the unconstrained laughter of playground children.
Grant that our journey through Lent
may be a period to attune ourselves to your love
and to wait with patience, penitence and praise
for that day when together
we can reach out and hold others in our love
as we are kept and held in yours.
In Jesus’ name we pray these things.
TO CONCLUDE A PRAYER by LACHLAN MACLEAN WATT
Make our lips, O God, gates of Thy praises;
make our hearts homes of prayer;
and lift our feet
through darkness and through stumbling
to the light where Thy love abideth.