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Newsletter for Sunday 25th July 2021

Dear All,
Have you melted or are you ok? What a week of weather we have had… You can blame me for the change next week- I am on holiday for a week hence the rain forecast!! Fiona Gardner is covering the office for me next week so she will be writing to you all instead.

If you missed last weeks “A Cricketing Year to Savour” you can watch on the website here https://www.stcolumbas.org.uk/special-services/

Have a great weekend and week. I shall be back on the 2nd August and will leave you in Fiona’s capable hands next week.

Take care.



Tomorrow, Friday 23rd August, the Olympics get underway in Tokyo. Due to COVID they will look, and probably feel, very different to previous ones. However, some of the sights may remind you of the London Olympics in 2012. In 2012 there were members of the congregation who volunteered as Olympic “Games Makers” and Reverend Neil Urquhart, minister of Fullarton Parish Church, Irvine, stayed in the church flat while ministering as one of the chaplains to the athletes of the Olympic and Paralympic Village. Neil spoke about the atmosphere of these remarkable events; the highs, lows, pressures and concerns for athletes and the place that faith holds for some of the men and women who gifted us such a memorable summer.

At the farewell Games’ parade, the then, London’s Mayor congratulated all those involved: “…you brought this country together in a way we never expected. You routed the doubters and scattered the gloomsters and, for the first time in history, you caused Tube train passengers to break into spontaneous conversation with their neighbours about subjects other than their trod-on toes.”

London undoubtedly enjoyed a high and inevitably perhaps it was followed by a flat feeling, Neil commented how on his last day, without the volunteer uniform on, he had quickly melted back into a silent and anonymous tube crowd. At the time Bishop Tom Butler reminded listeners on the radio of the strange gospel story of Jesus going up a mountain with his closest friends, Peter, James and John. There they see Jesus transfigured, glowing with a bright aura. Jesus is not alone. In this vision Moses, representing the Law of God, and Elijah, representing God’s prophets also seem to be present and the transfixed disciples, hear God saying, "This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.” Peter in particular wants to hold on to that great vision, that peak experience, by making the mountain top their permanent base.

“But they can’t, because in the bible there are always two ingredients to any peak experience. Firstly, the experience deeply enriches its recipient, but secondly it leads directly to a deeper calling to involvement in the life of the world.” (Bishop T Butler) The temptation is to stay fixed in the wonderful place, even though the action has moved on – a little like pinning a butterfly to a wall.

I hope the Tokyo Olympics will unfold safely and bring great pleasure and inspiration to many – athletes and spectators alike. And I hope those of us who hold happy memories from the London Olympics will be re-inspired/re-called to a deeper involvement in the life of this city and the communities from which we come.


Attending Morning Worship

If you would like to “book a pew” for the service at St Columba’s please contact the Church Office either by telephone, 0207 584 2321 or email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 3pm on Friday. Booking a place speeds up the test and trace process as you arrive at Church.

Live Streaming of Worship

Services can be watched via the church website,  St Columba's Church of Scotland Live Feed (stcolumbas.org.uk)

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, 25th July 2021

Hymn 100 O Lord, thou art my God and King (Psalm 145: Duke Street)
Hymn 339 Sing of Andrew, John’s disciple (Nettleton)
Hymn 167 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah (Cwn Rhondda)

Old Testament Reading: 2 Kings 4:42-44
New Testament Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
Gospel Reading: John 6:1-21

Anthem: Never weather-beaten sail (Wood)
Musical Interlude: Oculi Omnium (Wood)
Organ Postlude: Fugue in C, Mendelssohn


Our coffee teams are now serving coffee and tea again in the Upper Hall*, after the Morning Service. They serve people seated at tables of four. Milk and sugar will be placed on every table, and as a trial, cups and saucers will be in place on the tables with coffee already in the cups and to fill the cups with hot water at the tables. Please ask for tea if required. Both doors to the Upper Hall will be open to avoid any congestion and also to have windows open at both ends of the hall. Anyone taking coffee should go straight into the Upper Hall, masked until they sit down, wait to be served, and not to move around.

This service can only be provided if we have sufficient coffee team members on the rota – once every eight weeks, and we are looking to fill three vacancies. Could you be one of them? If so, please contact James MacHardy by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..Thank you.
[We anticipate starting lunches again as from Sunday 19th September.]

Office Hours

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

Please note the Church Office will be closed on the 26th July 2021.

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.

Congregational Survey & Pastoral Conversations

Please keep an eye out for the Congregational Survey that goes out on Friday evening, 23rd July (via e-mail) and by post on Monday 26th July. With the pandemic, as a congregation we have had to face new circumstances. Some very positive things have emerged; some things have been particularly hard. Experiences have varied greatly. Pastorally, it feels important to allow church members to reflect and share a little on their recent experience. So, our Kirk Session has agreed that now is an appropriate moment for conversation, asking your help to discern what is important for our life ahead – how we might faithfully, helpfully, and hopefully, make the next steps along the St Columba’s way. To that end, the survey which can be completed either online or by return of post is the first step. It will be followed in September by the invitation to attend conversation groups for a fuller chance to hear and share experience. This will all feed into the Elders’ Away Day (Saturday 25th September) and also help us prepare for the Local Church Review that takes place on the weekend of Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th November. Assisting us with the survey and the conversation groups in September would be much appreciated.

Visiting Preacher, Sunday 1st August.

We look forward to the visit of the Very Reverend John Christie to lead worship at St Columba’s on Sunday 1st August. Angus is on leave and William is preaching at Crown Court, London.

John writes: “Before being called to Ministry I gained a BSc in Biology from the University of Strathclyde. A teacher, I taught Science in deprived areas of Glasgow and subsequently in Tiree High School and Inverness Royal. I’m a Chartered Biologist and a Member of the Royal Society of Biology.

Called to ministry I studied at the University of Glasgow specialising in New Testament Greek and Systematic Theology. Called to Hyndland Parish Church I served for 14 years as minister before being called to Interim Ministry as task, I described, as helping Congregations over hurdles. During that time I became a qualified Church Mediator and have worked in that capacity in a number of areas of Church life.

I served as Convenor of the General Assembly’s Board of Parish Education as well as Convenor of the Child Protection Committee then Convenor of the Safeguarding Committee. Clerk to the Presbytery of Dumbarton and Depute Clerk to Clyde Presbytery. I was elected as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2010.

Widowed many years ago my late wife, Elizabeth, and I have a married daughter and two grandchildren who are London-based. Met and married Annette who had been widowed around the same time as I had.

Contributor to BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Thought for the Day’. My interests are walking – managed the West Highland Way in 2018 - and Gardening, Reading and TV. Alas my 5-aside football days are now history!

St Columba’s Book Club

The next meeting of the St Columba’s Book Club will be the 23rd August (via Zoom) at 7pm. The month’s book will be “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. If you would like to join please contact the office for more information.


If you would like to leave stamps for Crossreach, please pop them into the Church Office on Sundays.

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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