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For Sunday 5th November 2023, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost



November is sometimes referred to as "The month of the dead", with All Saints Day on 1st November, All Souls Day on 2nd November and Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday nearest to 11th November when we remember those who have died in two world wars and numerous conflicts since 1945.

Writing on 1st November the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that on "All Saints Day Christians celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us. Tomorrow (November 2nd), we remember those we have loved who have died. Both feasts give us the certain hope that on earth we are united with the prayer and praise of those in heaven". 

In a sense All Saints Day is easy, we can celebrate the great and the good of Christian history, St. Margaret of Scotland, our patron saint, St. Andrew, St. Columba and of course the apostles of Christ and even Presbyterians have been known to carry St. Christopher medallions when travelling. Presbyterians may not have the same tradition of prayers for the dead that is usual in some other denominations and are not quite sure what to do with All Souls Day so I suspect that in our Reformed tradition All Saints Day and All Souls Day have merged in the popular consciousness, serving the same purpose and are rarely celebrated separately; we give thanks for those outstanding figures from the church's past but at the same time we also remember those we have known and loved who are now in God's nearer presence. Personally, I find it deeply comforting to think that those parents, grandparents, partners, children and friends who prayed for us while they were here on earth still pray as they join in the worship of heaven and that they and we are one in our praise of Almighty God.

Perhaps instead of thinking of November as "The month of the dead", we should think of it as the time when we celebrate those who are alive forever in God's presence. On Sunday at 5pm we will hold our Annual Bereavement Service here in St. Columba's. This is a quiet time of gentle reflection which anyone who has experienced loss is most welcome to attend.

"Bring us O Lord God,
at our last great awakening
into the house and gate of heaven,
to enter into that gate
and to dwell in that house,
where there will be neither darkness nor
but one equal light;
neither noise nor silence,
but one equal music;
neither fears nor hopes,
but one equal possession,
neither ends nor beginnings,
but one equal eternity;
in the habitations of thy majesty and glory,
world without end. Amen"

(John Donne, 1572-1631).

William McLaren.

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. The words for the hymns and readings will be on the website.

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.

Reminder: If you do not wish to appear on the live-stream please choose a seat in the rear half of the sanctuary.  

Please note that the Evening Services on the 1st of the month are not live streamed as they are held in the London Scottish Chapel.

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 the organ music from 10.50am.

Hymns, Music & Readings for Sunday 5th November 2023

Hymn 745 O How bright those glorious spirits shine! (St. Asaph)
Hymn 574 Even though the rain hides the stars (The Cloud's Veil)
Hymn 747 Jerusalem the golden (Ewing)
Hymn 740 For all the saints (Sine Nomine)

Anthem: Give us the wings of faith (E. Bullock)
Musical Interlude: Teach me O Lord (Byrd)

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 51: 1-6
New Testament Reading: ⅠJohn 3: 1-3
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5: 38-48

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.

Church member

We are sorry to announce the death in July 2023, of St Columba’s member, Sheila Harrington, of 7 Cruickshank Park, Hillside, By Montrose, Angus, DD10 9NA. We hold the family in our thoughts and prayers.

THIS SUNDAY: Congregational Lunch in Lower Hall

Please note the small increase to £4.00 per lunch – still exceptional value for a two-course meal. Big thanks to all our catering teams who provide for us on congregational lunch Sundays. Coffee will continue to be served every Sunday as usual in the Upper Hall – donations for coffee most welcome.

Future Dates are Sunday 5th and 19th November 2023

THIS SUNDAY: St Columba’s Craft Group

The group will meet from 1.30pm to 3.30pm in the Library. This is a great opportunity to pick up tips and new techniques from our talented and experienced members. All welcome. For further information please contact Fiona Lang or Susan Pym through the church office.

THIS SUNDAY: Annual Bereavement Service at 5pm

Each year we write to the next of kin who have experienced the death of a loved one, and whose funeral was conducted by one of the St Columba’s ministers, in the last seven years. Family members and friends are invited to attend our annual Bereavement Service, either in person or via the live-stream website. www.stcolumbas.org.uk The service is designed to be quiet and reflective and lasts about forty-five minutes. During the service we remember by name those whose funeral or memorial services we have conducted in the past year (1st October 2022 – 30 September 2023). As a congregation we pray for the family and friends of all whose funerals we call to mind. Relatives and friends who have attended in previous years have found the service to be helpful. The service is open to all, whether experiencing a loss, recent or past, or simply wishing to offer a sense of solidarity with others by your presence.

Sunday School Future Dates


Please note one date change for Sunday School next month. We will not meet this Sunday (5th November) however there will be Sunday School on Remembrance Sunday, (10.45am, Sunday 12th November) and the third Sunday of the month (Sunday 19th November. As always, a big thank you to our volunteers who enable these activities.

NEXT SUNDAY: Congregational Prayer Group: Sunday 12th November 2023 10am

Come and join us for 15 minutes to pray for our church, our community, our nation and our world …everyone is welcome and our prayers, both spoken and silent do make a difference. Pray peace over all who come in and out of St Columba’s and an understanding that God’s desire is to prosper and not to harm; to provide a hope and future. Jeremiah 29:11. Pray that as we pray, we would remember that He is good and is worthy to be praised! See you there! (Congregational prayer Group)

NEXT SUNDAY: Remembrance Sunday, Sunday 12th November 2023, 10.45am

Please remember Morning Service on Sunday 12th November starts early, at 10.45am, as part of our Act of Remembrance. There is a further opportunity at 3pm when we welcome cadets, serving personnel, veterans and families for the London Scottish Regimental Remembrance Service. The afternoon service is open to all and those who arrive early can see the magnificent sight of the Pipers & Drums leading the march down Pont Street towards St Columba’s.

Evening with the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Tuesday 21st November 2023.


This year’s Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Revd Sally Foster-Fulton chairs a discussion on Homelessness, at Crown Court Church of Scotland at 7pm, Tuesday 21st November 2023. This is our opportunity to meet and hear from the Moderator during her London week. Unfortunately, due to scheduling changes the Moderator will not be leading worship at St Columba’s on Sunday 26th November 2023, as previously advertised on the church website and Magazine.

Festival of Silence at St Columba’s, Saturday 18th November 2023



The Festival of Silence is the first event of its kind taking place at St Columba’s, inviting the public into our beautiful building for a day of quiet, contemplative and peaceful activities amidst the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Offering a mixture of artistic workshops, music-framed communal silence and prayer, the day offers something for those already familiar with the fascination of silence and those curious to explore new terrain.

From whichever tradition of prayer you come or none, there is an activity for everyone at the Festival of Silence. These include:

Sketching Into Silence: A guided drawing class with London’s oldest sketch club, the Langham Sketch Club and the Royal Drawing School’s Sharon Brindle. Turning Into Silence - Movement to Prayer: Revd. Pauline Steenbergen combines body, breath and mediation in a powerful, accessible yoga session. Speech Without Words: A masterclass in mime with theatre producer and practitioner Rowan Tolley. Profound Simplicity: Internationally renowned Scottish poet, Kenneth Steven, offers a prerecorded soundscape of poems, read and curated by him. Silence In The Sanctuary: With a selection of Scottish nature-influenced compositions, classical saxophonist Jonathan Radford frames periods of intermittent meditative silence.

CÂN Y COED Rainforest Symphony: Groundbreaking sound installation created by Rainforests of Wales and Environmental Sound Artist, Cheryl Beer. A house of prayer: Opportunity throughout the day to find quiet in the prayerful space of the London Scottish Regimental Chapel, with prayer resources provided by the World Council of Christian Meditation (WCCM).

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-silence-at-st-columbas-knightsbridge-tickets-721916962067 The ticket structure for the event allows for an affordable entry ticket and additional purchases for individual activities. £10 Day Ticket: Includes entry to the building, access to live music performances, poetry listening sessions, Rainforest Symphony installation.

Additional cost £20 Sketching Pass: Includes entry to a two-hour sketching session £10 Movement and Mediation pass: Includes entry to an hour-long guided yoga session and equipment £10 Mime Masterclass pass: Includes entry to an hour-long mime masterclass session. Thanks to volunteer caterers, a “quiet” soup and sandwich lunch (£5 payable on the day) will be served between 12.30-1.30pm.

Volunteers for the Festival of Silence

To assist the smooth running of the day we are looking for members of the congregation to act as volunteer stewards. Please either sign up with Susan Pym, following service this Sunday, or via the Church Office. Offers for morning/afternoon/all day, are all welcomed. The festival programme runs 10.00am - 4pm, with doors opening for registration at 9.30am. To support the event, volunteer stewards are invited to purchase a £10 day ticket.


Glass Door Night Shelter - Volunteers Needed

Sunday evenings (beginning 12th November 2023, through to March 2024.)
Can you help provide a warm friendly welcome and hot meal to 35 homeless guests at St Columba’s on Sunday evenings, when we will again host the Glass Door night shelter?

  • Shelter volunteers needed to help set up, prepare and serve food, chat to guests and clear up.
  • Cook volunteers needed to take the lead on cooking the simple 3 course meal.

Training and support for roles will be given. The rota is evolved according to volunteer availability. Please get in touch with Jill Bruce (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you or anyone you know is interested in helping. Volunteers often comment that they feel they receive far more than they give.

Glass Door Night Shelter - Donations Requested

We are now approaching another night shelter season and with it, another appeal for help with the food costs. For St Columba’s, the season starts on Sunday 12th November when we will feed and sleep up to 35 guests, continuing every Sunday evening throughout the winter months. A team of volunteers prepare a simple 3 course meal, the cost of which is of course ever increasing. To continue this work and repeat the success of previous seasons, will you help with these costs?

Your contribution of cash or a cheque made payable to St Columba’s Church of Scotland can be left in the church office (envelopes marked “Glass Door food appeal”).

Lent Appeal 2024 - Small overseas charity

Over the last five years, thanks to your generosity, we have raised a total of £43,904 for small registered charities as a direct result of our Lent Appeals; this is a major part of our work on Mission. The Mission Committee would be grateful for any suggestions you may have for a small away/overseas registered charity that could be considered for the St. Columba's Lent Appeal 2024. For Gift Aid to be applicable, a UK registered charity that provides help and assistance overseas. For more information, please contact Naomi Donaldson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (or via the Church Office) before Friday 10th November.

St Columba’s Book Group


Our next meeting is on Monday 6th November at 6.30pm when we shall be discussing Nightbloom by Peace Adzo Medie. It is a story about two Ghanaian cousins who are great friends but whose lives take quite different paths. We then plan to read The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell.
Contact the Church Office for the Zoom details

ScotsCare – Supporters needed


The CEO Sleepout will be held at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Monday 20th November 2023, 7pm-6am. The purpose of the CEO Sleepout is to raise funds for those experiencing homelessness and poverty with the help of CEO’s and similar senior management level personnel from all industry sectors. They need supporters to join us for this year’s effort so I am contacting you to ask if you would participate in the CEO Sleepout either as part of our ScotsCare team or individually.For more information please contact Jacqueline on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or if you ready to sign up, please visit the website at ceosleepout.co.uk/London.

Christian Aid – Annual Lecture 2023 – Monday 20 November, 7pm at St. Martin-in-the-Fields


Christian Aid will be hosting Amina J. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary General of the UN and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, for the Christian Aid Annual Lecture at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ. The lecture is titled, ‘Here I stand: Women’s Advancement and Role in Tackling Climate Change’.  Tickets are free but for security purposes need to be booked here: Christian Aid Annual Lecture 2023 and www.christianaid.org.uk

Office Hours

The church office is open from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. 

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: @stcolumbas churchpontstreet. 
Twitter: @LondonKirk 
Pastoral Emergency Number (out of office hours): 07591926271

Opening Hours

The office is open from
9.00 a.m. to 5.00 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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