E-Newsletter – 23rd October 2020
A gentle reminder that the clocks change this weekend, permitting that extra hour for R & R! As the light shortens most of us feel a shift in the year; and thoughts of hibernation come to mind. In the media there is much advice on how to survive the winter in the year of Covid. A warm coat and getting outside for some fresh air is the oft-repeated advice. In addition to that piece of common sense, maybe we can add the companionship of our church community and the strength and belief of our faith. At the heart of our faith is the consolation that we are not alone, and that we are loved, even when we don’t particularly feel it. At St Columba’s, Pont Street and St Andrew’s, Newcastle I hope our shared faith will keep us making the effort to stay in touch and enquire after others. I hope too, our shared faith will inform the work that is undertaken by staff and volunteers to feed our homeless guests over the coming weekends of winter or the many alternative ways that we seek to love God and our neighbour as ourselves.
Along with the other bits of news, we share for a second week, the message from the Stewardship Team
E-Newsletter – 15th October 2020
This week’s message comes from the Stewardship Working Group.
Weathering the storm
We live in strange times. Many people, and many churches, have suffered greatly through the pandemic. While there have been significant bumps in the road for St Columba’s over these last few months, we have been blessed in many ways. Though we have lost around £55K in hall hire bookings since April this year – in an
ordinary year, a considerable source of income for us - a generous legacy we received in 2019 has allowed St Columba’s to weather the storm so far in 2020. Many churches don’t have this level of financial support to fall back on, and we are very grateful to all those who give to St Columba’s in their will.
E-Newsletter – 9th October 2020
The broadcast of the Caledonian Lecture from St Columba’s this week was definitely a highlight. Mary Miller’s talk on Jane Haining - the “extraordinary life of an ordinary woman” was profound and moving. It was enhanced by wonderful Scottish, Hungarian and Jewish music from our guest musicians, and there were good messages added by the Hungarian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the British Ambassador to Hungary. Please do take the chance to view it and recommend it to others, if you haven’t already done so. Jane Haining’s story of service and bravery towards the wartime Hungarian Jewish schoolgirls in her care is inspiring and deserves to be more widely known.
E-Newsletter- 2nd October 2020
General Assembly, Harvest Festival & Jane Haining
Where to begin this week? Taking things chronologically, you could start with the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Commencing on Friday evening, the 2020 General Assembly will necessarily be very different from the traditional week of worship, business and social events held in Edinburgh each May. Instead of 800 Commissioners in the General Assembly Hall there will be 800 people on Zoom webinar with just the “Top Table and a few techies” in the Hall. A new online Assembly Hub has been created so that Commissioners can actively take part with voting, asking questions etc. Anyone wishing to watch the proceedings will find a live stream on the Church of Scotland website under General Assembly 2020.
E-Newsletter- 24th September 2020
Breaking Bread & Remembering Upper Rooms
This Sunday we celebrate communion, the meal central to our faith – bread, blessed, broken, shared and wine poured out. It echoes Jesus’ final meal, with his closet friends, in an Upper Room in Jerusalem, on the night of his betrayal and arrest. It has been a strength-giver for two thousand years in all times and places, in many varied forms – from cathedrals to prison camps, on board ships and at hospital bedsides. Shaped by current circumstances, our Sunday communion will look a little different, but its message, its heart, remains exactly the same. Instead of receiving the bread and wine sitting in the pews, served by the elders, those attending St Columba’s in person, will be invited to come forward to the front of the church to receive the bread – at present, we cannot offer the wine. (For those unable to come forward, the bread will be brought to them.) Meanwhile, those watching the service, via the live-stream, are most welcome to prepare bread and wine (or equivalent) in your own home and share it at the appropriate moment. While this may feel unfamiliar, please be encouraged by those who have done this previously, and commented how precious it has proved.