• St Columba's Sermons
    Past Services

Sermons - April 2021



Introduction, Lighting of Candles & Call to Worship

Hymn 393 We turn to God (Eventide)

Prayers of Approach & Lord’s Prayer

Old Testament reading: Psalm 116

Anthem Christus Factus est (Bruckner)

Gospel Testament Reading: John 13:1-35

Hymn 376 ‘Twas on that night (Rockingham)

Reflection for Maundy Thursday

Musical Interlude

Celebration of the Lord’s Supper

Musical Interlude

As the silence begins the sanctuary is cleared and a single candle placed on the communion table as the lights are lowered.


Hymn 393 We turn to God (Eventide)
We turn to God when we are sorely pressed;
we pray for help, and ask for peace and bread;
we seek release from illness, guilt, and death:
all people do, in faith or unbelief.

We turn to God when he is sorely pressed,
and find him poor, scorned, without roof and bread,
bowed under weight of weakness, sin, and death:
faith stands by God in his dark hour of grief.

God turns to us when we are sorely pressed,
and feeds our souls and bodies with his bread;
for one and all Christ gives himself in death:
through his forgiveness sin will find relief.

Hymn 376 ‘Twas on that night (Rockingham)
'Twas on that night when doomed to know
the eager rage of every foe,
that night in which he was betrayed,
the Saviour of the world took bread.

And after thanks and glory given
to him that rules in earth and heaven,
that symbol of his flesh he broke,
and thus to all his followers spoke:

"My broken body thus I give
for you, for all. Take, eat, and live.
And oft the sacred rite renew
that brings my saving love to view."

Then in his hands the cup he raised,
and God anew he thanked and praised,
while kindness in his bosom glowed,
and from his lips salvation flowed.

"My blood I thus pour forth," he cries,
"to cleanse the soul in sin that lies;
in this the covenant is sealed,
and heaven’s eternal grace revealed.

"With love to all this cup is fraught;
let all partake the sacred draught;
through latest ages let it pour,
in memory of my dying hour."

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 116
1I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
2Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
4Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, save my life!”
5Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
6The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
7Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
9I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
10I kept my faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;
11I said in my consternation, “Everyone is a liar.”
12What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
13I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
14I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
15Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
16O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
17I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.
18I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
19in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

Gospel Reading: John 13:1-35
13Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

18I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. 20Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” 21After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


GOOD FRIDAY, 2nd APRIL 2021, 11am

Introduction & Lighting of Candles

Call to Worship: Isaiah 53 :7-9

Introit: Miserere Mei (Byrd)

Hymn 378 Praise to the Holiest (Gerontius)

Prayers of Approach & Lord’s Prayer

Introduction to the Passion

Reading of the Passion I: John 18:1-11 The Garden: Betrayal & Arrest

Hymn 125 Lord of all being (Ombersley)

Reading of the Passion II: John 18:12-17 Interrogation & Denial

Anthem O vos omnes (Croce)

Reading of the Passion III: John 18:28-40 Before Pilate

Hymn 382 O sacred head (Passion Chorale)

Reading of the Passion IV: John 19: 1-16a Mocked & Condemned

Anthem Crux Fidelis (John IV of Portugal)

Reading of the Passion V: John 19:16b-30 Crucifixion


Lord’s Prayer

Reading of the Passion VI: John 19:31-42 Taken down & Buried

Musical Interlude

Prayers of Thanksgiving & Intercession

Hymn 380 There is a green hill (Horsley)

Dismissal & Silence

Hymn 378 Praise to the Holiest (Gerontius)
Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise:
in all his words most wonderful,
most sure in all his ways.

O loving wisdom of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
a second Adam to the fight
and to the rescue came.

O wisest love! that flesh and blood,
which did in Adam fail,
should strive afresh against the foe,
should strive and should prevail;

O generous love! that he, who smote
in Man for man the foe,
the double agony in Man
for man should undergo;

And in the garden secretly,
and on the cross on high,
should teach his brethren, and inspire
to suffer and to die.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise:
in all his words most wonderful,
most sure in all his ways.

Hymn 125 Lord of all being (Ombersley)
Lord of all being, throned afar,
thy glory flames from sun and star;
centre and soul of every sphere,
yet to each loving heart how near!

Sun of our life, thy quickening ray
sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, thy softened light
cheers the long watches of the night.

Our midnight is thy smile withdrawn,
our noontide is thy gracious dawn,
our rainbow arch thy mercy's sign;
all, save the clouds of sin, are thine.

Lord of all life, below, above,
whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
before thy ever-blazing throne
we ask no lustre of our own.

Grant us thy truth to make us free,
and kindling hearts that burn for thee,
till all thy living altars claim
one holy light, one heavenly flame.


Hymn 382 O sacred head (Passion Chorale)
O sacred Head, sore wounded,
with grief and shame bowed down,
O Kingly head surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown!
How pale thou art with anguish
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that face now languish,
which once was bright as morn!

O Lord of life and glory
what bliss till now was thine!
I read the wondrous story;
I joy to call thee mine.
Thy grief and bitter Passion
Were all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, heavenly Friend,
for this, thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine for ever,
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love to thee.

Be near me, Lord, when dying,
oh, show thy cross to me,
and my last need supplying,
come, Lord, and set me free!
These eyes, new faith receiving,
from thee shall never move,
for they who die believing
die safely, through thy love.


Hymn 380 There is a green hill (Horsley)
There is a green hill far away,
without a city wall,
where the dear Lord was crucified,
who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
what pains he had to bear;
but we believe it was for us
he hung and suffered there.

He died that we might be forgiv'n,
he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heav'n,
saved by his precious blood.

There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin;
he only could unlock the gate
of heav'n, and let us in.

O dearly, dearly has he loved,
and we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 53:7-9
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. 9They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

The Passion according to the Gospel of John

Reading I: The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
18 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5 They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”[a] Jesus replied, “I am he.”[b] Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus[c] said to them, “I am he,”[d] they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”[e]8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he.[f] So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Reading II: Jesus before the High Priest
12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.
15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.
19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Reading III: Jesus before Pilate
28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.[g] It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters,[h]so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” 32 (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)
33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters[i] again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 40 They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Reading IV: Jesus is mocked
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3 They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face.
4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9 He entered his headquarters[j] again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat[k] on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew[l]Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

Reading V: Jesus is crucified
So they took Jesus; 17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew[m] is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[n] the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew,[o] in Latin, and in Greek. 21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,
“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
25 And that is what the soldiers did.
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Reading VI: Jesus’ Side Is Pierced
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35 (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows[p] that he tells the truth.) 36 These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”
38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.



Welcome & Opening Prayer

Old Testament Reading: Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24
3:1 I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God's wrath;
3:2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
3:3 against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long.
3:4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones;
3:5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
3:6 he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago.
3:7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; 3:8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;
3:9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.
3:19 The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
3:20 My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
3:21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; 3:23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
3:24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."

Anthem: Thou knowest, Lord (Purcell)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 27:57-66
27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 27:58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.
27:59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth
27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.
27:61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. 27:62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 27:63 and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise again.' 27:64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." 27:65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." 27:66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

Time of Quiet

Prayers for Holy Saturday
O God, creator of heaven and earth, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so may we await with him the coming of the third day and rise with him to newness of life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord

For hope
God, ground of our hope,
when we are cast down or dismayed,
keep alive in us your spirit of hope.
Fill us with all joy and peace
as we lead the life of faith,
until, by the power of the Holy Spirit,
we overflow with hope;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord’s Prayer

In this place will be heard once more
the sounds of joy and gladness,
the voices of bridegroom and bride;
here too will be heard voices shouting,
‘Praise the Lord of Hosts,
for the Lord is good; his love endures for ever.’

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Sermon 4th April 2021, Easter Sunday


“And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen,
they went to the tomb.” Mark 16:2

Some years ago, an Army chaplain colleague, while on operations overseas,
decided that in the camp where he was located,
he would keep a routine, that he believed
would be a quiet but steady witness to his faith.
Early each morning as the camp stirred into life,
he would sit in his fold out chair, in front of his tent, and read his bible –
and in the Anglican tradition say the daily office.
Towards the end of his six months tour a young soldier eventually asked:
“Padre, have you not finished that book yet?”

In my own experience, I too was once found reading that book (the Bible)
and engaged by a mischievous young officer.
“Good book, Padre?” he asked.
“Yes, I’m enjoying it, thank you.” I replied.
As he made to depart, he turned and added:
“You do know it’s just like The Sting?
(The famous Robert Redford, Paul Newman movie,
which culminates with a great con/sting on the crime boss, Robert Shaw)
“Everyone thinks he’s dead - but he’s not really.”

Finishing a book; a final twist – appropriate, given today’s gospel.
Hilary finished Mark’s book/gospel this morning.
Yet, the pew bible you will show you that the final chapter of Mark continues on.
The Lectionary set for today halts/stops at verse eight.
Why? Because most New Testament scholars believe
that that is where the Gospel of Mark originally ended – abruptly -
with the story of the women who go to the cemetery.

The women - the ones who had been there from the start,
supporting and feeding the growing band throughout the days in Galilee;
witnessing in the course of a handful of Jerusalem days,
happy hosannas and the atrocities of Golgotha.
They had stuck by and watched.
Seen the spent, broken body, prised loose from its cross.
It was they who sought to give their loved one some final dignity –
the rhythms and rituals, the final, beautiful, useless gestures of burial.

Earlier this week a church friend sent me some thoughts on Holy Week.
It started with words he had heard recently.
“Jesus was dead. Dead. Dead.”

He reflected: “I am always happy to just linger with Good Friday,
not particularly wanting to move on to Easter Sunday.
Please don't think that I'm being morbid,
but I just find the stories of those days to be real and truthful.
I just go along with Easter Sunday, but I don't really need a triumphant God,
the congregational jollity, or a "conjuring trick with bones".
I would rather have a God who is willing to show up in the dark, lonely places….”

I hope some of you will have watched the gospel meditations,
filmed by our friend Revd Christopher Rowe
from his parish of Colston Milton in Glasgow.
At times they have not been a comfortable watch –
but I think an important one.
His Good Friday film is one long framed shot of a large cross,
made from scaffolding polls and wreathed in scarlet material.
It stands on rough ground at the top of a terraced street.
In the distance a high-rise block of flats – further still, a glimpse of blue hills.
It is shot, early morning – and in moments of silence,
one can clearly hear birdsong.
The narration is principally the Good Friday story – Christ’s crucifixion.
Movingly, at the film’s conclusion, without spoken words, a subtitle comes up:
In this way God loved Milton by giving his only Son.

“You know he’s not really dead, Padre.”
“No, you’re wrong. He is dead. Dead. Dead. That death is real.”
So, on the dawn of the first day of the week - what did the women find?
Nothing that they expected.
The stone rolled away and a mysterious young man
pointing to Jesus’ empty tomb and announcing the resurrection.
Then the instruction:
“Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee;
there you will see him, just as he told you."
An instruction, at least initially, they seemed unable to follow:
instead fleeing from the tomb,“for terror and amazement had seized them;
and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."
Initially, the Good News inspires neither belief, nor transformation.
No Easter fanfare; no hopelessness to certitude.
Instead, only frightened women fleeing from a cemetery in silence:
As one preacher said: “That’s no way to run a resurrection.”

Mark’s version of the story honours this mystery.
The text doesn’t leap to explanation, to proof, or even to joy.
It allows the bewilderment of the first witnesses to be just that.
The silence/speechlessness of the first witnesses
serves to remind us, we are not in charge of Easter; God is.
The silence/speechlessness of the first witnesses
serves to highlight the messenger’s words:
“He has been raised; but he is not here.
You will need to look for him elsewhere.”
Go back to where it all started – Galilee - there,
as verse one of chapter 1 declares:
“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Disciples – return to the struggles and joys of ordinary life –
as you seek to live the Christ-like life –
that is where you will meet him.
In the bathing and bedtime story of the child
and the hospitality of the Night Shelter;
in the office politics and the daily decisions,
the housing estate and the corridors of power;
in the causes we advocate and the people we visit;
at the hospital bedside and the crematorium.
Christ – out and about, gone ahead of us.

I heard recently of a church congregation that at the start of Lent
took the painful decision to close.
The best they could envisage was a dignified death.
At one crucial session meeting, a couple of week's ago,
half the Kirk session stayed away –
grief, bewilderment, apologies that they had something else to do.
A real low point: but, it was not the end of the story.

My correspondent confided: “And you know what? God was already ahead of us.”
The retiring minister contacted a neighbouring congregation,
asking whether they would be interested in “ingrafting” the about-to-close congregation.
Their Pastor and session immediately responded "yes".
It emerged that back in the 1970’s when the declining congregation was at its peak,
some members had planted some members in the congregation
that, years later, was about to receive them.
The Pastor heralds the new arrangement as a “reunion.”
The old congregation will dissolve this month and start its new life in May.
“Perhaps this is a Resurrection Story I can believe in?”

We know a little of resurrection, because in time,
the frightened silence of the women on Easter morning eventually gave way to proclamation.
Alarm subsided, courage deepened, trauma healed, and amazement grew.
They learned how to choose hope, how to make the story their own,
and as they did, the story blossomed and grew.

There is a final wonderful moment in Christopher Rowe’s Easter Sunday Milton/Galilee film.
Suddenly, making its slow way up the street’s incline – an ice cream van –
trundling along with its jaunty jingle.
Suddenly an emblem, an icon, a sign of “an unbelievable truth.”
In Christopher’s words: “Love is going ahead of you and won’t stop
until it blossoms everywhere.” Alleluia.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen.

Sermon 11th April 2021, 2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER


‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

‘Have you believed because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ John 20

A little over two years ago, thanks to the kindness of a church friend,
I, along with several family members, made the pilgrimage to South West London,
to see that year’s Calcutta Cup rugby match.
The annual fixture – Scotland v England; at Twickenham, “Rugby HQ” –
a ground, where at the time, Scotland had not won for thirty-six years.

With me, my daughter, Olivia, then age seven; her very first, big, sporting occasion.
Her excitement at the size of stadium, the buzz of the crowd, sheer greenness of the pitch – making it a special day for a Dad.
Then – the whistle blew – and after all the anticipation…despair.
A slick and mighty England repeatedly and remorselessly shredding the Scottish defence –
after only thirty minutes, the game long gone,
the hosts piling on a lead of 31-3 - a sporting massacre.
Then, at the lowest ebb, in the midst of the England fans,
a seven-year-old voice rang out:
“I still believe in you Scotland!” (A phrase now passed into family folklore.)

“Have you believed because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Believing is a big deal in John’s Gospel.
Mark uses the verb thirteen times; Matthew, nine times and Luke, seven.
In John, it appears over ninety-nine times.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” (John 11:25)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

In John’s/the Fourth Gospel believe is always a verb.
“To believe is to trust: to trust what God has done in Christ,
and to act as if it were true.”
To believe is to wash another’s feet; to abide in love; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus’ believing is less interested in what we think/feel.
than how we act.
In our time, believing in Jesus, is often portrayed as intellectual assent,
or acceptance of historic formulations. Creeds as credentials.
e.g., Son of God, born of a virgin, died for our sins,
resurrected from the dead; will come again to judge the living and the dead.
That is part of the story. After all, the gospel reading ends:
“But these (signs) are written so that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,
and that through believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

But we should be wary of giving priority to Christian beliefs,
over Christian believing/trusting.
Creeds do not trump conduct;
certainty without question, is not greater than faith with doubt.
John’s resurrection story illustrates this:

The first day – empty tombs and familiar strangers in the garden;
Mary, called by name, bearing, breaking news to the disciples.
Then on the evening of that first day
behind closed doors, dreading fates, comparable to that of their Master;
Jesus comes to that still-frightened company.
Into their confusion - suddenly, jaw-droppingly, quietly – he is there.

And his first words? After death. After resurrection.
Neither stony silence; nor anger that they went AWOL on the eve of the battle.
Instead, “Peace be with you.”
A bridge - from guilt to mercy, despair to hope, fear to courage.
Peace be with you – greeting and gift, restoration and command.

Re-formed, the disciples are swiftly commissioned:
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.
“A boat is safe in the harbour, but that’s not what boats are for.”

Readied for sending, they are resourced.
“When he had said this he breathed on them saying,
Receive the Holy Spirit.”
For John, resurrection is also Pentecost; new life and immediate Spirit.
So, the Church is midwifed into being,
delivered and welcomed into the light
by the forgiveness and breath of the resurrected Jesus.

Famously, like a father caught in traffic, Thomas is late for the birth; misses it.
He hears about these extraordinary things
but demands more than make believe, to make believe.

Thomas is the honest questioner; finds it hard to believe, or trust the word of others.
He does not pretend. Without the evidence, I cannot trust.
He dares to voice uncertainty, even amid the uncertainty of others.
He does not ask for greater proof than his peers –
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, I will not believe.”
they, after all, had similarly been shown the scars by Jesus.

In Radio’s, Private Passions: Sister Teresa Keswick, Carmelite nun in Norfolk:
a woman of impeccable Christian credentials.
This contemplative nun was asked about those
“who find it hard to accept the existence of God.”
Perhaps, surprisingly she responded: “It’s a view I share.
There may well not be a God. But you can’t prove that either.
And the pointers are, that there is one; the pointers being love and beauty,
In spite of the hideous mess the world has got itself into.
There is something beyond.”

She was asked: Do you feel the presence of God?
“Personally, I don’t on the whole have feelings of that sort.
I think everyone has the sense of the numinous, you can get it on a starlit night,
Sometimes you feel yes – there is a master plan, there is love beyond everything.
Sometimes, it’s just the stars.
I don’t think it matters very much.
One’s conduct matters more than the way one feels.”

Thomas’ integrity endures a longer empty tomb,
but the shepherd comes back for the left-behind sheep -
just as he promised he would.
Thomas recognises his Lord in scars, not wonders.
For Thomas, the wounds were critical.
The scars were the continuity between the crucified one and the risen one;
Jesus’ identity so bound, so defined by the sacrifice he had made –
that if those scars were not real, then this was no Jesus.

Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), is the Japanese art
of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer
dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.
When pottery smashes, kintsugi may make an object more beautiful
with the jigsaw of its golden veins - its cracks giving it unity.
As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object,
rather than something to disguise.

“A kintsugi bowl contains the memory of what it used to be,
a recognition of suffering and resilient beauty.
More than just a means of repair, kintsugi offers pottery and us, the hope of resurrection.”
(Something Understood)

“To believe is to trust what God has done in Christ, and to act as if it were true.
“I still believe in you - “My Lord and my God.”
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Sermon 18th April 2021, 3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER


Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself.
Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’
And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. Luke 24:38-40

The image of the Queen, attending the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh,
in the chapel at Windsor, seated masked and alone, due to COVID restrictions,
will perhaps be an abiding one.
Whatever one’s view on departing royals or funeral ceremonies,
the sight of a fellow human in time of bereavement asks ultimate questions.
When someone dies what is lost, and what endures?
When someone dies, what happens next – if anything?
For us, would be followers of a risen Christ,
in these days of Eastertide, what do we see and hear,
what do we comprehend and what might we trust?

The gospel read this morning comes as a sort of Phase III of the first Easter.
Phase I; the discovery by the woman of the stone rolled away and an empty tomb.
Phase II; the two disciples, forlorn and heading home,
but encountering Jesus on the road to Emmaus –
the identity of the stranger revealed in the breaking of bread in their own home.

Then Phase III: Into the least promising of circumstances.
A hiding place, fear-filled, rank with defeat;
the, as yet un-arrested remnant, cower;
the Master’s death, still a terrible reproach, to a collective failure of nerve.

Yet, that is where it begins – rock bottom.
Jesus comes. Comes and gifts the greeting: “Peace be with you.”
Echo of those pre-crucifixion words:
“Peace is what I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Not as the world gives. Be not afraid.” (John 14: 27)
Continuity of promise and blessing – an unbroken thread, a seamless garment.

Like John’s gospel last week, Luke’s account is all about tangible physicality –
hands, feet, food, not phantom.
In a concluding discussion of one of the Lent Book discussion groups,
there was an observation that resonated for today.
Our discussions over recent weeks have been around the theme of evangelism –
prompted by the recent book of author, Hannah Steele.
Trying to work out the why/how and when we share the news of Jesus/the love of God,
most sided with the view that an evangelism based on
welcome, hospitality, friendship, prayer and support was a more convincing model
than the stereo-typical, street-corner approach of: “Are you saved?”
As one member summed up:
“Perhaps congregations like ours are the hands of Jesus, serving and caring,
rather than the feet of Jesus, going out to tell/evangelise.”

The writer Michael Rosen’s had serious COVID-19.
He was on a ventilator for 48 days last year.
Some years earlier, in honour of the 60th Anniversary of the NHS, he had written a poem.
While in hospital last year staff pinned a copy of the poem above his bed.

These are the hands that touch us first
Feel your head - find the pulse - and make your bed.
These are the hands that tap your back
Test the skin - hold your arm - wheel the bin.
Change the bulb - fix the drip
Pour the jug - replace your hip.
These are the hands that fill the bath
Mop the floor - flick the switch - soothe the sore.
Burn the swabs - give us a jab
Throw out sharps - design the lab.
And these are the hands that stop the leaks
Empty the pan - wipe the pipes - carry the can.
Clamp the veins - make the cast
Log the dose - and touch us last.

(Michael Rosen: Many Different Kinds of Love – A Story of Life, Death and the NHS - published by Ebury Press of Penguin Random House 2021. ISBN 978-1-52910-945-0)
“These are the hands…. that touch us first and touch us last.”

Rachel Cooke is another contemporary voice from the COVID front line.
For many years a hospice doctor, specialising in palliative/end of life care.
Contrary to what people often assume, she says it is not a depressing/morbid field
in which to work.
On the contrary, she finds there a beauty and aliveness that is a constant source of inspiration.

When the pandemic struck, Rachel Cooke transferred from hospice,
to hospital work with COVID patients.
Not an easy choice, given that she is also mother to young teenage children.
Of her more recent experience she poignantly talks
about looking out of her hospital building into the car park –
seeing cars lined up, their drivers or passengers inside, just looking at the building.
Loved ones of patients who were unable to visit,
but kept a sort of vigil by relative proximity.
Illustration, as with yesterday’s funeral, of the many separations t
hat have made (and continue to make) illness and death even harder.

One thing Rachel Cooke stresses however was that in her experience,
the staff did absolutely everything possible, that if/when a patient was dying,
they would ensure that there was someone/some member of staff,
who would sit with the dying, to hold a hand, so that they did not die alone.

Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself.

As with the promise of peace that Jesus speaks, both before and after resurrection,
the wounds of hands and feet from Good Friday,
both exist and persist, in Easter’s light.
In other words, resurrection is not a cancellation of the Cross;
what went before is not a mistake.
The way of love and vulnerability, of strength in weakness, of self-giving,
remains the way.
The wounded, hungry, resurrected Jesus is recognisible,
because he embodies/is consistent, with the Jesus who went before;
(the Jesus who) emerged dripping from Jordan’s waters,
wrestled decisions in the desert,
warmed himself by campfires, drank wine in people’s homes,
appreciated the fragrance of precious oils, wept at a friend’s grave,
knew anger at injustice and prayed in time of fear in Gethsemane –
and finally, fought for breath at public execution.

That is the invitation in:
“It is I myself. Me. The one you know. Touch and see.”
That is the power and promise of the resurrection.
The Son of Man – the human one - does not return manicured and mended –
the scars are reminder that he has travelled through his ordeal, not round it.
The “gardener,” meeting Mary by an unexplained and empty tomb;
a stranger, walking the Emmaus road with grieving disciples;
words of peace to those scared, behind locked doors –
early evidence, that God will also accompany us through, not round,
our own ordeals, past, present, or yet to come.
As some of today’s headlines declare: “Mam, you are not alone.”

Look at my hands. It is I, myself.
The one you love, and the one who loves you.
There is no fear, no separation or loneliness now, you cannot face.
Put your trust in me – just as now, I put my trust in you.
“You are witnesses of these things.”

“You are my witnesses.
When the world looks for the risen Christ,
when they want to know what that means, it is us they look at.
Not our pretty faces and sincere eyes, but our hands and feet –
what we have done with them and where we have gone with them.” B Brown Taylor

Sermon 25th APRIL 2021, 4th SUNDAY OF EASTER


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. …
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.
I have received this command from my Father.” John 10

In recent days there has been much about a so-called, European Super League.
The proposed formation of a competition of about a dozen of Europe’s most-monied clubs.
Had it progressed, it would have ensured a platform for the invited clubs to participate without fear of ever being removed from a highly lucrative cartel.
The lead voice, the Chairman of one of the club’s announced grandly
that the initiative was: “To save football.”
It might well have saved the chosen clubs in the competition,
but it seemed to offer little to all those clubs in leagues and competitions
that would be left behind.
Compared this week (A Thought for the Day, Rev Sam Wells) to the scenes of collapse
when a city is overrun – the lucky few, airlifted to safety on the last helicopter;
the remainder, left to an unknown fate.

To save – or not to save.
At the time of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, retired minister, Revd David Scott
reflected on the image of the funeral, with the Queen, a solitary, masked figure –
a very conscious adhering to the restrictions that have limited pandemic funerals.
Revd Scott linked this identification of monarch and people to an earlier example.
After Buckingham Palace was bombed during the Second World War,
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, said: “I’m glad we’ve been bombed.
It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.
The Princesses would never leave without me, and I couldn’t leave without the King,
and the King will never leave.”

Next month will be the 80th Anniversary of the destruction of the original St Columba’s
by enemy action – a casualty of the Blitz.
In that same month, May 1941, an American photojournalist called Robert Capa
arrived in London. He set about recording images of people and places in London’s East End, which would be published as “The Battle of Waterloo Road.”

Capa was a Hungarian Jew who emigrated to America;
a hard-drinking, poker-playing, womaniser.
As a photojournalist he had already covered wars in Spain and China
before becoming a freelancer for “Life” magazine, during World War II.
In time, he took some of the war’s most enduring images from London’s blitz,
to North Africa, Italy, and the liberation of Paris.
Perhaps his most famous images, are the eleven surviving photos
taken in the initial attack on Omaha Beach, as part of the Americans’ Normandy landings
on D-Day (6th June, 1944); credited with inspiring the fearsome realism
of the opening sequence of “Saving Private Ryan.”

Two years before those D-Day photos an incident in 1942, proved a watershed moment.
Capa was in England, frustrated by his inability to get near to the war;
no proximity, meant no pay.
One day he visited an American air base at Chelveston, outside London.
There, the Flying Fortress aircraft had just commenced daylight bombing raids into Germany.
Capa spent time with the crewmen. They listened to Bob Hope on the radio.
The mission was called. Twenty-four planes took off.
Six hours later, only seventeen returned.

One of the returning planes crash landed on the airfield.
Several of the crew had been killed or wounded.
Capa ran towards the plane as it slid to a halt on the turf runway.
A hatch opened. A severely injured crewman was handed out to waiting medics.
Two fatalities followed. The last man out was the pilot.
Instinctively, Capa moved closer to get a shot.
The traumatised pilot turned angrily on the American:
“Is this what you were waiting for?”

Capa snapped his camera shut, left the airfield without saying another word.
On the train back to London he vowed he would no longer be an “undertaker.”
If he had to attend funerals, then he would have to be part of the procession.
Combatants would only tolerate his presence if he shared their experience.

The change, wrought by that airfield incident, came to fruition in the Omaha Beach images.
Normandy veterans who only saw the photos many years later, were moved.
One commented: “He must have wanted those photographs very badly.”
Others noted that in all of Capa’s work they could not see a single image of violence;
only pictures of beauty and sadness.
“They show so many moments in which the human spirit triumphs over adversity and evil.”

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
When we talk of footballing Super Leagues, Princesses and the Blitz or war photographers,
I guess we risk - has this anything to do with our own small-scale, peace-time lives?
Indeed, does talk of shepherds and sheep resonate at all with I-phone life
and home-delivery shopping?

There are of course, still shepherds;
the demands and dependencies of farming life
are still critical to our world.
James Rebanks, gives contemporary voice to this.
His family have kept sheep in Matterdale in Cumbria for some six hundred years.
Rebanks himself, left school at sixteen but later went on to study at Oxford,
before returning to the family farm.
In his books The Shepherd's Life, and English Pastoral
he conveys a deep rootedness and understanding of place.
“The longer I am here, the clearer I hear the music of this valley.”
The distinction between me and this place blurs
and when they set me in the earth here
it will be the conclusion of a life-long story of return.
[The I and the me fades away, erodes with each passing day,
until it is already an effort to remember who I am
and why I am supposed to matter.]
The modern world worships the idea of the self, the individual; but it’s a gilded cage.
There is another kind of freedom in becoming absorbed in a little life on the land.
In a noisy age, I think perhaps trying to live quietly might be a virtue.”
James Rebanks, “English Pastoral”

Contemporary shepherd, Reebanks certainly offers wisdom for our age –
particularly through his careful stewarding of the land.
He also acknowledges the toughness of the shepherd’s life.
This connects to the biblical image, so associated with Jesus.
The Good Shepherd is a whole lot more than Sunday School cuddly lambs.
Jesus’ shepherd inhabits the edges of polite society; untamed places.
His life involves danger, in contrast to the hireling shepherd –
who will scarper in moment of crisis, (“Take the helicopter out…”)
viewing sacrificial shepherding as absurd.
Jesus’ shepherd is in it for the long haul.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.

This week, both Kirk Sessions - St Columba’s, Pont Street and St Andrew’s, Newcastle
have met. Both congregations face situations and challenges, specific to different contexts;
yet both face some commonalities.
All of us, committed church member, or curious passer-by
are feeling our tentative way into the “new normal.”
Trying to discern what will endure from times past
and what will emerge from new circumstances.
The power to lay down, and the power to take up.

One suggestion, is that we may be less seduced by things
we have gone without in recent times, that were less than good –
we may choose to travel abroad less often,
we may accept that some produce is harder to get,
embrace eating seasonal, local produce.

Alternatively, we may continue with things adopted in recent times –
a better appreciation of the world around us,
a desire to walk/cycle more,
a better attempt to look out for our neighbours,
a valuing of touch, listening and friendship.

“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us –
and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.
How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods
and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
(See I John 3:16-24)

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.

We use cookies to maintain login sessions, analytics and to improve your experience on our website. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies and Privacy Policy.