Thursday, 5 December 2019

1. Pont Street Church of Scotland: December 2019

The 1950 building
On Sunday 1st December 2019 (appropriately the first Sunday of the new Church Year: Advent 1) I started a rather unusual Sabbatical.  Instead of taking the traditional three-month period away from church life, I’ve opted, instead, to have about twelve Sundays ‘off’ over the coming months.  My task, after thirty-two years of standing in a pulpit most weeks, is to attend various churches as a worshipper. To learn again what it feels like to encounter a service not as its planner but as a participant – to get a view from the pew!

So, on Sunday we took the Tube from Amersham to Knightsbridge and walked behind Harrods to the imposing white building that is St Columba’s, Church of Scotland.

Interior before worship
We were given a warm greeting by a friendly steward at the door and she indicated the sanctuary was upstairs.  The building felt familiar almost straight away.  It had that simplicity, yet dignity, I’ve always associated with Presbyterian and Free Churches – an atmosphere not dissimilar to that of Amersham Free Church.

Notices Sheet
The service was to include the baptism of three children, so some family groups were coming together in the front pews.  Members and friends were greeting each other – one gentleman resplendent in a kilt!

We were handed a printed order of service with notices.  Some church officials wore badges and I found this quite reassuring as it felt to me as if they were taking the act of welcome seriously and thoughtfully.

After five minutes of splendid  organ music the service began with the Beedle proceeding the minister, The Revd Angus MacLeod, up the aisle carrying a bible.

Order of Service
The service was easy to follow because the instructions were so clear.  The Revd MacLeod led the worship with much good humour, grace and dignity.  His sermon was engaging and intelligent and something of his deep and sincere faith was warmly communicated. The professional choir of just six voices sang beautifully.

Hymn Book
After the service we made our way downstairs, firstly for coffee and then for lunch.  St Columba’s provide lunch every Sunday!  We enjoyed a roastbeef meal for just £3.50!  Apparently, there are nine teams serving in rotation week by week.  By chance we sat next to a lovely lady who serves as an elder of the church who knows the Reid family back in Amersham – so we had much to talk about!  She told us that basically everyone, apart from the Minister, travels in to Pont Street from the outskirts of London.

Christmas Services Leaflet
We left after lunch with a glad heart.  We had encountered such lovely and sincere people and such a warm-hearted minister and both of us were in no doubt that if we lived nearer this is the sort of church we would be privileged to belong to.

I guess the Burns Supper is a big event for a Church of Scotland congregation! We were invited!

1 comment:

  1. I have often worshipped at St Columbas over the years and always found it very welcoming.


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