2014

Parish Magazines: December 2014 – February 2015

Parish Magazines: December 2014 – February 2015

Download the December 2014 – February 2015 Parish Magazine [714kb Adobe PDF Document] Magazine opens in a new window.

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Curate’s Corner: December 2014 – February 2015

Curate’s Corner: December 2014 – February 2015

On Friday 31st October, I drove to Rostrevor in Co. Down with Marlyn. We were going to a team training event organised by CMS Ireland for people intending to go on a mission experience team abroad (META). The intention was to discover whether or not we would join a team going to Shyogwe Diocese in Rwanda in late July/early August next year. When we arrived, we met with about 60 other people who will be going on teams to Nepal, Burundi, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, DR Congo and of course Rwanda. I must confess we were a bit apprehensive before we went, not being sure what to expect. It had all happened quite quickly! But within about 5 minutes of arriving, I felt totally at ease and excited. The enthusiasm of everyone else, along with the organisation of the weekend gave us confidence to commit ourselves to the team. We will be part of a team of seven, three from St. Donard’s in Belfast, one from St. Mark’s Armagh, the team leader from CMS Ireland and ourselves. The purpose of the trip will be to experience life and work in Shyogwe, to learn more about the culture and to offer ourselves to help in any way we can. Further down the line, we hope our experience will help inspire and challenge others from our Parish to come to Rwanda in 2016 or 2017. I believe that our lives will be changed as we encounter a totally different way of life among people who have few material things but are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will worship with them, work with them and learn from them. Our partnership with Shyogwe diocese means that together we can all learn and experience new things. It will be difficult, but I pray it will also be rewarding and challenging. Please remember us in your prayers as we attend training events and meet with our team. Later we will be organising some fundraisers, getting our vaccinations and discovering what exactly we will be doing in Rwanda. Our hope is that we as a Parish will grow in our understanding of life in Rwanda and be enthused by learning about fellow Christians in a totally different culture to ours. Who knows, some of you reading this may be challenged to join a team from the Parish! May our God bless you as you consider how best to continue to serve him and share his love with our neighbour – either here in N. Ireland or wherever he may call us. God bless,...

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From The Rector: December 2014 – February 2015

From The Rector: December 2014 – February 2015

Memories have a way of taking us back. Christmas memories in particular have a way of transporting us right back into our childhood. Memories of Church services are for me,  powerful. Church was a family, a place where others noticed if you were missing. The Matchett clan were often late so it was quite a challenge to find an empty pew in church and inevitably we all had to walk up to the very front of the church. It was tough getting 10 of us out with one bathroom, but we made it. We went to church, we were present. As I grew up I still attended church even at times when my faith in God was deeply challenged and very fragile as our faith can be from time to time for us all.  I knew and still know that I belong in the family of God, that I was meant to be there regardless of what others did, and even when it was hard, discouraging and yes, frustrating. This does not make me a wonderful person, on the contrary it is because I know my deep need of God.  That is why I cannot stay away. I know that many who read our magazine are regular attendees at worship or there are those who are ill and housebound and would love to attend but simply cannot, but this does not account for over 25% of empty pews. There are those who claim to belong to this Parish and never or rarely attend and a further percentage attend on the very odd occasion. This actually breaks my heart, it really does. I am not content with this situation, I’m not happy with the empty seats. Yes, sadly some of those seats are empty because people we have known and loved have passed away in the past year and this has been very difficult, but they would want you to take your place in our churches. There is plenty of room.  Room for you, your family and your gifts. I genuinely want to know what your reasons for not attending church are. I believe it may be a bunch of different things:  get out of the habit, feel that Church is not relevant, not convenient, not welcoming or perhaps you are just not that bothered. Adam and I welcome honest conversations about your reasons.  The season of Advent and Christmas affords us a unique opportunity to engage again with the living God. With God nothing is impossible. With love and gratitude,...

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Parish Magazines: October – November 2014

Parish Magazines: October – November 2014

Download the October – November 2014 Parish Magazine [1.28mb Adobe PDF Document] Magazine opens in a new window.

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Curate’s Corner: October – November 2014

Curate’s Corner: October – November 2014

Over the summer months in Church, we looked at a number of passages from Matthew’s gospel which gave some insight into what it must have been like to be one of the disciples. For three years they followed this man, recognising him as a brilliant teacher and healer, but not really understanding just who this man Jesus was. And then one day the penny dropped. This man Jesus is more than just a man – He is the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. We have the benefit of hindsight and we have the gospels. For us, the picture should be clearer and yet for many, perhaps even you, the penny has still not dropped. For the disciples, the Messiah surely meant freedom from Roman rule and Israel being restored as God’s chosen people. But for God, the Messiah – Jesus Christ – was the means to salvation for all people. For God, the death and resurrection of His Son was the only way He could accept us into His Kingdom, where perfection and purity is in heaven and the only way we can be made perfect before God is for someone perfect to pay the penalty for our sins and mistakes. And the amazing thing is God gives us all a free choice to accept Him or reject Him. For the disciples, they only fully understood after Jesus died and was raised from the dead on that first Easter morning. For me, the penny dropped many years ago and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I pray that as you read this and as you consider who Jesus is to you, you will come to the only conclusion that makes sense. Jesus Christ is alive and is the Son of God. The next step is for you and me to follow him and give our lives to serving him and each other. Then we can truly live! God bless...

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