West Kirk Blog

Desert Island Discs

Now we banish another member to a desert island, maybe it would be a nice change in the midst of this lockdown… this week we hear from Davy Kane…

How great is our God  – Chris Tomlin  

This song for me, puts God right at the very centre of our lives. He alone paid the sacrifice for me and for you. It tells me that He is worthy of all our praises and reminds us of verses like Psalm145 V 3 “ Great is the Lord and most worthy of Praise. His greatness no-one can fathom”

It speaks to me of God who is eternal, unchanging and who controls our time from beginning to end. In these uncertain days we can rest in the knowledge that our great unchanging God is ever with us.


Thy Mercy  My God  – Northland Church    

This song was first written in 1776 by John Stocker, while we would consider it a modern song, it has been around for a while. I like the idea of an old songs lyrics being given a modern tune. 

Personally it helps me realise that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace, which is given freely to us, through Jesus Christ the crucified Son of God. We were created by Him and for Him  and not just a random collection of elements  brought together. God is alive in me day by day as I continually walk with Him. Without His mercy, we just could not survive in this sinful, broken world. Despair would overcome us. Hebrews 4: 16 “Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Whom Shall I Fear – Chris Tomlin  

I know who goes before me and who goes behind – God daily surrounds us with His love and care. He knows our past and our future. Nothing or no one can stand in His way, not even the gates of Hell. He holds the whole world in His hands. He holds Me and you. Psalm 27: 1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear. The Lord is a stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid”  We should be looking to the future with our hope firmly placed in Christ. As His children we have no need to fear.

Glorious Day (Living He Loved me) – Casting Crowns 

Another old song brought up to date. This song tells the story of the whole bible. The story of God and what He has done. How He loves me and you and what He has done to rescue us. This song is the gospel from Genesis to Revelation in a nutshell. It speaks to me and you about Christ’s great  sacrifice, our rescue and the hope of eternal life with Christ. A sure and certain hope that one day we will be with Jesus forever. What a glorious day that will be. Something we should be looking forward to. John 14: 3, “If I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am , there you may be also.” Titus 2: 13, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the Glory of our Great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus.” 

Drive In Church –

Sunday 31st May

For more information on Drive In Church click here

Desert Island Discs

In this week’s edition of Desert Island Discs we hear from Micheal Waddell, Michael serves as an elder in West Kirk and also day to day he works with Belfast City Mission, we love how his choices tell us a bit about his life and testimony… Thanks Michael.

Psalm 100 – All people that on earth do dwell

When I was born I had an older brother Peter and my parents who took us to Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church in Bangor where Peter and I were born. I have little remembrance of those early years but when we moved to Lisburn I do remember singing in a children’s choir in Railway Street Presbyterian Church and seeing my parents up in the gallery, watching me sing. A few months before my 7th birthday my father got a job in Ballymena and we were on the move again. My younger brother David was born not long after we arrived there. We settled in the town and our parents joined Wellington Street Presbyterian Church. Music was part of our upbringing and experience as children, particularly in church. I did enjoy Psalm singing and Psalm 100 has been a favourite for many years of my life, even when I joined the choir as an adult in Wellington Street Presbyterian. What an amazing picture this Psalm gives us, of the people of this world singing together in praise of a great God. Surely it is relevant to our times as we all face a pandemic in this world. This prayer of praise wants more people to turn to worship our God. May we praise Him more.

God is still on the throne

This little chorus takes me back to my days in the 2nd Ballymena B.B. Company.  I joined them as a Robin (1971), then a Junior Section member and finally a Company Section member.  I enjoyed the marching, sports and the Bible class too.  I was converted at 13 in that church and many good officers helped me in my faith.  This chorus was a favourite at the Bible class and showed us a God who was the king who controlled His world.  This chorus has been brought back to me in recent years, as we often sing it in our chorus times in our meetings in Canton Street Mission Hall.  Again, it is good to know the truth of this in these strange days.

There is a green hill far away

It is good to find out the background to the hymns that we sing and this one was written by Cecil Francis Alexander, who was born in Dublin, in the 19th century and became known as a poet and hymn writer. She was married to a Church of Ireland clergyman, William Alexander, who later became the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, based in St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry. This is the period when Cecil wrote this well known children’s hymn, we understand. She writes of “…a green hill far away, outside a city wall…”, which speaks of Christ’s death outside the city of Jerusalem on Calvary’s hill, but she lived in Londonderry, a city with walls and green hills around it, which may have helped her write the hymn originally.

I was up in St Columb’s Cathedral, in Londonderry, as part of a holiday in 2018. I found a small room in the Cathedral which showed the history of this christian couple, including paintings of each of them on the wall of that room. I bought a small biographical book about her and the man in the shop area, gave me another free booklet about her too. I love the words, which are simple but deep in meaning and show us what Jesus did on the cross for sinners like us who need to repent of their sin and believe in Him. May God continue to save people from their sin today.

In Christ Alone

This piece also has a connection with a local couple, Keith and Kristyn Getty, who are known as hymn writers, now living in U.S.A.  I believe Keith had the idea and Stuart Townend (English singer/songwriter), with Keith’s idea wrote it.  The words again are deep and very meaningful to many across the world today.  I have chosen it for two family funerals and recently, when being ordained as a new elder, in West Kirk, I asked for it to be sung as part of our service.  So, it has connections with my past, but I really see it as a great piece of music which sums up the work of salvation of Jesus Christ on the cross.  I hope we all appreciate the words too.

Book

I have read many books over the years and my favourite type are biographies/autobiographies.  One that I particularly enjoyed recently is called, ‘C. S. Lewis; A Life’ by Alister McGrath.  It gives us a story, in 400+ pages, of the Belfast man, who ends up in England as an academic, in Oxford and later Cambridge.  He had Church of Ireland connections here but strayed into atheism, and then later in life was converted to Christ.  McGrath, who also is from Northern Ireland, ended up in the university world too.  He brings out some truths and teachings of God’s word that came through C S Lewis’s books and broadcasts.  I enjoyed reading about this well known man from East Belfast and I would enjoy it as a special book.

Luxury Item

I think I would enjoy a sketch pad and colouring pencils.  This sounds like two items, maybe a bit greedy of me.  Something arty like that would be good to have on a beautiful island setting

Postcards From Philippi

On Sunday our sermon series is “The Lockdown Letter”. It’s based in the letter of St Paul to the Philippians. In this short video series, we will hear from Acts 16 which records the planting of the church in Philippi. This Church seems to be established ‘against the odds’. Everything about it seems unlikely as we will see when we start to meet the founding members. The very fact that Paul ends up in Philippi at all is not according to plan. Peter kicks the series off in the clip below.

Postcards From Philippi Part 1

Desert Island Discs – Part 4


Roy says “Choosing just 4 items of praise out of the dozens (perhaps 100’s!) that we sing is no easy task, but here goes.”

‘Behold the Lord upon His throne, His face is shining like the sun.

I love worship so I begin with a song that exults in praising the Lord. This hymn using some of the imagery of Revelation chapter 1 and as it lifts up the exalted Lord Jesus it reminds us of the awe and reverence with which we should approach God in worship and in it we also encourage each other and the whole creation to praise God:
‘So let our praises ever ring to Jesus Christ our glorious King.
All heaven and earth resound as we cry “Worthy is the Son of God”’

Blessed Be The Everlasting God

As someone who has been a fairly convinced Presbyterian (actually very convinced!) all my life the Metrical Psalms and Paraphrases have been important to me. So my second choice is a paraphrase (61) of some wonderful verses in 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5.
‘Bless’d be the everlasting God, the Father of our Lord;
Be His abounding mercy praised, His majesty adored.’

This song majors on the hope God has given us through the resurrection of Jesus, the hope of a glorious inheritance, and the certainty that God will keep us safe until we experience our inheritance.
Saints by the power of God are kept till the salvation come:
We walk by faith as strangers here, but Christ shall call us home.’

An additional reason for choosing this paraphrase is that it was one of the 3 items of praise Jean and I chose for our wedding.

Thank You For The Cross Lord

My third choice is a beautiful, modern song that takes us to the heart of the gospel: ‘Thank you for the cross, Lord, thank you for the price you paid.’ As well as acknowledging what Jesus was achieving for us at great cost on the cross the song goes on to give glory to Him, now seated on the throne. It ends with the repeated phrase ‘Worthy is the Lamb’, surely good practice for the praise we’ll sing in heaven.

Not What These Hands Have Done

I’m grateful for the wide range of praise we sing in West Kirk and I rejoice that there are many excellent contemporary writers of hymns and spiritual songs, notably Getty and Townend. But my favourite hymn writer is still the 19th.century Scottish minister, Horatius Bonar, and my final choice is his words which express my testimony far better than I could write:
‘Not what these hands have done can save this guilty soul,
Not what this toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.’

It’s a hymn which states that I have done nothing, nor could do anything to be saved; my salvation is totally because of God’s love and grace and Christ’s saving work. So my response is this:
‘I bless the Christ of God, I rest on love divine’
And with unfaltering lips and heart, I call this Saviour mine.’

A Book – The Cross of Christ by John Stott

I’m glad you are allowing me to take my Bible. I have a big NIV Bible which is in a box, so I’ll take it with me having sneaked in under the Bible the Westminster Confession of Faith (but don’t tell anybody!)
I have profited greatly over the years by reading works written by some of the Reformers and Puritans and a range of recent and contemporary authors such as James Packer, Don Carson and John Piper. But my favourite writer remains the late John Stott. Many of his books have been an encouragement and challenge to me, but none more so than ‘The Cross of Christ’ which takes us to the very heart of the gospel; that’s the book I would take with me.

Luxury

I have no greater luxury than Jean, but I assume human company is not allowed on the desert island, and an electronic device would be of little use as you can’t recharge by plugging it into a palm tree. So I will choose to take a photo album filled with photos taken on a wonderful night recently when all 18 members of our family were together celebrating Jean and my 80th.birthdays.

VE Bank Holiday Weekend Video

This Weekend marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Had we been meeting for Worship we would have marked this in a significant way. Dave has recorded this thought on this week’s Selfie Sermon

Desert Island Discs – Part 3

Today we hear from Norman Windrum as he is marooned on an Island off the coast of somewhere… How will Norman cope? What will he listen to? Let’s find out…

Just As I Am Without One Plea

Before I became a Christian I was haunted by this hymn. I was under conviction of sin for quite a while, but was fighting like mad to escape having to do anything about it. It seemed to me that the church I went to at the time picked this hymn to sing every couple of weeks or so, merely to torment me, and when I look back I can see that that was probably the case. It got to the point that when I was singing it in church I would sing the first three lines of each verse, but close my mouth when it came to the last line. Thus I would sing “Just as I am though tossed about; with many a conflict, many a doubt; fightings and fears within, without”; but would then remain silent for “O Lamb of God I come”. I’m happy to say that in November 1955 I eventually sang that last line, and meant it, but I will never forget that hymn. It’s never sung that often in church nowadays, but when it is I’m back in 1955.

I Want My Life To Tell For Jesus

Many years ago I used to sing in a male-voice quartet, and this was one of the pieces we would sing. We sang in lots of churches and mission halls, but of all the hymns we sang, this one in particular used to challenge me. Words like “That everywhere I go, men may His goodness know, I want my life to tell for Jesus”.

One of the verses went

“I want my life with Jesus hid, That I may do what He shall bid, I want to love as Jesus did, I want my life to tell for Jesus”. I know only too well that in lots of ways I have failed miserably to do that.

Now Thank We All Our God

This hymn was chosen by Jean for our wedding service, and I love it because the words remind me of (not only our wedding) but of God’s goodness to us both over the years. “Who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way, with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today”. It is also a hymn that ends with a prayer which is so relevant these days; “O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us, and keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed, and free us from all ills in this world and the next”.

The Trumpet Shall Sound

This is not a hymn sung in church, but a bass solo from Handel’s “Messiah”. Most people when they think of Handel’s masterpiece think about the Halllelujah chorus, which is indeed inspiring, but I particularly love “The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, shall be raised incorruptible”. To be raised is mighty enough, but to be raised incorruptible is something else, and is entirely due to God’s amazing grace and Jesus’ work on the cross.

Book – The Wolf Hall Trilogy

Well, I’m going to cheat just a little, because I’m choosing three books in one, if you like. It’s Hilary Mantel’s trilogy “Wolf Hall”, “Bring up the Bodies”, and “The Mirror and the Light”. Ever since my schooldays I have been interested in history, and these tell the story of the life of Thomas Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell is perhaps best known for being instrumental in engineering the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he could lawfully marry Anne Boleyn, which of course resulted in the King proclaiming himself “Supreme Head of the Church of England”. Cromwell also worked to further the cause of the Reformation in England, and while most of that was in the political arena, he opposed such practices as the selling of indulgences, and one of his principal achievements was the publication of Miles Coverdale’s Great Bible in English. In fact it was because he went too far in his pursuit of seeking to change the established religion which was to lead ultimately to his downfall and execution. An enigmatic, complex, and indeed controversial individual, every time I read Mantel’s account I pick up on different aspects of his character. I find the man totally fascinating, and with the three volumes adding up to around 2000 pages I should have enough to keep me going for a while. And of course I’m allowed the Bible as well.

Luxury Item

An inexhaustible supply of gluten-free pasta.


Mums’ Village

Mums’ Village, like everything else, is off at the minute. Rebecca is on furlough, but as it’s Maternal Mental Health week we’re going to be hearing from Mums’ Village this week on the blog and Facebook. The mums are keeping in touch and continuing to keep each other sane during lockdown isolation, homeschooling and furlough they are shraing encouragement and rants. Through the week we will hear something from the Mums from the village.

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What is Mums’ Village?

Mums’ Village is a pretty new thing for West Kirk. We wanted to try and build a community or family for women at every stage of motherhood and here’s 3 reasons why:

  1. Rebecca spent her first year on the Road meeting lots mums from every walk of life. Married, single, older kids, newborn babies, working, staying at home… and they all had one thing in common – they were absolutely frazzled!!! The role of being a mother is a specific kind of burden and we wondered who is supporting the mothers when they are struggling? Who is mothering the mothers?
  2. From Rebecca’s own experience of becoming a single mum to Reuben at 18, the only thing that helped get her out of a very dark and destructive place was the community of people around her. She used to joke ‘It takes a village to raise a Reuben’ – years later she still finds that the day-to-day craziness of motherhood is extremely hard without a community.
  3. At West Kirk we are Christians who love Jesus, whose lives have been changed by him and we are always looking for ways to show his love to others. Jesus cared deeply for women and mothers and the Bible tells older women to look after younger women – to teach them and support them and walk through the hardships of life with them.
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We pray that all mothers whether they have babies or grand-babies will find their ‘village’. When this is all over, Mums’ Village will return, there will be a warm welcome for any new mums

Desert Island Discs – Part 2

We continue our series where the elders tell us the music that would help them through the isolation of a desert island, maybe their choices will help us in our current lockdown.. today we hear from Fred Maginnis. Spoiler alert…Fred hasn’t picked “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, we’re all surprised by that. Let’s hear what he has chosen…

I Stand Amazed In The Presence 

I was introduced to Jesus by two ladies I didn’t even know many years ago. They helped me understand who Jesus is and made me realize my need for Jesus.  

I Do Not Know What Lies Ahead

During these uncertain times with its many problems large and small I certainly  know who holds the future.

O God of Bethel

We had this song played at our wedding nearly fifty years ago and he has had his wings around us ever since.

Faithful One So Unchanging

He provides for all our needs and he’s always there when we need him most.

Book – A Good Minister of Jesus Christ

My book is ‘Robert Murray M’Cheyne; A Good Minister of Jesus Christ’ by J. C. Smith. A book you can read again and again.

Luxury item 

My luxury is a giant box of wine gums.

The Maynard’s Wine Gums Ad from 1993

Selfie Sermon – Psalm 31

Here’s one short thought from Psalm 31… we want to try posting these short “sermons” for folks to send to their friends who might not normally go to church.

Desert Isalnd Discs – Part 1

 It is encouraging to hear one another’s stories of walking with Jesus. We thought it might be a good idea to do something on the blog that will allow us to learn from our elders. You might be familiar with the Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs. We thought it would be good to try someting along these lines with something from each of the Elders. Instead of taking everyday records to the Island we asked each elder to have a think about four songs (psalms, hymns, worship songs, choruses, congregational or performance pieces) that have been important in their walk with Jesus. We also asked them to pick a book (apart form the Bible, we’ll let you have that!) and a luxury item. We will post a few contributuons up each week.  First up… George, our most recently ordained elder and the bass player in the praise band.

Oh for a thousand tongues to sing… Written in 1739; The Church in which I grew up was Ballylinney Presbyterian.  I have some great memories from those days and some embarrassing stories which I have been told about which I can’t remember because I was too young!  Needless to say, I have fond memories of the congregational singing.  It was all traditional songs back then, hymns, psalms and paraphrases, and those were the days when choirs were still going strong. The choir in Ballylinney was no exception, I can still remember all the faces especially the five strong bass section, I think that’s where I get my love for bass from, (oh! and I can’t forget my own Aunt Shirley, what a voice!   Anyway, back to the song.)  When I was young I loved to sing the powerful and uplifting songs that seemed to get everyone fired up (I still do).  I probably didn’t think about the words as much as I should have but I know now that the words in this hymn are great and for me the title says it all, Oh for a thousand tongues to sing!  That’s what we really want, more and more people singing praise to God with great enthusiasm as they come to know him and trust him as their Saviour!

The Heart of worship. Written in 1999 – Fast forward a decade or two and I find myself in Westkirk sitting in the congregation.  The praise band is beginning to take shape and I think to myself “I’d love to be part of that, but what could I do?  Would they want me?  Wouldn’t it be great if they asked me to join! ” Guess what, none of them were mind readers!    What did I do about it?  Nothing!   Later that year I attended a BB training weekend at Ganaway (what a place).  On the Sunday there was a morning service at which a local praise band played and they were great!  They really inspired me through their skilful playing but even more than that was one of the songs they played, one I had never heard before, it was called “The heart of worship” by Matt Redman.  The words of this song really struck me and actually left me speechless.  The first verse went, “ When the music fades, all is stripped away , and I simply come, longing just to bring, something that’s of worth, that will bless your heart.”  I knew instantly that God was telling me to get my act together and start serving Him in a new way.  Within days I had spoken to some of the praise band and before I knew it I was handed a bass guitar, pink and heart shaped (thanks to Hannah Speers!),  and told to get on with it.  So, with the help of the internet, I started to teach myself the bass guitar and the rest as they say is history!  Another line from that song is “It’s all about you Jesus” and for us in the praise band that is so true. Our main aim is to serve God, serve the congregation of Westkirk, and make sure that it’s all about Jesus.  Do you have any talents that you could use to serve God with?  If the answer is yes then don’t be like me, don’t wait to be asked.   Come forward and get stuck in now, you won’t regret it!

Hark the herald angels sing. Written in 1739 – This time I have gone for a Christmas hymn, there are so many of them that I love but I think this is my favourite.   The lyrics were first written in 1739 by Charles Wesley but they were adapted by a few other people to the words we know and love today.  The tune was composed by Mendelssohn and a great tune it is in my opinion!   For me it is the perfect Christmas hymn because it is a real celebration of the birth of Jesus and it tells us why he came to earth.  He came to humbly die for us on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God, be spiritually reborn and one day be with God in heaven.  It’s just such a great song to sing and for me it’s not really Christmas until we have sung it!

My dwelling place (Psalm 91)  – This is a song by Keith and Kristyn Getty, based on Psalm 91, which was released in 2018.  I recently rediscovered it just as our current coronavirus situation kicked off.  I had heard it before but this time the words of the first verse really stood out.  “My dwelling place is God most high, my refuge and my fortress, when plague and pestilence draw nigh, I’m hidden in His presence, when terrors fall and arrows fly, His shield will be my safety, when stones across my pathway lie, on angels wings I’m carried.”  I have listened to this song countless times over the last few weeks and read Psalm 91 on which it is based because it really is a comfort to know that as a Christian, I really am being looked after by God himself even through the worst of times.  I recommend that you do the same just to remind yourself of this great truth.  On another level, this is simply a lovely song, beautifully written with a wonderful tune but what else would you expect from Northern Irelands own Keith and Kristyn Getty.  We along with countless people world-wide sing their songs week in and week out and I could have picked any number of them but My Dwelling Place is my current favourite and most relevant for today.  I recommend that you look up the live version featuring guitarist Phil Keaggy, it’s well worth a listen!

The Book

I have an interest in World Wars One and Two, and also the Vietnam War.  I have read quite a few books on these subjects. I recently read a book called Vietnam which was a series of interviews with people from both sides of the conflict and from all walks of life, from the poorest Vietnamese peasant to the President of the USA.  It was a fascinating read and some of the personal stories were truly heartbreaking.  Having said that, there were also stories of real heroism and human kindness too.  I find it fascinating to read of the lengths man will go to in order to destroy his fellow man through war and terror.  I am just so glad that as Christians, we can look forward to a better time when all of these things will be wiped away and we will live in a perfect place, worshiping God for ever!

Luxury Item – Heinz Tomato Ketchup

Luxurious!

Anyone who really knows me could probably guess this quite easily.  All I can say is if I am marooned on some desert island, eating unspeakable things in order to survive then I’m going to need some Heinz Tomato Ketchup to disguise the taste!  There is nothing that can’t be improved with a squirt of red sauce!!

Preaching Out Of Season

As I approach another Lord’s Day it dawns on me, that this week again, we will not be meeting together for worship. I never actually forget this, it just hits me afresh again and again throughout the week. I am thankful that because of technology we are able to post elements of worship online and print and send out material that will aid God’s people as they read from the Bible and pray in their own homes. Since this lockdown started and we have been forced to stop meeting together I have refused to call this ‘worship’. As this goes on, for me it feels more and more like a poor substitute. I can’t wait until that day comes when we can gather again for worship. The thing that brings me down is the prospect that this will be a long time away; I try to put this out of my mind.

This is really weird!!

As I sit down to record the video that will go out on Sunday, the thing that has encouraged me in these times is something that was written about preaching over 350 years ago, The Westminster Larger Catechism. The Catechism considers the Word of God and Preaching in Questions 154-160. Here is the text from question 159 on preaching:

Q159. How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called?

A. They that are called to labour in the ministry of the Word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely, applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously, with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory, and their conversion, edification, and salvation.

The words of the catechism here have been a great encouragement to me in these days… if ever we were preaching ‘out of season’ it must be now! I bring them to mind when I sit to record my ‘sermon’ each week, as I speak to a camera in my living room rather than to my dear sisters and brothers. These words remind me that although it’s not face to face in the context of public worship, as a minister of God’s Word I am still called to labour in the ministry to which I have been called. There is a lot that feels diminished when preparing to preach to a camera, but I must continue to strive to be diligent, plain, faithful, wise, zealous, and loving. I must keep the glory of God and the good of God’s people in mind as I work hard learning to communicate over video, and as I print and post booklets to members homes. When we gather for worship my friends are before me, as lead and preach I’m serving those in front of me. In these lockdown days I strive on remembering that they are not empty actions. I am not preaching to a camera, but lovingly serving the souls to which I am called. This strange work becomes a delight when I remember that God will use this word preached ‘out of season’ for conversion, edification and salvation of all who hear and read the word in their own homes.

Now a word for all who listen; although we receive the sermon via video or written text, we need to remember that we have a responsibility to hear and receive the Word of God, again the Westminster Larger Catechism has some good advice for those who listen;

Q160. What is required of those that hear the Word preached? 

A. It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

So as you sit at home and listen in, it might feel like ‘out of season’ preaching, but this statement reminds us how we are to receive the Word of God however it comes to us.

Prayer For North Belfast Presbytery

North Belfast Presbytery Prayer

3-4pm Sunday 19 April 2020

We hope that this list is an encouragement to you all to pray for the Congregations and work of Presbytery. Everyone was asked to contribute a few points for prayer, some are longer than others. (I thought they were just looking a wee paragraph!?!). We have been encouraged to pray between 3 and 4pm that afternoon for Presbytery:

North Belfast Presbytery

Abbey

Give thanks for positive engagement with people of all ages especially through our Facebook page and pray that witness and encouragement will be shared well beyond the congregation.

Give thanks that all our members have been discharged from hospital and pray for those who are vulnerable and isolated, and also for members working in the health service.

Give thanks for our partnership with Churches and community groups in “Meals for Monkstown” and pray it will be both a practical help and a witness at this time.

Pray that we will be wise in terms of the financial impact, the delay in building works, and what we learn from this time – what our new normal should look like.

Abbotts Cross

Pray for the ongoing work of foodbank and for creativity as we try to expand what the Congregation is doing in ministry to one another.

Alexandra –

Thanksgiving for the ways in which people are engaging with worship online. Especially family members of committed members who are now sitting down to watch/listen to the services and being reached with God’s word

Thanksgiving also for those who are taking part in services, with readings, prayers, kids talks and those helping to produce CD & DVDs to be distributed

For the Lord’s wisdom over how the Kirk Session can continue to pastorally support the congregation in new ways, for however long this situation lasts

For older & more vulnerable members of our congregation who are into their 5th or 6th week of isolation, meaning very little contact with others

For all of our church family who are struggling with the loss of fellowship they have experienced at the moment

For those recently bereaved in our congregation, who have not had the same opportunities to grief as they normally would

Ballygomartin

The Congregation remains vacant at present. 

Pray for all the members of the congregation particularly affected by the current restrictions, who feel the loneliness and isolation so much.

Also for progress to be made soon in the vacancy processparticularly as the application to the Linkage Commission is considered.

Ballyhenry

As a congregation we have, over the past four weeks, been reading through the Psalms, day by day. Give thanks for the way in which this has given shape to our life together in these days.

Each Sunday we are continuing with our morning service using Zoom. Pray that God will meet with us week by week as we gather for worship in this way.

Pray for a deepening of fellowship at this time, thankful for those who are helping each other in practical ways (such as doing shopping and keeping in touch by phone).

Like many congregations we have a deep sense of operating far beyond what we know, or control at this time. Pray that the Lord will guide and use us at this time for His honour, and that in this time of collective weakness we will know the Spirit’s strengthening, encouragement and keeping.

Ballysillan.

Pray for the Elders as they seek to lead the congregation and pastorally care spiritual and practically for their changing needs of the church family. 

Pray that we would know the Lords clear leading as we work out how to best minister to a wide range of ages and circumstances within church. 

Pray for the opportunities we will have to give an account of where our trust and hope is, in this time of worry and anxiety.

We have a number of people who are in longterm isolation due to being vulnerable or immune-compromised. Pray for their emotional and spiritual welfare as even being with family can’t happen. 

Give thanks for our ability to enable worship to happen online- it only increases our appetite to get together but we are grateful to be able to worship in spirit. 

Carnmoney

Pray for the work being done to keep people connected and encourage everyone who is isolated.

Pray for the ongoing important work of the Foodbank

Pray for the work of ‘Central’ Church Plant as it takes root and continues to grow.

Pray for all who remain in hospital and need vital treatment and their families who wait for news of their loved one.

Eglinton

Give thanks that so many people are proving to be very resilient in the mists of lockdown. For those who serve in the NHS and in other vital areas of public and retail life. That the online broadcasts are being heard by more people than we normally reach each week

For those mourning the loss of loved ones, struggling with physical illness and the impact of isolation. For protection for those at risk. For all in positons of leadership in church and society, that they may have great wisdom as they face their responsibilities. That as gospel seed is sown online God’s people will be encouraged and those who do not yet know Jesus will be saved

Glengormley

Pray please for our vacancy, as everything is suspended, that the elders and convenors would continue to show leadership and everyone else manages to keep virtual relationships going.

Bereaved families – 4 in the last couple of weeks – unable to comfort each other in the conventional manner

Congregational members who are on their own and now confined to the house

Those members of the congregation in frontline services

Newington

The congregation remains without a minister of their own at this time. Pray for the Convener, Rev Ivan Neish, as he gives leadership and pastoral care to the Congregation. Also pray for plans and preparation which will ultimately lead to an amalgamation with the nearby congregation of Alexandra.

New Mossley

We give thanks that many in the congregation are accessing weekly services uploaded to YouTube by our vacancy convener.

Pray for God’s protection for all working in His Name wherever they are.

Pray for the mental health of those who are isolated and lonely, and those who are in the NHS and dealing with this situation daily.

Rathcoole

Pray for our community in Rathcoole. Pray for the community response, churches and other organisations acting together to meet people‘s practical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Pray for our church in Rathcoole. Give thanks for those who continue in worship, fellowship and mission. Pray that we would be called, particularly in These circumstances and in this season, to repentance. Pray that we would continue to know God’s blessing and provision in these days. Pray that we would continue to grow in knowledge of his word and in love of our faithful saviour Jesus.

Pray for our world. Pray for those fighting the Coronavirus on the frontline of our health service. Pray they would have the strength and resilience to get through this tough time. Pray for those in different levels of government who are coordinating and making decisions regarding how we live our lives.

Rosemary

Give thanks; For helpful and inspiring Holy Week Readings and Reflections from members of Rosemary. For the encouragement of our Prayer 24-7 ‘at home’ event which happened 7.00am on Friday 17 April to 7.00am on Saturday 18thApril

Pray; For North Belfast Foodbank continuing to operate, serving those experiencing food poverty in North Belfast. For people in our congregation who are in NHS and those who are key workers during this time, as well as those unable to visit loved ones in Care Homes and Hospitals. For a continued sense of togetherness and for encouragement to keep our focus on Christ, through letters, WhatsApp or text messages and facebook or website posts

Seaview
Pray for: those disappointed by cancellation of wedding arrangements who are dealing with costs of rearranging and facing postponement of the married life they hoped to begin. For everyone coping with financial hardship and worry as they are made redundant or placed on furlough. For those who are sick but cannot be taken to hospital or must wait for tests to become available. Especially remember those in pain. For those who are close to death but separated from family and friends, and for those family who are heartbroken about being unable to see them. For those in nursing homes and residential homes whose limited contact with others is now even more restricted. For ministers and elders who feel helpless when the pastoral contact they long to give cannot be given. For owners of businesses who must make decisions affecting the livelihoods of fellow workers, employees and friends. For that the online worship services may reach people who would not normally come to church and draw them to faith.

Thank God for the kindness the situation has inspired in so many. Pray that God’s good purposes in all of this will become clear to us.

Sinclair Seamen’s

Many in Sinclair’s have been able to access the weekly services uploaded to YouTube while others have been encouraged and comforted by a pastoral letter.

Members of Sinclair’s have been regularly keeping in touch with each other making sure no one is lacking essentials.

The Lord is sovereign and He is working out His purposes in the world at this exceptional time. There are some connected to Sinclair’s who never attend church but who are watching the recorded services each week on YouTube.

That the Sinclair’s church family will deepen in its knowledge of the Lord and that the vulnerable will be protected from Covid-19.

Children, and their parents, both connected to Sinclair’s Good News Club, and locals, were sent an Easter booklet and a letter with links to Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) online material. Pray that these families will hear the Gospel and come to faith.

Pray that the Lord will protect the physical and mental health of the many young people from the Belfast Urban Sports Park whom we have befriended. We have had no contact with them since lockdown. May the Lord use this difficult time in their lives to speak to them of salvation in Christ.

West Kirk and Crumlin Road

We give thanks for the sense of community amongst the people, demonstrated as we keep in touch over the phone, as members appreciate weekly video and print materials to help in prayer and bible teaching, it’s been described as “a lifeline“ in these days. Pray for West Kirk Community Project as they continue to support people through this lockdown. Give thanks for the community response that has sprung up in the Shankill Road community amongst various community groups. This seems to be serving those in need. Pray for the work towards the amalgamation between Crumlin Road and West Kirk, David has been in touch with all the members of Crumlin Road, pray that even in this difficult time, bonds of fellowship might develop.

Whiteabbey

Give thanks for: The very positive way the congregation is responding at this time, for numbers of people wanting to serve the congregation in different ways, for how the staff team and elders are rising to the challenges, For an increasing number of people accessing our Sunday morning and midweek on-line resources, including many people who have not yet come to faith.

Ask that the Lord would help us take the evangelistic and discipling opportunities open to us at this time will let us all be a “non-anxious presence” (Peter Lynas Evangelical Alliance) witnessing to all around us, help us to learn the lessons He wants us to applyfor our church in the future.

Pray that in all things we would glorify God at this time.

Whitehouse

Give thanks for the ability to broadcast from the church building, giving a sense of familiarity and normalcy, and increasing our sense of continued worship as a congregation.

Give thanks that pastoral care and support is being exercised widely by many members of the church.

Give thanks for an awareness of God in the midst of uncertainty, and an eagerness to see Him working for His glory.

Pray for those recently bereaved who held funeral services under current strict conditions, adding to their sense of grief.

Pray for those who have tested positive for Covid-19: members of Whitehouse, or their friends and family. Ask God for healing and recovery.

Pray for those who already manage chronic health issues, and are fearful of contracting the coronavirus.

Pray that God who dispel the sense of isolation and loneliness and people are unable to leave their homes or spend time with loved ones.

Woodvale

Like every Kirk Session, Woodvale’s will be looking at how we regroup, refocus, and reshape once the lockdown restrictions are relaxed. We pray for an acute awareness of the glory, authority and relevance of God’s Word, a sharpened sense of eternity, and a newly increased love for souls.

Based on Psalm 55:17, our three new activities on the Lord’s day continue: (1) morning worship based on Acts of the Apostles (YouTube); (2) short afternoon devotional (Facebook live); (3) final evening reflection on Matthew’s gospel (text message).

We try to observe our usual weekly timetable by doing something simple to present Christ online for GB, BnB, and Twiglets.

Linda, our Family Outreach Worker, had planned a new initiative pre-coronavirus called Friday FM (Follow Me). This would have been a weekly Friday night event for all children starting early May once GB and BnB had finished. We are praying now for guidance as we move this online.

Some young families don’t have unlimited access to the internet, and so can’t experience our online ministries. Pray for guidance as we explore alternative means to maintain a loving connection with these homes – for instance, recordings on a landline number.

With a public park on our doorstep and some retail businesses nearby, we try to express the love of Christ through the playing of music at certain times of the week.7. The Rev Ken Doherty has been ill for several weeks, and has just returned to chaplaincy work in the Mater this week.

Prayer for the Wider work of North Belfast Presbytery

Pray for the ongoing work of Presbytery at this time for Moderator, Clerk and the Business Commission – that they would have wisdom in transacting necessary businessand give the leadership and support that our Congregations need.

Pray for the members of the finance Panel, under the leadership of Rev Abernethy, as they work to assist and guide Treasurers and Congregations though many complex forms and reports needed by our denomination and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Further plans for the Presbytery Development Panel.Dare we pray we could have the joint Presbytery services on 7th June in Woodvale. 20th September in Seaview will take place and we can again worship and have fellowship together.

Urban Mission Trust.

Give thanks that our Presbytery has the great blessing of the Trust and that it has the resources to be able to help at this time. Also give thanks that so many congregations and Projects have benefitted from Grants from the Trust during the 15 years that it has being in existence.

Pray for the future work of the Trust and that the members will be good stewards of the resources and be guided by the Holy Spirit in the decisions they make regarding futuresGrants.

International Meeting Point 2 North Belfast

Give thanks for the really great start that has been made during the Pilot phase of the work and the creation of the Op Shop, English Classes and Parents and Tots group. Also for all those who have volunteered and given so freely and generously og their time and talents. We also want to thank God for the way He has used Keith Preston to pioneer this work and use his talents and experience to build up this new work.

Pray for the Start of the new Project phase as a assistant leader is recruited to work with Keith to develop the work of the Project and also as a manager is appointed to look after the Op Shop. Finally pray that lives will be changed by this work and that people will come to faith in Jesus.