I’m planning to send out the latest pastoral letter this week. In an attempt to be a little “greener” and save on paper, as well as time and postal expenses, I am hoping to send some of the letters out by email to those who would be comfortable receiving them via email.
Youth fellowship has also suffered greatly during these pandemic times, so I’ve bought these to help our BGPC teenagers. These “Engage” books are are designed to help teenagers engage with God’s word. If you or your teen would like one, please let me know and I’ll get one out to you.
Bailieborough Group members can request a copy by commenting here or by email or phone.
Also, I want to remind you please just let me know if you’d like a chat about anything.
I know that family Bible time can be difficult, but they are so important for the spiritual development of our children. To help parents, especially in the absence of church Sunday school, I’ve ordered these great little Table Talk books. The books are designed to be quick and easy to use to help you to share in some Bible time with children aged 4 to 12.
Please just let me know you would like a copy for your family and I will get one out to you. Bailieborough Group members can request a copy by commenting here or by email or phone.
PCI’s first digital conference is now available for congregational use. With present restrictions on gatherings, we cannot come together for conferencing and events in the usual way. Instead, we share the challenge and encouragement of this digital conference at this crucial moment of a very irregular season of our denomination’s life and witness.
As part of the new Refined digital programme for supporting and developing congregational life and witness, the conference material offers encouragement to reflect on recent circumstances and seek God’s leading and guiding for this next season of church life together.
Neil Hudson, author of Imagine Church and Scattered and Gathered and a long-standing friend of PCI, brings a voice from outside our denomination, calling us back to God’s Word as we find it in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. A panel discussion teases out the application of some of what Neil has said to us in PCI at this time. Other features invite us to personally reflect and respond to God in prayer and praise.
The first version (50 minutes) features the message from Neil Hudson based on 1 Corinthians 3: 9-17 and a panel discussion between the Moderator, Dr David Bruce and Rev Nigel McCullough, facilitated by Rick Hill, PCI’s Discipleship Development Officer. The conference concludes with a prayer.
The reduced version (28 minutes) of the conference features the message from Neil Hudson based on 1 Corinthians 3: 9-17 and concludes with a prayer.
Due to the rise in cases of COVID-19, the government has decided move the whole country to Stage 3 of the government’s “National Framework for Living with COVID-19” from midnight on Tuesday the 6th of October. This means that church services must go online for at least three weeks.
This has been all over the news this week, so you probably knew all this already, but I wanted to write to encourage you to continue on. Continue to sow seeds. Continue your worship at home. Continue to join me on for the reflections and prayers online. Continue to play your part in our fellowship. I know missing this Sunday in church is particularly difficult for the Trinity and Corraneary congregations who were planning to have harvest thanksgiving services this Sunday. I know it’s tough going and we’re all tired of this virus and the fight against it has wearied us, but God has brought us together and given us fellowship with one another. Even though we must physically keep our distance from one another, we can still support and love one another and enjoy that fellowship.
Please join us as we seek hope and peace in God’s word during these difficult times. Online sermons and prayer will continue to be provided. For those who would prefer them, I am more than happy to send out audio CDs or sermons in written form.
Please pray for the country, for those who are sick and for those in the front line of this battle against the Coronavirus – those who are fighting directly against the disease, and those who are fighting to keep essential services up and running. Pray for wisdom for our leaders. Pray for those who are anxious or lonely. This is a very difficult time, but God is our strength and fortress.
I encourage you all now to read and reflect on the words of Psalm 46.
God bless, Rev. John.
Psalm 46 (NIV (Anglicised, 2011))
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’
11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The Faith Mission Bible Club in Cootehill has moved to Zoom due to the current restrictions. All National School children are welcome! The Club will be held fortnightly on Zoom, starting Thursday the 8th of October at 6:15 p.m.
Please click the following link to register your child:
In these current hard times I want to make sure that those who are in great need are not forgotten. Normally our collection to support the Presbyterian Children’s Society is done door-to-door by faithful volunteers every year, but that cannot happen this year because Covid. Please spare a few minutes to watch the following video about the Presbyterian Children’s Society (https://www.presbyterianchildrenssociety.org) and consider donating to support them.
I am happy to be able to bring you some good news today. The kirk session of Corraneary met on the evening of Tuesday the 15th of September to discuss the resumption of congregational activities in Corraneary and the preparations that would be needed for this to happen.
Session agreed on the necessary safety precautions that need to be put in place and voted to resume congregational worship once these preparations had been completed. I am happy to say that the preparations have been completed and we are ready to meet again on Sunday the 27th of September at noon.
To make our services safe we must follow the guidelines issued by the government and PCI until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. a cough, raised temperature, loss of taste or smell) please do not attend church, seek medical advice and isolate.
Keep a safe distance (currently 2 metres) from others before, during and after worship. Please refrain from congregating to chat before or after the services. Please do not make any physical contact with those outside your household (no embracing or handshakes).
Please use hand sanitiser, which will be provided in the church building. You may bring your own hand sanitiser, mask and water for a drink. All members of the congregation are formally requested to wear face coverings during the service.
To keep numbers low we ask that only members of Corraneary attend these services. Should non-members/visitors arrive we would ask that they wait until all members have been seated to see if there is space for them to safely attend.
To allow for social distancing within the church building, some pews have had to be closed off. As a result, you may not be able to sit in your usual pew at this time. Each family should sit together at a safe distance from other families. The minister will remain in the pulpit for the duration of the service. At the end of the service, you will be directed to leave the church in an orderly fashion. Please follow the instructions given. Space is limited in the meeting house and if we run out of space inside the building, people will be encouraged to remain in their cars and listen to the service over the outdoor PA system.
Services will follow a scaled-down format as in the other congregations of the Bailieborough Group. Services will be shorter than usual with a reduced number of hymns and the children’s talk included in the sermon. There will be no singing, although people are welcome to hum along to the music. Pre-recorded music will be played. There will be no Sunday School for the time being. You may bring along a children’s Bible or colouring sheets.
If you do need the toilet, please wipe surfaces you touch, including handles, with wipes provided and place them in the bin provided after use. Young children should be accompanied at all times.
I know this is not the type of service that we are used to. I don’t believe anybody thinks this is ideal. It is not the type of service that we have been missing and longing to get back to. It will be some time before we are back to something resembling the old normality that we miss. We are starting small, but we hope that God will bless us and enable us to grow.
Please see the “Staying Safe at Church” guidance below. Please keep all ou
Attention all leaders of the Bailieborough Group! On the 16th of September PCI are hosting a webinar on moving forward in ministry with confidence and hope during these difficult times. I would encourage all who lead and serve in our congregations (elders, committee members, organisational leaders, and volunteers) to consider attending. Registration must be completed by the 14th of September. Please click here for more information and registration.
Dear friends in the Corraneary congregation, The congregation’s elders met this afternoon (6/7/10) to discuss re-opening the meeting house for congregational worship on Sundays. Having assessed the building in light of safety restrictions that must be implemented it was decided by a unanimous vote of session to postpone meeting until the restrictions were eased to allow more people into the building.
This was not an easy decision to make and much regret was expressed by the elders. We want to be able to meet again, but sadly it would not be safe at the moment.
I encourage you please to continue availing of the alternative services via the church website or post.
I know that this must cause some frustration, but we are not out of the woods yet with regards to this pandemic. One of the ways that we can love one another as a congregation is by prioritising each other’s safety. So, for the time being we will remain at home.