I’ll be taking some post-Christmas time off until the 19th. We’re not going anywhere, just a break to spend some family time together.
Sunday “Church at Home” content will still be updated on the church website, with preaching by Brian Parker of Faith Mission Cootehill. For emergency pastoral care I have asked Rev. Alan McQuade of First Monaghan and Smithborough to cover me, your Clerk of Session has Rev. Alan’s phone number, so please get in touch with your elder if anything is needed.
UPDATE: As part of the countrywide efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, all church worship services have had to move to an online-only format. There will be no services in the meeting houses until further notice.
Dear church family,
This year the Christmas Day service was scheduled to be a united service in Ervey. This was all planned before the pandemic. Under our current restrictions we’re unable to have united services since it is necessary to keep numbers down to a safe level and maintain social distancing. Because of this we were left with the decision of what to do on Christmas Day.
The elders of each congregation have been consulted and have decided not to hold a service on Christmas Day this year. We will instead be sticking with the usual Sunday service schedule (1st and 3rd Sundays of the month in Corglass at 10:30 and Ervey at 12:00, 2nd and 4th Sundays in Trinity at 10:30 and Corraneary at 12:00).
For Trinity and Corraneary that means that this Sunday (the 13th) will be the last service before Christmas Day with the congregation meeting again on Sunday the 27th. So, I’m going to try to make this Sunday a bit of a Christmas celebration for the members of those congregations. Corglass and Ervey will next meet on the 20th and I will try for the same thing in those services.
On Christmas Day itself I will be uploading a special Christmas message on the church website.
I hope this has cleared up the confusion over the Christmas service schedule. It is sad that we will not all be celebrating together on Christmas Day, but we are taking these steps to protect one another and do what we can to ensure a happy Christmas and a good start to 2021.
Whatever your plans for Christmas I wish you a happy and peaceful one and may we all take this time to remember the true reason we have for celebrating this year and every year: God is with us and he has come to save us. May this weary world rejoice in the hope of Christmas!
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: