Introducing Mark

Hello everyone! Beginning tomorrow (Sunday 21/2/21) I hope to take a close look at the Gospel according to Mark. This is the smallest and oldest of the gospel accounts, full of action and very challenging for us as it presents us time and time again with the question of who we believe Jesus to be and what we’re going to do in response.

Please join me on this journey and read along at home. Tomorrow I will preach on Mark 1:1-8, which you can read here:

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way’— ‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” ’ And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the River Jordan. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: ‘After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

(Mark 1:1–8, NIV (Anglicised, 2011))

I encourage you to read the the whole Gospel of Mark, it should only take about an hour.

You may also find the excellent resources of the Bible Project helpful which you can find here: The Bible Project: Mark

Here is a video overview of Mark by the Bible Project.

Weekly Zoom Prayer Meeting

Hi everyone,

Starting Thursday (4th of February) at 8 p.m. I’m hoping to have a weekly Zoom prayer meeting for the four congregations. The format will be a brief reflection on Scripture, some discussion on what we might pray for, and then a time of prayer.

You won’t be called on to pray unexpectedly, so don’t worry about that. You can pray aloud if you like, or you can mute your mic for the whole meeting, whatever you’re comfortable with!

Please contact me for the meeting ID and passcode you will need for access to the meeting. Join in and let’s see if this works! (Zoom I mean. I already know prayer works!)

Rev. John.

The Death of Winston Turner

I am very sad to announce the death of our dear friend and brother Winston Turner, who died this morning, 26th of January 2021.

The funeral service of thanksgiving for Winston will be strictly private to family only, in line with the government’s current Level 5 restrictions. Current restrictions also prohibit congregating in groups outside the church building.

The funeral procession will leave Winston’s home on Thursday at 2.15pm to arrive at Corglass Presbyterian Church for Funeral Service at 2.30pm. Private cremation will take place afterwards in Lakelands Crematorium, Cavan. Those wishing to stand along the procession route to the church please do so with the utmost care to maintain social distancing.

Condolences may be left for Winston’s family via the RIP.ie website: Death Notice of Thomas (Winston) Turner (rip.ie)

Your prayers are appreciated for Winston’s family in this very difficult and sad time.

Rev. John.

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

John 11:25-26

Rev. John away 5th-19th January

Hi everyone!

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.

God bless,
Rev. John.

Announcement About Christmas Services

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!

God bless,
Rev. John.

Important Announcement Regarding the Resumption of Congregational Worship – December 2020

Dear church family,

With the lifting of government restrictions, church services may now resume in a limited format.

Due to social distancing restrictions space in each church building is extremely limited and we ask that you only attend the church where you are a member.

Services are scheduled to resume on Sunday the 6th of December in the meeting houses of Corglass (10:30) and Ervey (12:00). Trinity and Corraneary are scheduled to resume on the 2nd Sunday of the month for the members of these two congregations, commencing on Sunday 13th December.

These arrangements are temporary to help us to safely meet during the pandemic.

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) 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 each church building. You may bring your own hand sanitiser, mask and water for a drink. Face coverings are required for the safety of others present.

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 ushered out of the church in an orderly fashion. Please follow the instructions given.

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. Music will be played, and you may follow the words on the screen or from your own hymnbook. There will be no Sunday School for the time being. You may bring along a children’s Bible or colouring sheets.

Only one toilet will be available for use. 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. 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 note that I will continue to provide the online resources that I have been providing since March. The sermon that I preach in the meeting house each week will also be available at the same time via our church website (www.bgpc.ie). I will also continue to send CDs and sermon scripts to anyone who requests them. I do not want anyone to feel pressured to come and If anyone is at all nervous about attending at the present time that is entirely understandable and I encourage you to stay at home for the time being and avail of these alternative services.

Please see the “Staying Safe at Church” guidance below.

God bless,
Rev. John.