Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
RECTOR’S LETTERDear Friends at St Nicholas’,
Lent begins this year at the very beginning of the month - Ash Wednesday is 1st March, but what is this season really all about? The 40 days before Easter—Sundays aren’t included—are known popularly as a season for giving up chocolate or other treats in order to show God how much we love him. But really that’s a poor understanding of what the season of Lent means. So should we even bother with Lent? I think there are a few good reasons to do so!
1. Lent gives us the chance to be honest with ourselves about the real issue of our sin.
As Good Friday approaches, the reminder of Jesus' painful death reminds us of the dreadful reality of sin. We remind ourselves that the Lord of glory died because of our failings. Lent encourages us towards humility, repentance, and dependence on Jesus.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139 v 23-24)
2. Lent gives us an opportunity to examine our discipleship. As we remember that Jesus bore the cross for us, accomplishing our salvation, we are prompted to test the genuineness of our discipleship. We are reminded of the depth of God’s commitment to us - what about our commitment to him? Will we follow Jesus when it is inconvenient and costly, or only when comfortable and to our advantage?
3. Lent provides us an opportunity to reflect on our mortality.
Our culture seems to live in the denial of death, but everyone who breathes a first breath will also take a last one. It is a certainty we can't escape. For all who belong to Christ though, there is a promise stronger than death—we will die, but Jesus will return to raise our bodies, wiping the tears from our eyes and making all things new (Revelation 21 v 1-8).
4. Lent prepares us to celebrate the wonder and promise of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday. On that amazing morning Jesus defeated sin and death. Lent prepares us to join the disciples in their joy and bewilderment on that Sunday morning long ago.
As we take up the opportunity to think about the grief of our broken world and the sin within our hearts, we are reminded of the deep love of God that is greater and more powerful than either of them. Reminding ourselves of the reason that Jesus had to die will give us all the more reason to celebrate his mighty resurrection!
This year we are joining with the people of Holy Trinity, Woodburn for a short series of mid-week Lent services as we contemplate some of these things once again. Details of the services are given in this magazine. Will you join us as we seek to use this season of Lent as a time when we may grow deeper in our faith and service of the Lord Jesus?
With love in Jesus,
Holy Trinity & St Nicholas' Churches
Lent Midweek Services
Theme - "The Characteristics of a Christian"
Wednesday 1st March 2017 (Ash Wednesday) - St Nicholas'
Thursday 9th March - Holy Trinity
Thursday 16th March - St Nicholas'
Thursday 23rd March - Holy Trinity
'Meeting together/ Worship'
Thursday 30th March - St Nicholas'
'Holiness of life'
Thursday 6th April - Holy Trinity
All services begin at 7.30pm. Everyone welcome.
Flowers in Church March 20175th Charles & Rosemary Moffett—In memory of brother Lawrence
12th The McVeigh Family—In memory of Roy
26th The Cole Family—In memory of our daughter Angela
If you would like to donate flowers for the Sanctuary please fill your name in against the appropriate space on the new Flower List in the main porch or contact Mary Withers at (9336 2869). As these details go into Parish News we would ask, if possible, that you add your name against the chosen date to the list in the church at least 6 weeks in advance or speak to Mrs Withers at least 6 weeks in advance.
SOUND DESK ROTA MARCH 2017Morning Evening
5th Gillian Dalton Glenn Nelson
12th Rachael McVeigh Steven Todd
19th Johnnie McAlister Julie Irvine
26th Graeme Miles Cafe Church
ST NICHOLAS' WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIPThe guest speaker at our February meeting was Carol Walker, Director of the Somme Association and Somme Museum, who gave an extremely interesting presentation about the role of women in the first world war. Carol vividly described the important role played by women of all social classes to support the war effort and brought to life some truly inspirational stories.
Our meeting in March has been changed to the third Tuesday - 21st March, when we look forward to welcoming a very special guest speaker, former missionary to the Democratic Republic of Congo,Maud Kells OBE. Please note that there is an open invitation to everyone in the parish, including men as well as ladies, to join us that evening. If you are planning to come along, please let any member of the committee know, so that we will have a rough idea of numbers to expect. We look forward to seeing as many as possible there on the night. Valerie Leighton
PRAYERPOINTOur PrayerPoint schedule follows a fortnightly pattern with a shorter Monday evening at the beginning of the month and a slightly longer time on a Tuesday night in the middle of the month.
PrayerPoint evenings are your opportunity to join in prayer for the life and witness of St Nicholas’ and the church of Jesus Christ around the world. Come on one of the evenings or come to both;
Come for the whole evening or come for a short time;
Come and pray aloud or in silence;
But come - we’ll be delighted to see you!
St Nicholas’ Church
Monday 6th March
7.00pm - 7.45pm
Tuesday 21st March
7.00pm - 8.30pm
Crèche Rota March 20175th Ann Hodge & Alison Kane
12th John Kane & Carol Moneypenney
19th Faye Hamilton, Sharon McMaster, Sophie Foreman
26th Karen Bell & Ciara Lester
The Crèche is in the Choir Vestry. Children can be left there from 10.50 am each Sunday. It would be appreciated if those who kindly staff the Crèche would be there in good time. If you can't be present on a Sunday listed, please arrange for another of the volunteers to cover for you. Thank you for your co-operation.
THURSDAY MORNING CRAFT GROUPDo you knit and natter? Do you enjoy crochet and craic? Do you enjoy meeting people and sharing a cup of tea? Well, why don't you come and join us on the 2nd and 4th Thursday mornings of the month at 10:00 am and see what wonderful items you can make regardless of how good (or not) you are at knitting, crocheting or crafting!
We have just celebrated our first birthday as a group and would love for others to come and share with us in a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped, donated to and supported our Christmas craft sale in November. We raised a grand total of £1713.47 of which £500 was donated to the Alzheimer's Society and the remainder to church funds.
On a sad note we lost one of our faithful members in January. Jacqueline Clawson was with us every week since the group started and will be sadly missed by us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lesley, her daughter, and the family circle.
If anyone would like to know more details about the group, do not hesitate to contact me, Janice Nelson
If anyone would like to attend the Craft Fair at the Titanic Quarter on 29th April, please let me know and I can arrange tickets for this. There are a group of us from church that attend annually and you would be very welcome to join us.
Update from Trevor & AndreaCongratulations to Crosslinks Mission Partner Trevor Watson
Give thanks for God's enablement for Trevor last month in his exams. The national test in Swedish for Immigrants (level C) has been passed and he will now move to the D course. Trevor even got an A in one of the 2 speaking tests.
We praise God for this great news. We hope this is an encouragement to you and to the part you are playing through your generous giving and praying for God’s work in Sweden.
Please do feel able to contact me if you would like to learn more about the work of Crosslinks and if you would like the Ireland Team Leader David Luckman to visit for either a mid-week or Sunday service. We are very happy to serve individuals and churches in this way.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDWe need people to help with the cleaning of the church and church halls. If you can spare an hour once a week to help with this work, please speak to a member of the clergy, a church warden or Catherine in the office. All help greatly received.
St Nicholas’ Church, Carrickfergus
Prayer Diary – March 2017
The monthly Prayer Dairy included in Parish News is designed to help us pray each day of the month for a different aspect of our parish life, our community and our nation. It also includes prayer for situations, communities and individuals in other parts of the world. Each Prayer Diary begins with a Prayer of the Month. Keep it to hand and use as part of your daily devotions.
A suggested pattern for daily devotions:
1. Read a portion of Scripture.
2. Thank God for what you have learned from His Word.
3. Confess your sin.
4. Use the Lord’s Prayer.
5. Use the Prayer of the Month.
6. Pray for others and for yourself, including the topic of the day.
Prayer for the Month
You alone can order our unruly wills and affections.
Teach us to love what you command,
and to desire what you promise,
that, among the changes and chances of this world,
our hearts may surely be fixed
where true joys are to be found,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1st March – Wednesday (Ash Wednesday)
This evening we will be joined in St Nicholas’ by parishioners from Holy Trinity for the first of a Lenten series focussing on the Characteristics of a Christian, beginning this evening with Repentance. Pray for this evening’s preacher from Holy Trinity, for this service and for this morning’s Holy Communion.
2nd March – Thursday
As we go to the polls again to elect our MLAs pray that we would be represented by people of integrity ready to work for the good of all.
3rd March – Friday
Over recent months there have been significant changes at the Diocesan Office. Pray for staff as they get accustomed to the new arrangements and undertake unfamiliar duties.
4th March – Saturday
Tomorrow parishioners will have their final opportunity for this year to add their name to the Register of General Vestry Persons. Pray that even now more of our church family would register, come along and play a full part in elections at next month’s Easter Vestry.
5TH MARCH – SUNDAY (1st Sunday in Lent)
Pray for today’s services giving thanks for the dedication of our clergy George, Cameron and Brian and the work they do preparing sermons and opening God’s Word to us.
6th March – Monday
Pray for this evening’s PrayerPoint and for the Select Vestry meeting.
7th March – Tuesday
The Juniata College Concert Choir is performing in St Nicholas’ this evening. Pray for all performers and for a generous audience. Pray for Christians Against Poverty who will receive half of the money raised at this event.
8th March – Wednesday
Alison Irwin our Organist and the Choir will be joined at this evening’s practice by parishioners lending their voices to the extended choir for our Easter Praise service. Give thanks for the musical contribution of our choir and the members of our Music Group also meeting this evening.
9th March – Thursday
This morning Brian is in Enniskillen leading a ‘Quiet Morning’ for the Derg Rural Deanery. Pray for him and those taking part. Pray too for this evening’s service in Holy Trinity entitled ‘The Scriptures’.
10th March – Friday
Pray for our Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. Pray for ladies willing to help in leadership roles, giving thanks for those who already help in this way.
11th March – Saturday
North Korea is once again top of the list of countries where Christians face extreme persecution. Pray for all its citizens and leader Kim Jong-un that, by God’s Will, he and the nation would be transformed and Christ glorified.
12TH MARCH – SUNDAY (2nd Sunday in Lent)
Pray for our Sunday School and Bible Class. Pray for Lynn and the team of leaders, giving thanks for their dedication. Pray for our Youth Fellowship.
13th March - Monday
Pray for the sick, remembering those awaiting, undergoing or recovering from surgery. Give thanks for the skill of surgeons and their support teams.
14th March – Tuesday
Pray for this evening’s Women’s Fellowship meeting with Maud Kells.
15th March – Wednesday
Pray for this morning’s visit to Sunnylands Primary School.
16th March – Thursday
The focus of this evening’s service in St Nicholas’ is prayer. Pray for this service, for our prayer life and for the compilation of this prayer diary.
17th March – Friday
Give thanks for those who influenced your coming to faith. Pray for unbelievers; for wisdom, courage, and opportunities to make Christ known.
18th March – Saturday
Pray for Trevor and Andrea Watson and their daughters in Gothenburg. Remember also the McCartney family in the Canadian Arctic.
19TH MARCH – SUNDAY (3rd Sunday in Lent)
Roger Thompson from CMS Ireland will be with us this morning to update us on their work in Nepal. Pray for today’s services, including this evening’s Holy Communion with Prayers for Healing and Cafe Church.
20th March – Monday
Pray for those who are suffering the distress of bereavement at this time.
21st March – Tuesday
Pray for this evening’s PrayerPoint.
22nd March – Wednesday
Mission Carrickfergus Ministers’ Fellowship meets today. Pray for all who minister in our town and for preparations for this year’s Holy Week services.
23rd March – Thursday
Parish News is assembled this morning. Pray for Catherine and her team. Pray for this evening’s Connor Diocesan Council meeting and for this week’s service in Holy Trinity on the theme of Meeting Together and Worship.
24th March – Friday
Pray for the Busy Bees Parent and Toddler Group.
25th March – Saturday
The Walking Group travels to Portaferry today. Pray for this fellowship.
26TH MARCH – SUNDAY (4th Sunday in Lent/Mothering Sunday)
Give thanks for the role of mothers in family life and for those who have taken on the role of ‘mother’ to someone else’s child. Pray for the motherless and families where the mother/child relationship has broken down.
27th March – Monday
Pray for this afternoon’s Senior Moments meeting.
28th March – Tuesday
Give thanks for the dedication of parishioners who clean our church and halls.
29th March – Wednesday
Pray for this morning’s visit to Oakfield Primary and Friday’s visit to Carrickfergus Model.
30th March – Thursday
Pray for this evening’ service in St Nicholas’ entitled ‘Holiness of Life’.
31st March – Friday
Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Tabora.
In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. Philippians 4 v 6
Christian Baptism“Suffer the little children to come unto me”
29th January 2017
Faith Victoria May Milligan, 9 Old Grange Green, Carrickfergus
Christian Burial‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’
26th January 2017
Ellen Sylvia Reid, 52 Davys Street, Carrickfergus
27th January 2017
Jacqueline Clawson, 35 Westmount Avenue, Carrickfergus
31st January 2017
Poppy Elizabeth Brownlee, 37 The Hollies, Carrickfergus
3rd February 2017
Mary Johnston Campbell, 3 Pinewood Avenue, Carrickfergus
17th February 2017
James Greer (Jim) Moore, 64 Drumhoy Drive, Carrickfergus
17th February 2017
James McQuitty, 1 Henly Avenue, Carrickfergus
SUNDAY SCHOOL NOTESAt the service on 19th March, Roger Thompson from CMS Ireland will be speaking about CMS’ involvement in Nepal. Many in St Nicholas’ will remember our links with Nepal many years ago and it will be good to be reminded about those and updated with CMS’ current work there.
On Sunday 26th March, we will be celebrating Mothers’ Day in our Family Service. I would encourage parents and children to make a special effort to attend the Mothers’ Day Family Service at 11 am, as we focus on the special role mothers play in our lives on a personal level and collectively within our Church family in the wider community.
There are many Biblical examples of godly mothers eg Jochebed (Moses), Hannah (Samuel), Elizabeth (John the Baptist), Mary (Jesus), Naomi (Ruth’s mother-in-law), Lois and Eunice (Timothy). These godly women served the Lord they loved and consequently their influence on their closest family furthered the spread of His kingdom.
Children’s Outreach Mission
The February Newsletter from Emmanuel continues in a similar vein to previous Newsletters. He gives an account, accompanied by pictures, of meetings with Sunday School teachers and prayer partners, as they plan ahead for the 2017 programme. Central to these plans are the Prayer Group’s weekly meetings, seeking God’s direction for all aspects of this work.
As I’ve mentioned previously, part of Emmanuel’s work involves weekly lessons at 7 Primary Schools and 4 Secondary Schools. Then there are the Good News Clubs, in the greater Tabora area, which run weekly for children of all ages. Coupled with this unrelenting programme are Emmanuel’s plans to widen the area covered by the Children’s Mission. I had previously mentioned the towns of Kaliua and Urambo and a third, Tura, has been included.
Emmanuel asks for our prayers and he gives thanks for past prayers answered. None of what has been achieved for the Children's Mission could have happened without God’s guidance, firstly for the plans and secondly for the outworking.
Our prayers are requested; they are valued and they are necessary. Through our prayers we must be ready and willing to be directed or redirected by God. Our desire to serve others should always be tempered by an expectation that we will receive from them. This is my hope and prayer that we, in St Nicholas’, will enjoy enriching mutual fellowship, as we join with our brothers and sisters in Tabora.
Another very serious issue, which has been building over the last few months, needs to be brought to your attention. While we have experienced one of our driest winters on record, we’ve barely noticed and it hasn’t had any adverse effect on us. In Tanzania the wet season rains, on which they totally depend, haven’t materialised.
What little rain that has fallen between November and now has had no lasting benefit and maize (sweetcorn) and rice and other crops are withering. Unless there is a late burst of rain, before the end of March, the harvest will be very poor which spells shortages and hunger later in the year.
This urgent situation requires our urgent prayers. We also need to pray, think and plan ahead as to how we can help.
Lynn Rodgers, Sunday School Superintendent
POINTS TO PONDERWith Mothering Sunday in mind…
No man or woman ever had a nobler challenge or a higher privilege than to bring up a child for God and whenever we slight the privilege or neglect that ministry for anything else, we live to mourn it in heartache and grief. C Havner
With Lent and Easter in mind…
Of all the things that will surprise us in the Resurrection morning, this I believe, will surprise us most: that we did not love Christ more before we died. J C Ryle
Our friends bring us to the grave and leave us there, but God will not. Anon
Man's way leads to a hopeless end - God's way leads to an endless hope. Anon
Little Johnny asked his Grandma how old she was.
Grandma answered, "39 and holding."
Johnny thought about that and then asked: "And how old would you be if you let go?
An irritated mother complained to her friend: “When I was a kid, my parents sent me to my room without supper if I misbehaved. But my son has his own TV, telephone, computer and every computer game and CD player in his room!"
"So how do you handle it?" her friend asked.
"I send him to MY room!"
On the road
A teenager was always asking his parents if he could borrow the family car. Pushed to the limit one day, the father demanded of his son why he thought ‘The Almighty’ had given him two feet. Without hesitation, the son replied: "That's easy, one for the clutch and one for the accelerator."
Services in March 20175th 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Holy Communion—Jacob: looking for Laban
Genesis 29 v 1-14a Jean Stewart
John 4 v 7-14 The Preacher
6.30 pm Evening Prayer & Cafe Church
Journeys with Paul: Arrest
Acts 21 v 27-39 Christine Cahoon
12th 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Morning Prayer
Genesis 29 v 14b-30 Christine Stewart
Matthew 22 v 23-33 Joan Armstrong
6.30 pm Evening Prayer & Cafe Church—Journeys with
Paul: The case for the defence
Acts 21 v 39-22 v 21 Janet Preston
19th 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Morning Prayer—CMSI: Christians in Nepal
Preacher Roger Thompson
6.30 pm Holy Communion & Prayers for Healing
& Cafe Church—Journeys with Paul:
Citizenship and the Sanhedrin
Acts 22 v 22-23 v 11 Jackie Kane
Mark 14 v 53-65 The Preacher
26th 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Mothering Sunday
The Lord’s Prayer—”give us this day...”
Matthew 6 v 5-15
6.30 pm Cafe Church—Journeys with Paul: Murder in mind!
Acts 23 v 21-35
OTHER EVENTS IN MARCH6th 7.30 pm Select Vestry
7th 7.30 pm Juanita College Concert Choir
21st 7.30 pm Women’s Fellowship
25th 9.00 am Parish Walking Group Outing
VESTRY HOURParishioners wishing to see clergy during the vestry hour on
Wednesday evenings are asked to ring the office on
028 9336 0061 to book an appointment.
This is to avoid clergy waiting in the church hall unnecessarily.
Thank you for your co-operation in this matter
CALLING ALL SINGERS!Once again we are offering the opportunity for
anyone, who enjoys singing, to attend choir practices
for 5 weeks in preparation for the Easter Sunday
Services when the choir takes a larger role than usual.
Anyone interested in joining us, either on a
temporary or permanent basis, please come along to the church on
Wednesday 8th March at 8 pm.
Hope to see you there. Alison
Sunday 19th March
St Nicholas Church
The Church in Nepal
11 am service
The Reverend Roger Thompson of Church Mission Society
Ireland will be joining us to share about his recent visit to
Christians in Nepal. St Nicholas has had a connection with the church in this part of the world since Mark & Ali Gill were
mission partners there. Do come and hear about the work of the church in this remote corner of God’s world!
Helpers for Brownies NeededHelpers needed for our Brownie Pack on a
Friday afternoon from 4.00 pm—5.30 pm
in the Church Halls.
If you are free at this time and would like to help with the Brownies, please speak to Mrs Tamera Milligan
THANKSLesley Clawson would like to thank members of the parish, friends and family for their help after her mum’s recent death and also the Catering Group for serving the food after the funeral.
TEA ROTA MARCH 2017Please organise within your group as to who will bring milk and biscuits. If you cannot be present on the Sunday listed, please arrange for another volunteer to cover for you or phone Gillian Dalton. Many thanks for your support.
Senior momentsCalling all over 50s (or nearly there!)
Members of St Nicholas’ Parish Church and others living in the area of Carrickfergus who describe themselves as 50 and over are cordially invited to join us in the Church Halls, Lancastrian Street on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
What’s happening in March?
13th March - Drop In
27th March - Kids 4 School—Tom Robinson
29th March - Luncheon Club in Ownies
Senior Moments are planning a day trip to Ayr on Tuesday 16th May 2017 and if anyone would like to join us for this trip, please give your name and phone number to one of the Committee members.
The cost will be £10 and we are leaving Carrick at 6.15 am. We need the names of all those interested by 13th March.
please contact the church office or the clergy
so that they may be visited.
Parish Walking Group
Saturday 25th March
Portaferry: Marlfield Bay/Strangford Lough Walk
Meet at Carrick Castle car park at 9.00 am
For further details contact Harry Kirk or Robin or Joan Gray