Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
RECTOR’S LETTERDear friends in St Nicholas',
By the time you are reading this magazine our curate Peter Ferguson will have been instituted as Rector of Castlederg, Co. Tyrone. Many of you joined us for Peter's farewell evening in the church hall, his final Sunday with us and a good number of parishioners joined me to represent St Nicholas' and support Peter as he was introduced to the people of Castlederg & Killeter at the beginning of his ministry there. Peter contributed a great deal to our life as a parish during his four and a half years as curate and I want to say thank you to everybody who has helped us to express our appreciation of him as he left us. The Fergusons moved to their new parish well aware of the love, prayers and thanks of all the St Nicholas' family. Peter has written a message for this magazine which you can read elsewhere in these pages. Please continue to remember the Fergusons in your prayers as they settle into a new home, school and parish.
I recently watched a short video clip which showed some Christian people in China being given copies of the Bible. They rushed forward to try to be one of the people who received a copy of God's Word and many of those who were given a Bible were crying with joy as they realised that they now had a copy of their own which they could read whenever they wanted! It was wonderful to see people who were so moved at having the opportunity to read the Bible for themselves. Do we value that opportunity as highly? I would suspect that many people in our own country have Bibles in their homes which lie unopened and unvalued! Can I encourage you to read yours?
A new series of small group meetings begin this month to help us learn more from the Bible. Our theme for this series is "Promises kept" and we will be looking together at the way the whole message of the Bible speaks to us of God's promises and purpose for men and women. Have you ever found yourself wondering how the stories we read in the Old Testament relate to the message of Jesus? Well then this series of meetings will encourage and enlighten you. We meet in a number of locations and at various times through the week, so I hope that you will be able to find one that suits you. Do please contact the church office or one of the clergy if you would like to know more. We'd be glad to help you find the most suitable group for you.
We are once again in the season of Lent. Many people use these weeks leading up to Easter to think and pray, perhaps to give up something for a season to aid them in their praying. It is also a time when many folk give money to support others who do not have the material resources that most of us enjoy. This year CMS Ireland have a Lent project called "Little Lights" which aims to support and encourage the church in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Collection boxes are available if you would like to make this a part of your observation of Lent this year.
At the very end of this month we arrive at Holy Week once again. As is the custom in Carrickfergus, many of the churches in the town come together to prepare for Easter by sharing together in a week of special services. This year it is our turn at St Nicholas' to host the Holy Week services. Each evening one of the churches in the town will lead worship and the minister of that church will preach for us. We will be looking at St John's gospel together and considering his account of the events which led up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I hope that you will come and join us for these special services each evening and bring a friend with you. All will be very welcome.
Do watch out too, for the Impact Carrick prayer room which offers the people of Carrickfergus a place for prayer and reflection and a listening ear if it's needed in the heart of our town centre. It is planned to have it open each day during Holy Week.
May God bless us as we seek to honour him in our town.
With love in Jesus,
PETER’S FAREWELL SPEECHIt is hard to believe over 5 years have past since I met George and he shared his sense of call to St Nicholas' and a call also to the wider Carrickfergus community: a church in the heart of Carrick with a heart for Carrick. I felt this is a man of God whom I can get behind and learn so much from. This sense of call to St Nicholas' and to serving under George's leadership has been affirmed each and every day of our time here.
George cares for each of us and works so hard for all of us. Make sure you care for him and work hard for the kingdom under his leadership.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3: 1
The word I will use is family. When we love and follow Jesus we are in God's family and we are to display the family likeness: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Mould and nurture these gifts and kingdom values. When I have seen these values among us, I have sensed the beat of God's heart and this has been contagious as we have seen others welcomed into God's family in Jesus here over the last number of years. Praise God for His grace in Jesus, we are a growing family.
We are a Christian family within the ministry and leadership team. I have had the privilege and benefit to work with close colleagues in the ministry team. Early days with Andrew Campbell, who has become a good friend. With Kathleen Brown whose prayer life and example is inspiring. And in recent months it has been a joy to get to know and learn from Cameron and Alex. Cameron's preaching, teaching and warmth of his pastoral ministry along with Alex has touched us all. I have so appreciated the back up of Catherine in the office, responding to so many demands and emails from me and Alison at the organ backing us up in the Sunday worship ministry and not to mention the craic at choir rehearsals! Of course there has been another colleague who has been there all our years here. As well as having George, I have had the honour of sharing life and ministry with Brian Courtney and Valerie. Brian's wit and humour, his youthful zeal in learning new things in preaching and in scripture, his sheer enthusiasm for the Lord and His people, has always inspired me and had my deep respect.
As a ministry team under George we have been very close, we are loyal to the Lord and to each other. We are a family in leadership, this all stems from George and his wisdom, experience, his confidence in Jesus and ability to encourage and bring out the best in all of us. It has been a joy to serve in this atmosphere of Christian trust and grace. I thank George for his faith in me, along with the select vestry in inviting us here. I thank George for his advice, example and friendship. Also I thank George for giving me the time and a certain amount of freedom to pursue and develop kingdom ministries outside of the parish, through the Connor Youth Council and through Impact Carrick. Always with his encouragement and support.
We are a Christian family in the church. It has been a joy to serve and get to know you all. I simply cannot start to mention names as I cannot mention everyone. I thank the vestry for their support and care for us as a family, alongside the rock who is Mr Ted McAuley, who is always there and does so much. It has been a joy to walk alongside you all in so many different parish ministries and parish family life. One of the strengths of our Anglican church is our worship which invites all to participate in the gospel story and in prayer. I love the sense of family, all ages worshipping together that we find here. Come to St Nicholas' any Sunday morning and afterwards over tea and coffee you will see all ages joining together. You will see our Caleb running around and mixing with adults right up to someone like dear Nan McKee. Thank you to all who had a special role in the lives of our children, from Busy Bees, to Sunday School, Rainbows, Brownies and Anchor Boys. When we bring our children to any parish activity they know they will be loved, cherished and cared for. We are a Christian family in the church.
We are a Christian family who are to look outwards, beyond the walls. It has been a joy to serve this community and to see us, along with other church families, share and show the love of God in Jesus in this town. We have seen lives transformed and impacted by the power of God's Word and His saving gospel. Be a family who looks out to those who need to hear and receive. Be driven in mission as a response to what God has done for us in Jesus. Prioritise prayer and God's Word and then live for Jesus. Get involved in opportunities like Mission Carrick, the prayer room at Easter and the special summer week of Impact Carrick. It has been encouraging to see people added to the family.
We are a family in Jesus, and finally this is the family that lasts forever. As well as the times we have laughed together, we have cried together. I think of our dear brothers and sisters whom we have loved and lost. When we are in Jesus, we are in a family that lasts forever. It is the only family that can do this. This is the family that lasts forever, so we are not saying goodbye at all.
On behalf of Amy and I and our children, thank you for letting us be part of your Christian family here. Keep going, follow Jesus, be a family in Him: love God, love each other and love those outside who need to know God's love and forgiveness too. God Bless you all.
Bert Gillespie MBE had such an interesting story to tell us at our February meeting. For 65 years he has been toastmaster or master of ceremonies at so many celebrity and royal occasions and has met so many important people in his lifetime: the Queen, Bill Clinton and Dame Mary Peters to name a few and yet he was so humble in his presentation. He rounded off the evening by reciting a beautiful Benediction and proposing a toast to Amy on her last evening with us.
Amy has been a wonderful friend to us all and a loyal and active member of our committee. We will miss her terribly but we wish her every happiness in her new church. There will be no doubt that she will use her gifts and talents in Castlederg as she has done here in St. Nicholas.
Next month we welcome Jim and Iris Stewart, good friends of Peter and Amy.
Their son, Paul, set up Amara aid which supports Christian agricultural projects throughout East Africa and is fundraised for by his parents here in Northern Ireland. Come along and lend support to their work.
Next meeting Tuesday 24th March 2015
7.30 pm in the Church
Jesus said: “My house will be called a house of prayer.” Matthew 21:13
PLUG into the POWER of PRAYER 2015
| A year to pray, read and believe God’s word. Let’s live out in mission
THE EVENT in Ballymena @ 7pm
with Tash Creaney (24/7 Prayer Ireland)
and worship by Aaron Boyce
SUNDAY SCHOOL NOTESAs part of our farewell gift to Rebekah and Daniel Ferguson, a group photograph of our Morning Sunday School was presented to them at the Fergusons farewell party. If any parents would like a copy of this photograph, please let me know. Prints will cost £1.50 and proceeds will go to the Children's Mission in Tabora.
Please note important dates coming up. Mothering Sunday on March 15th means that there will be no Morning Sunday School. We would invite all parents and children to come along to our Family Service that Sunday. Sunday School will be as usual on 22nd March. On Palm Sunday 29th March there will be Sunday School for Nursery, P1 , P2 and P3 classes. The older children are encouraged to attend Church with their parents.
Easter Sunday is 5th April when there will be no Morning Sunday School but parents are encouraged to bring their children and attend our Easter Service celebrations as a family, to be reminded of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, confirmed previously at His baptism when God his Father affirmed His perfection by saying He was ‘well pleased’ with His Son.
Teachers are reminded of the, now annual, training day on Saturday 28th March at St Elizabeth’s Dundonald, from 10 am to 4 pm. Rory Bell will help improve our skills in preparing and presenting Bible stories. Let me know your intention to attend so I can book your places.
St Nicholas’ Church, Carrickfergus Prayer Diary – March 2015The 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
All to Jesus I surrender, make me, Saviour, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender, Lord I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender, now I feel the sacred flame;
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory to Your name! Amen (from the hymn ‘I surrender all’)
1ST MARCH – SUNDAY (2nd Sunday in Lent)
Pray for our church services today. Pray for Peter on this his first Sunday as Rector of Derg and Termonamongan. Pray for Amy. Pray for Rebekah, Daniel and Caleb, that they will soon settle and make new friends in Castlederg. Pray for Cafe Church and for our Youth Fellowship.
2nd March – Monday
The Small Groups resume this week with ‘Promises Kept’ as the theme for their new study. Pray for our Small Groups and for study group leaders.
3rd March – Tuesday
This evening our outgoing Select Vestry meets for the final time. Give thanks for the members who have served this year and pray for this evening’s discussions and decision making.
4th March – Wednesday
The choir meets this evening for practice under the direction of Nadine Davison. Pray for Nadine and choir members. Pray for the extended choir preparing for Easter Praise.
5th March – Thursday
Pray for an end to the conflict in Ukraine.
6th March – Friday
The Cubs are having a sleepover in our halls tonight. Pray for our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, and for Scouting leaders in Carrickfergus.
7th March – Saturday
Our Walking group meets this morning. Give thanks for this fellowship. Also today, our Guides enjoy an activity day, while others attend a First Aid course in our church halls. Pray for our Guides, Brownies and Rainbows.
8TH MARCH – SUNDAY (3rd Sunday in Lent)
Give thanks for the work done in our morning and afternoon Sunday Schools and Bible Class. Pray for teachers who open God’s word to our children and young people. Pray for the 2015 CMS Project ‘Little Lights’ for DR Congo.
9th March – Monday
This evening our Bishop Alan Abernethy delivers the second of this year’s Lenten talks ‘Effecting Change’ in Jordanstown. Pray for him and our Diocese of Connor. Pray for all who minister in this Diocese.
10th March – Tuesday
Pray for the Women’s Fellowship meeting this evening and for their guest speakers from Amara Aid.
11th March – Wednesday
Pray for all sections of our Boys’ Brigade Company and its leaders.
12th March – Thursday
This month the Curacy process begins. Pray for God’s guidance for Bishops as they prioritise Parishes; and for George also as he looks to fill the vacancy in St Nicholas’. Pray for Cameron and the other Deacon Interns.
13th March – Friday
Pray for Busy Bees. Give thanks for all who give of their time for Busy Bees.
14th March – Saturday
Pray for today’s Mission Conference in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
15TH MARCH – SUNDAY (4th Sunday in Lent/Mothering Sunday)
On Mothering Sunday pray for mothers and those who have been a mother figure in someone’s life. Remember those who will be alone today and those mourning the loss of their mother. Pray for this morning’s Family Service and this evening’s Holy Communion with Prayers for Healing.
16th March – Monday
Pray for Raymond and Jackie Given in Uganda and remember also Darren and Karen McCartney in the Canadian Arctic.
17th March – Tuesday
Pray for our town. Pray for healing and for an end to anti-social and criminal behaviour simmering beneath the surface in our town. Pray for the PSNI.
18th March – Wednesday
Pray for the ladies of our Widows’ Group meeting this evening.
19th March – Thursday
Pray for the sick especially those awaiting test results or treatment. Pray for all who administer our Health Service in Northern Ireland.
20th March – Friday
With a member of our ministry team at the Model Primary School for Assembly this morning, give thanks for these opportunities to visit schools.
21st March – Saturday
Pray for MECO. Pray for an end to conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.
22ND MARCH – SUNDAY (5thSunday in Lent)
Pray for our Ministry team and for the faithful Biblical teaching we receive. Pray for George, for health strength and wisdom in his role as Rector; and for Brian and Cameron. Pray for today’s Morning Prayer and Cafe Church.
23rd March – Monday
Pray for today’s meeting of Senior Moments.
24th March – Tuesday
Pray for this evening’s ‘Encounter’ prayer time in church.
25th March – Wednesday
Pray for the church in Tabora and Kibondo Dioceses. Remember Emmanuel and his work in children’s and youth ministry.
26th March – Thursday
Pray for the Fashion Show being held in our halls this evening. Give thanks for all taking part and for the monies raised. Pray for Catherine and the team assembling Parish News this morning.
27th March – Friday
Pray today for those feeling pain and loss following bereavement.
28th March – Saturday
With a wedding taking place in church today, pray for the young couple and for other couples marrying in church this year. Pray for Christian Marriage.
29TH MARCH – SUNDAY (6th Sunday in Lent/Palm Sunday)
This morning we will be joined by our uniformed organisations for the family service. Pray God’s Blessing on all who will hear His Word today.
30th March – Monday
Our church is the venue for Holy Week services. Pray for Mission Carrickfergus services focusing on the Gospel of St John, for the Impact Carrick Prayer Room and for the Youth Mission taking place this week.
31st March – Tuesday
Pray for this evening’s Holy Week service and all leading worship this week.
Christian Burial‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’
30th January 2015
Joseph Greer, 4 Crossgreen, Carrickfergus
20th February 2015
John McNeill, 69 Brook Avenue, Carrickfergus
Crèche Rota March 20151st Kathleen Arthur, Valerie Leighton, Graeme Miles
8th Ann Hodge, Janice Nelson, Sophie Foreman
15th John Kane, Alison Kane, Rachel McVeigh
22nd Faye Hamilton, Carol Moneypenny, Graeme Miles
29th Karen Bell, Sharon McMaster, Sophie Foreman
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.
Flowers in Church December 2014 (not in last magazine)28th David McAtamney- In memory of my wife Denise
Flowers in Church February 2014 (not in last magazine)
22nd The Lynn Family
Flowers in Church March 20151st Roy & Ann McVeigh8th Vacant
15th Wedding Anniversary
22nd The Cole Family—Loving memories 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
SOUND DESK ROTA MARCH 2015Morning Evening
1st Jamie Davison John Kane
8th Glenn Nelson Lynn Rodgers
15th Gillian Dalton Paul Letters
22nd Jonathan Nelson No Service
29th Gordon Dalton Steven Todd
TEA ROTA MARCH 2015Please 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. Many thanks for your support.
ON THE FRONT LINE MISSION FOR THE LOCAL CHURCHA day conference for everyone with an interest in
Mission and the local Church
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
Saturday 14th March 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Rev’d Dr Mike Ovey, Oak Hill College, London
Rev’d Dr Heather Morris, Irish Methodist Home Mission Department
Worship: The Mark Ferguson Band
To facilitate planning for what will be a very special day, we would be most grateful if you might book a place as soon as you can.
For further details, please speak to a member of the clergy or go to
Services in March 20151st 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Holy Communion
1 John: Love each other: “Give up yer aul sins!”
1 John 2 v 28– 3 v 10
Matthew 7 v 1-6
6.30 pm Evening Prayer & Cafe Church
Tough Questions: Aren’t all good people Christians?
Romans 10 v 5-17
8th 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Morning Prayer
1 John: Love each other: Love— the sign of the Christian
Jeremiah 31 v 1-6
1 John 3 v 11-24
6.30 pm Evening Prayer & Cafe Church
Tough Questions: Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?
15th 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Family Service—Mothering Sunday
1 Samuel 1 v 20-28
John 19 v 25-27
6.30 pm Holy Communion & Prayers for Healing & Cafe Church
Tough Questions: Medical science—can it go too far?
Luke 4 v 38-44
22nd 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Morning Prayer
MECO—“I thought Arabs were Muslims?”
Acts 2 v 5-13
6.30 pm Cafe Church
Tough Questions: Who are you to judge my relationships?
Ephesians 5 v 25-33
29th 9 30 am Holy Communion
11.00 am Palm Sunday Family Service with Youth Organisations
Mark 1 v 1-11
6.30 pm Compline (No Cafe Church) - Serving God or serving self?
Mark 12 v 1-12
OTHER EVENTS IN MARCH3rd 7.30 pm Select Vestry
7th 10.00 am Parish Walking Group Outing
10th 7.30 pm Women’s Fellowship
18th 7.15 pm Widows Group
24th 7.30 pm Encounter Monthly Prayer Group in church
26th 7.30 pm Fashion Show in the Church Halls
Parish Walking Group
Saturday 7th March
A walk in stunning countryside with lake views and the possibility of
finishing with home-made scones.
Meet at 10.00 am at 48 Loughmourne Road
(Christine Cahoon’s house)
For further details contact Robin or Joan Gray
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
Pianist neededDue to Amy moving to Castlederg, Busy Bees will be losing her skills as a pianist.
Busy Bees need someone who can play nursery rhymes and songs, for the young children to sing-a-long to, for about 15-20 minutes each Friday morning.
If you would like to volunteer,
please speak to Alison Kane
or phone Catherine in the office on 028 9336 0061.
FASHION SHOWA Fashion Show, featuring Bon Marche, Jeanius and Tesco,
will take place in the Church Hall at 7.30 pm on Thursday 26th March 2015. There will also be an opportunity to buy fashion
accessories and cosmetics from Jazzi and Serendipity Gift Co.
Tickets are available from Gillian Dalton, Christine Cahoon, Linda Mulvenny, Jean Stewart or from the Church office suggested donation £5 (including supper).
All proceeds towards Church Building funds.
ST NICHOLAS’ PARISH CHURCH CARRICKFERGUS FLOWER FESTIVAL CARDS
We have produced blank greetings cards from photos of flowers used in the Flower Festival. Each pack contains 8 cards in a variety of designs and is on sale at £2.50 in aid of the church building fund.
Packs can be obtained from
Christine Cahoon, Gillian Dalton or Jean Stewart.
Engage Youth FellowshipEngage Youth Fellowship meets in the halls on the
1st & 3rd Sundays of each month 8.15 - 9.30 pm.
All young people of secondary school age are welcome. Join us for fun, fellowship, bible teaching and, at times, food
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?
9th March Drop In
23rd March ‘Use it or lose it’ with Alison Masson
WEC Spring ConferenceSaturday 7th March
10.30 am – 2 pm
First Presbyterian Church Hall,
Watson Street, Portadown
For further details contact Norman/Amy Cuthbert
If any parishioner known to you is sick or in hospital,
please contact the church office or the clergy
so that they may be visited. Thank you