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RECTOR’S LETTER

Dear Friends at St Nicholas’,
This month brings us to an unusually early Easter season. It seems strange to be writing to you about Easter, whilst the weather outside still feels very much like winter! However, Easter is not about springtime, however much we may associate it with that time of year. It is that time in the church’s year which points us once again to the events that are at the heart of our Christian faith. Lent, Holy Week and Easter invite us to be honest about our failure to live as God intended, but crucially they tell us of a God whose love for us meant that he gave His only Son to die for us to deal with those failures and make it possible for us to know God as Father again.

One of the things that I particularly value at this time of year is the fact that we share special services during Holy Week with people from other churches across the town, organised by the ‘Mission Carrick’ fellowship. This year’s services are being held in the new Baptist church building on Northlands and we will be looking at Matthew’s account of Jesus’ journey to the cross. The speakers are a number of the local clergy and meetings take place each evening at 7.30 pm, further details are given elsewhere in the magazine.

In our own church building we also have a number of special events taking place. There will be a short time of prayer each morning from Monday to Thursday in the church at 10 am. (On Wednesday it will take the form of our usual Holy Communion Service.) You will  also be welcome to our annual Family Service on Good Friday morning at 10.30am. This short act of worship focuses our thoughts on all that Jesus did for us on the cross and we are particularly glad to welcome children and young people to this service.

Finally we will mark Easter Day itself with a Dawn Service at 7 am at Carrickfergus Castle Car Park followed by breakfast in Joymount Church; all shared with brothers and sisters from other churches in the town. This will be followed by our own Easter morning services in church at the normal times of 9.30 am and 11 am. At 7 pm we look forward to an evening of Easter praise led by the extended choir who have been practicing for this special service over the last number of weeks. Do come and join in what promises to be a wonderful day of celebration and praise!

The annual meeting of the General Vestry takes place at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 6th April. It is the annual general meeting of the parish where we receive reports about the activity of the parish during the past 12 months and review our finances. All registered vestry members are encouraged to come and take part in this important meeting. Please don’t just leave it to others, but come and play your part in the discussions and the election of the Select Vestry for the coming year.

May I wish you all a very happy and blessed Easter!
Yours in Jesus,
George



THAT DAY

That day was a day like never before
As the Saviour died and the darkness grew,
Earth shuddered and rocks were split apart
As the veil of the temple was torn in two.

The centurion who witnessed all these things,
The earthquake, the One who was nailed to the wood,
Seeing Him die could only say,
‘Surely this man was the Son of God’.

He rose as conqueror of the grave
Death was defeated, the stone rolled away -
And man was released from all his bonds,
Christ rose as victor that glorious day.

The Light had pushed the darkness back,
He now stands resplendent for all to see,
Forgiveness, redemption all wrought on the cross,
The eternal fruits of Calvary.                 By Megan Carter



ST NICHOLAS' WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP

We wish to thank our friend, May Green, who spoke to us very sincerely last month that, in whatever situation we find ourselves, we can always be assured of the lasting hope, joy and peace of Jesus. It was indeed a very inspiring and thought-provoking evening for our members.

This month, on Tuesday 8th March, we are having a night in together with many different things to do. So come along -there will be plenty of surprises in store!
Christine Cahoon

SUNDAY SCHOOL NOTES
Please note several changes to our routine this month.  Sunday 6th March is Mothering Sunday and children are encouraged to attend the Mothers Day service in Church at 11 am when we acknowledge and give thanks collectively for all mothers, past and present.  Sunday 6th March is also the monthly Holy Communion service at 11 am. 

Bible Class and Sunday School meet as usual on 13th March.  Palm Sunday is Sunday 20th March with Easter Sunday following on Sunday 27th March.  There will be no Bible Class or Sunday School on either of these Sundays.

Again it is hoped that parents and children will worship together in Church on both Sundays when we will be reminded of the events leading up to our Saviour’s trial, execution and resurrection.                        Lynn Rodgers, Sunday School Superintendent

The Unburied Treasure of Easter!
It’s amazing what people can unearth with metal detectors! At the end of 2014 an amateur treasure hunter uncovered 5,251 silver coins in Buckinghamshire. It was one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain and worth £1million! Of course, treasure is only valuable when it’s no longer buried! At Easter, we celebrate Jesus and His resurrection as the greatest unburied treasure we can discover.

The Apostle Peter reminds us that God ‘has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.’ (1 Peter 1: v 3 - 4). What does he say about this treasure?

On the one hand, it is the reason for hope in our lives. Peter was writing to Christians in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who faced persecution under the Emperor Nero. In an uncertain world we know that Jesus suffered, but by His resurrection has secured eternal life for us. This inheritance not only guarantees life now, but also for eternity, as it ‘is kept in heaven for you’ (4). Do we share this confidence in our lives? D.L. Moody, the 19th Century American evangelist, spoke of the time when people would read about his death in the newspapers, ‘Don’t believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now’.

On the other hand, this treasure is a source of joy to us. This unburied treasure fills us ‘with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.’ (8-9). We face all kinds of trials in our lives, but God uses them to refine our faith and character, ‘These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.’ (7). We reflect the treasure itself, by developing the character of Jesus and becoming more holy, obedient and loving.

This Easter, let’s not miss out on the best unburied treasure we can find! In the days of Communist Russia, an Orthodox priest was given five minutes to reply to somebody who had set out to discredit the resurrection of Jesus. ‘Five seconds is all I require!’ He turned to the audience and said: ‘Christ is risen’ and with a deafening roar the reply came back, ‘He is risen indeed!’


PRAYERPOINT

Our 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 evening 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 7th March (1st Monday)
7.00pm - 7.45pm
&
Tuesday 15th March (3rd Tuesday)
7.00pm - 8.30pm



Flowers in Church February 2016 (not in last magazine)

14th    Sharon Maxwell—In memory of my husband Ian’s 50th birthday
28th    Ann McVeigh

Flowers in Church March 2016

6th    Anonymous— Wedding Anniversary
13th    Gillian & Gordon Dalton
13th    Anonymous— Wedding Anniversary
20th    The Cole Family—In memory of Angela
27th    Easter Flowers

If you would like to donate flowers for the Sanctuary please fill your name in against the appropriate space on the 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.


Christian Burial

I am the Resurrection and the Life’

29th January 2016
Jane Robinson (Jean) Greer, 4 Crossgreen, Carrickfergus

3rd February 2016
John Crossan McEldoon, 8 Macneice Fold, Carrickfergus
St Nicholas’ Church, Carrickfergus


Prayer Diary – March 2016

The monthly Prayer Diary 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.  Also included is 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
Almighty and everlasting God
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent.
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts,
that we may be truly sorry for our sins
and obtain from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen                                          BCP


1st March – Tuesday
The current Select Vestry meets this evening for the final time.  Give thanks for their work this past year, for the improvements undertaken around our church building and for everyone who has fundraised to help pay the bills.  Pray that regular giving would keep up with our day to day running costs.

2nd March – Wednesday
Give thanks for the invitations our ministry team receive to visit local schools.  Pray for this morning’s visit to Oakfield Primary for Assembly and for visits later this month to Carrick Model and Sunnylands Primary.

3rd March – Thursday
The short Christianity Explained course finished last month.  Pray that those attending will have been enthused to want to know more, that those who are not yet committed Christians might be a step closer and for God’s guidance as to the way forward.  Pray for our Small Groups.

4th March – Friday
Pray for Busy Bees.  Pray for Safeguarding Trust working to keep children safe within the Church of Ireland.  Pray for our Parish’s Safeguarding Trust Panel.

5th March – Saturday
Pray for this year’s Holy Week services and for those who will preach.  Pray for all preparations at Carrick Baptist Church and for Impact Carrick.

6TH MARCH – SUNDAY (4th Sunday in Lent/Mothering Sunday)
This morning’s family service for Mothering Sunday will include Holy Communion.  Pray for this and all of our services today.  Pray for family life.  Pray for mothers and for those who have taken on the role of ‘mother’.

7th March – Monday
Pray for this evening’s PrayerPoint.  Pray for George as he travels to Dublin and prepares for tomorrow’s Standing Committee meeting.

8th March – Tuesday
The Women’s Fellowship meets on the second Tuesday of each month.  Pray especially for Women’s Fellowship Committee members.

9th March – Wednesday
Pray for the sick and the housebound.  Pray for those who provide care, for local GPs and health workers.  Remember staff and residents in care homes.

10th March – Thursday
The new Craft Group meets this morning.  Pray for God’s Blessing on this new venture.  Pray for Alan our Bishop and today’s Diocesan Council meeting.

11th March – Friday
With two weddings in church this month pray for Christian Marriage, for those wishing to change the status of marriage and for those striving to preserve it.

12th March – Saturday
Pray for the Parish Walking Group.

13TH MARCH – SUNDAY (5th Sunday in Lent)
Pray for the children and teachers of our Sunday School and Bible Class as they approach their Easter break.  Pray for today’s services and Cafe Church.

14th March – Monday
Pray for Senior Moments.

15th March – Tuesday
PrayerPoint meets this evening.  Pray that more parishioners would see the value in coming together for prayer.

16th March – Wednesday
Pray for Alison Irwin our Organist and regular and extended Choir members as they meet for their final practice before Easter Sunday.

17th March – Thursday
Pray for the CMS Appeal and for support for relief work in Madi West Nile Diocese.  Pray for refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan.

18th March – Friday
Remember the bereaved in your prayers today.

19th March – Saturday
Pray for Trevor and Andrea Watson as they prepare for mission in Sweden.

20TH MARCH – SUNDAY (6th Sunday in Lent/Palm Sunday)
Pray for today’s services, especially this morning’s Family Service.

21st March – Monday
Pray for this evening’s service in the Baptist Church.  Give thanks for those providing refreshments after this week’s services.  Pray for Impact Carrick.

22nd March – Tuesday
Once again pray for Impact Carrick and for this evening’s service.  Pray for those preaching this week and those leading praise.

23rd March – Wednesday
Pray for everyone involved in Impact Carrick outreach and for this evening’s service in Carrickfergus Baptist Church.

24th March – Thursday
Catherine and the team assemble Parish News this morning.  Pray for them today.  Pray for Holy Week services and for Impact Carrick.

25th March – Friday (Good Friday)
Pray for this morning’s Family Service and this evening’s service in Carrickfergus Baptist Church.  Remember Persecuted Christians worldwide.

26th March – Saturday
Give thanks for Mary Withers, her daughter Sandra and the team who will decorate the church this morning in preparation for tomorrow’s services.  Pray for our Youth Fellowship who will be having a sleepover tonight.

27TH MARCH – SUNDAY (Easter Day)
Once again we celebrate the Risen Lord.  Pray for this morning’s open air Dawn Service followed by breakfast in Joymount.  Pray for our own services in St Nicholas’ including our Easter Praise this evening.

28th March – Monday
A century ago the ‘Easter Rising’ began in Dublin.  This weekend many will have marked this event.  Pray that commemorations this year would not be used to stir up hatred and division.

29th March – Tuesday
Pray for peace in the countries of the Middle East.  Pray for those caught up in conflict and for those nations providing sanctuary for the displaced.  Pray for the efforts of peacemakers and for an end to the apparent tyranny of IS.

30th March – Wednesday
Pray for those attending the Bible School in Tabora Diocese.

31st March – Thursday
Pray for George, Brian and Cameron.  Pray for all in ordained ministry and their wives and families.  Remember especially unmarried clergy.

In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.  Philippians 4 v 6


CONFIRMATION

The next Confirmation Service will be held on
Sunday 15th May 2016 at 6.30 pm in the Church

Anyone interested in being confirmed this year is asked to speak to George as soon as possible please. Adults who were not confirmed as teenagers and those who have joined the parish from other Christian denominations might like to consider this public expression of faith in Jesus Christ.

Church Open for Visitors – Easter 2016


Saturday 26th March 2016
11 am—1 pm



SOUND DESK ROTA MARCH 2016

                   Morning                         Evening
6th           Johnnie McAlister        Jonathan Nelson
13th         Julie Irvine                 Lynn Rodgers
20th         Steven Todd              Paul Letters
27th         Rachel McVeigh          Dereice Maguire

Crèche Rota March 2016

6th    John Kane, Christine Stewart & Sophie Foreman
13th    Faye Hamilton & Janice Nelson
20th     Karen Bell & Alison Kane
27th     Lorraine Gibson, Carol Moneypenny & 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.

Mission Carrick - Holy Week Services


Monday -Matt 26:1-13 - The Plot to Kill Jesus
(led by Holy Trinity Church)

Tuesday - Matt 26:17-29 - The Last Supper
(led by Carrickfergus Methodist)

Wednesday - Matt 26:30-35 & 69-75
Peter’s Denial Predicted and Fulfilled
(led by Joymount Presbyterian)

Thursday - Matthew 26:36-46 & 47-56
The Agony of Gethsemane
(led by Carrickfergus Baptist)

Friday - Matt 27:32-44 & 45-54 - The Crucifixion
(led by Carrickfergus Nazarene)

Carrickfergus Baptist Church, 3 Northlands
each night at 7.30 pm
Everyone welcome!


VESTRY HOUR

Parishioners 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


Services in March 2016

6th     9 30 am    Holy Communion
         11.00 am    Mothering Sunday
            2 Timothy 1 v 1-14        Valerie Leighton
         6.30 pm    Evening Prayer & Cafe Church
            Romans—final thoughts
            Romans 15 v 23-33        Billy Rice

13th    9 30 am    Holy Communion
         11.00 am    Morning Prayer—Giving up Superiority
            2 Kings 17 v 24-40        Joan Hill
            John 4 v 5-42            Frank Hill
        6.30 pm    Evening Prayer & Cafe Church
            The Way of the Cross: Anointing
            John 12 v 1-11            Colin Logue

20th    9 30 am    Holy Communion
        11.00 am    Palm Sunday—Giving up Popularity
            Matthew 21 v 1-11
        6.30 pm    Holy Communion & Prayers for Healing & Cafe Church
            The Way of the Cross: Rejection
            Philippians 2 v 5-11        John Richardson
            Luke 20 v 9-19            The Preacher

27th    9 30 am    Holy Communion
          11.00 am    Easter Day—Giving up Death
            Acts 10 v 34-43        Harry Kirk
            John 20 v 1-18            The Preacher
         6.30 pm    Easter Praise with extended Choir (No Cafe Church)
            Isaiah 43 v 8-13        Lynn Rodgers
            1 Corinthians 15 v 1-11    Joanne Rodgers


OTHER EVENTS IN MARCH

1st     7.30 pm                Select Vestry
8th    7.30 pm                Women’s Fellowship
12th    10.00 am            Parish Walking Group Outing
25th    10.30 am            Good Friday Family Service
26th    11 am—1 pm        Church open for visitors


Calling all Crafters

A new group started on 28th January for all those
who are interested in one craft or another.
Crocheting/knitting/card making/canvas art etc. 
Tea & Coffee will be provided.

It will be on 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month
10 am – 12 noon in the Minor Hall

For further details contact Janice Nelson.
Everyone welcome



Senior moments

Calling 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

14th March        ‘Age No Barrier’ Marcella Quinn
28th March        No Meeting—Easter Monday

Engage Connor Youth Council is inviting young people from parishes across the
diocese to come together for a prayer focus event in St Patrick’s, Ballymena,
on Saturday 12th March.

The evening gets underway at 7 pm with special guest Emma Thompson from 24/7 Prayer who looks after Prayer Spaces in Schools for Northern Ireland. The evening will include worship, games, food and an opportunity to hear more about prayer spaces.

For further information please contact Diocesan Youth Officer Christina Baillie at christina@connor.anglican.org.


If any parishioner known to you is sickor in hospital, please contact the church office or the clergy so that they may be visited.
Thank you


TEA ROTA MARCH 2016

Please 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.

6th March Gillian Dalton Tamera Milligan Andrea Drysdale

13th March Valerie Kirk Robin Gray Joan Gray

20th March Marion Money Janet Davis Diane Strain

27th March Nadine Davison Alex Jones Liz Hanna


TABORA

Further to last month’s note regarding the proposed visit to
Tabora, Emmanuel would like it to take place before the
schools break up at the end of May.  It is therefore being
planned for the first 2 weeks in May, to be back in time for the
Confirmation Service on 15th May.

Should anyone be considering this experience of a lifetime, a
decision needs to be made soon as visas and inoculations,
not to mention flights have to be arranged. 
Please speak to Lynn Rodgers for advice on costs and expectations.


BLOOD DONATION SESSIONS


Town Hall, Carrickfergus

Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th March
1.30 pm – 4 pm & 5.15 pm – 8 pm

Parish Walking Group


Saturday 12th March

Loughmourne Walk
A walk in stunning countryside with lake views—maybe home-made scones to finish!
(Especially suitable for children & families)

Meet at 10 am at 48 Loughmourne Road
(Christine Cahoon’s house)

For further details contact Harry Kirk or Robin or Joan Gray

GENERAL Easter vestry


Wednesday 6th April 2016
7.30 pm in the Church Halls

All those on the Register of General Vestry Persons
are invited to attend





 
St Nicholas Sketch