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RECTOR’S LETTER

Dear Friends at St Nicholas’,
At our morning services in St Nicholas’ we are continuing to think together about the things that we can learn from the Old Testament book of Judges. It never fails to amaze me that, despite the very different setting of the Old Testament writings and the radically different society that they lived in compared to ours, we can still see so much of ourselves in these readings! Human nature is the same wherever and whenever we may live and the message of the Bible may need to be understood and interpreted for our own situation, but it always gives us a truthful lens through which to see and understand ourselves in relation to God and our neighbours.

I want to briefly share two thoughts that have come to me as we have been reading Judges together.
With depressing predictability we see the people of Israel falling into the same destructive patterns of behaviour throughout the many years covered by the book of Judges. Time and again they try to do the right thing, only to walk away from the Lord and drift into times of trouble and wickedness. They seem helpless to help themselves and need the person that God sends to rescue them from their sins.
It is a pointless thing for the people of Israel to say that they are the people of God in some of their acts of worship, when other words and actions show that their hearts are far away from Him.

These observations from the Old Testament ring true for me today. They speak to our own nation, communities, families, to me!!
Those who think that they can live good and honourable lives without submitting themselves to God will always fall short of their own goals. Despite our best intentions, there is a selfishness in the human heart, that will always cause us to fall. We need the Saviour that the Lord has supplied, we need Jesus, who frees us to be the men and women that we were created to be and gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us on that journey
Those of us who call ourselves Christians must remember that the way that we live our lives needs to be consistent with the things that we say about what we believe. People will be quick to see through us if we say one thing but do something different.

In our life together as a parish family we have as our priorities, helping those who don’t know Jesus as their Saviour to find Him and helping those who do know Jesus to live lives that speak to others of the good news of the Saviour that we follow.

Last month a number of St Nicholas folk joined with other Christians and people of goodwill to attend some meetings organised by Redeeming our Communities. RoC Carrickfergus aims to encourage people to look round about us and look to see how we can be ‘good news’ to our community, to change the community that we live in by putting our faith into practical acts of love and service. If you haven’t already heard about this, can I encourage you to think about whether this might be a practical way in which you can be a witness for Jesus amongst your neighbours and workmates?

We also heard from Cameron and Alex last month about the beginnings of the plans which they believe that God has for them when they move on from Carrickfergus later this year. They will still be with us for a number of months yet, so this is not the time for goodbyes, but it is essential that we hold them in our prayers as they plan for moving to the city of Dublin to begin a new work with Irish Church Missions amongst the business community there. Cameron will be writing in the magazine soon to share more details about this work, but in the meantime do please pray that all the necessary arrangements and finance will fall into place.

One more practical thing before I finish! The General Vestry register will be revised at this month’s Select Vestry meeting, so if you’re not already registered to speak and vote at our annual church meeting, please ask one of the churchwardens for a registration form!
With love in Jesus,
George

ST NICHOLAS' WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP

A huge thank you to everyone in the parish who donated items or money for the Baby Basics project. At our meeting on 12th February we were delighted to hand over a large amount of items for new babies and their mums, and £105 in cash, to Jill Hamilton from the Church Army office on the Shankhill Road. Jill was delighted with our contributions and spoke about the great need that exists and assured us that our gifts would be very gratefully received.

Our guest speaker was Sam Cowan, Chaplain at Belfast Port. Sam described the work that they do to bring the gospel to the thousands of crewmen on the ships that visit Belfast Port through the year. They demonstrate God's love by offering practical help and support such as warm clothing in the wintertime and Christmas presents for men who are far from home and alone at Christmas time. Sam told us that there will be over 150 cruise ships visiting Belfast this year and he will be seeking permission to visit and speak to the crews to offer Christian support. We will keep the work of SCFS in our prayers.

On 12th March we will be joined by physiotherapist Erica McKeen who will be advising us on keeping fit and active and will help us to do some exercises. This will be followed by a healthy supper. Look forward to seeing you there.
Valerie Leighton

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

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 4th March
7.00pm - 7.45pm
&
Tuesday 19th March
7.00 pm—8.30 pm

YOUNG ADULTS GROUP

There will be a young adults group starting within the church this month. We will be meeting for the first time on 27th March at the church halls at 7.30 pm. This will be ideal for some of the members of the congregation who may now be too old to attend our youth programmes or feel that they may not be ready for one of our other bible study groups. We aren't too strict on what we classify as a "young adult", so if you feel young enough to come along we will be happy to have you!

In these bible studies we will be working through the book of Titus and learning what it has to teach us on leadership and growing in our Godly way of living. It will be a very informal meeting with the chance to grab a cup of tea or coffee and chat freely about the passage and how we can apply it to our lives.

This is a great opportunity for some fellowship with one another and a chance to engage with members of the congregation we otherwise wouldn't. It is a fantastic chance to encourage one another in our faith and to be encouraged by people who are going through similar stages of life to us!

Crèche Rota March 2019

3rd       John Kane & Valerie Leighton
10th     Karen Bell & Rachel McVeigh
17th     Lorraine Gibson & Nadine Davison
24th     Deirdre Beck & Tamera Milligan
31st     Ann Hodge & Kathleen Arthur

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.

St Nicholas Parish Church

Prayer Diary – March 2019

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.  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
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everliving God, we give you thanks for bringing us safely to this day.  Keep us from falling into sin or running into danger, and in all things guide us to know and do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.        BCP

1st March – Friday
North Korea is yet again No.1 on the Open Doors World Watch List for Christian persecution.  Pray for Christians there facing imprisonment and death and give thanks, that despite this, their number grows.  Pray for their leaders, that change would come and Christ be glorified.  Pray for Open Doors.

2nd March – Saturday
Mission Carrickfergus is hosting the Carrick Community Prayer Breakfast in the Belfast Loughshore Hotel this morning, inviting those involved in schools and businesses to meet together for a time of prayer for our town.  Pray for this event and for all who will attend.  Unite your prayer with theirs for our town and our community.  Pray too for the Irish Men’s Convention taking place at the Spires in Belfast today.

3RD MARCH – SUNDAY (Sunday before Lent)
Pray for our services in church today and for this evening’s Cafe Church.  Pray for Brian preaching at St Colman’s & Ballycarry this morning and for George at St Stephen’s Millfield this evening.

4th March – Monday
Pray for this evening’s PrayerPoint and for the Board of Nomination of St Colman’s & Ballycarry as they meet for the first time this evening.  Pray for all parishes in our Diocese where there is currently a vacancy and that our Lord would raise up people, who will be faithful to His Word, so that lives would be changed and given to Him.

5th March – Tuesday
The CMS Ireland project for this year is focused on Nepal.  Pray for the success of ‘Outside In’, for CMS and its partners in Nepal.

6th March – Wednesday
The Choir and our Music group meet for practice this evening.  Give thanks for their contribution to our worship.  Pray for Alison our Organist and for Nadine.  Pray for many voices to join the extended choir when it meets to prepare for our Easter Praise Service.

7th March – Thursday
Pray for our various Small Groups that meet at different times and various locations each week to study God’s Word.  Give thanks for leaders and hosts.

8th March – Friday
Pray for our Busy Bees Parent and Toddler Group and for the Christian love and friendship extended to parents, grandparents and children.

9th March – Saturday
Pray for the Watson family.  Pray that Andrea would be restored to good health and for lives touched by their work.  Pray for Crosslinks.

10TH MARCH – SUNDAY (1st Sunday in Lent)
Give thanks for the Bible teaching we receive in St Nicholas’.  Pray for George, Cameron and Brian and their dedicated preparation of sermons.  Pray for the leaders of our Bible Class and JAM; our Youth Fellowship and Abba Girls.

11th March – Monday
Our Select Vestry meet this evening.  Give thanks for the service of our Select Vestry members and pray for this evening’s discussions and decision making.  Pray for George attending meetings in Dublin today and tomorrow.

12th March – Tuesday
Pray for this evening’s Women’s Fellowship meeting and ‘Exercise with Erica.’

13th March – Wednesday
Pray for today’s Holy Communion service and the visit to Sunnylands school.

14th March – Thursday
Pray for the sick.  Remember those awaiting hospital appointments for diagnosis and treatment.  Pray for hospital staff and home Carers.

15th March – Friday
Pray for ICM and for Mark Smith at City Church in Dublin.  Give thanks for the positive things happening in City Church and that their ministry will grow.

16th March – Saturday
Pray for the Walking Group on their walk around Woodburn Dam today.

17TH MARCH – SUNDAY (2nd Sunday in Lent/St Patrick’s Day)
Give thanks for those who influenced you in your faith and for those seeking to spread the Gospel.  Pray for our Holy Communion with Prayers for Healing.

18th March – Monday
Pray for the preparations for Holy Week services in the Church of the Nazarene and for this year’s preacher Bishop Eric Menees.

19th March – Tuesday
Pray for this evening’s PrayerPoint.  Pray for our uniformed organisations.

20th March – Wednesday
Pray for this morning’s clergy visit to Oakfield School for their Assembly.

21st March – Thursday
Remember today those who are recently bereaved.
22nd March – Friday
Pray for Emmanuel and Children’s ministry in the Tabora area.  Give thanks for small steps toward a link with CEF.

23rd March – Saturday
Pray for our Bishop Alan Abernethy as one phase of his treatment comes to an end.  Pray for his continued good progress.

24TH MARCH – SUNDAY (3rd Sunday in Lent)
Pray for this morning’s Service of the Word and for Brian preaching at St Katharine’s Fortwilliam.

25th March – Monday
Pray for Senior Moments.  Pray for our church and halls cleaning teams.

26th March – Tuesday
Pray for the Bible Society, translating, publishing and distributing the Bible.

27th March – Wednesday
The Diocesan Synod for the Arctic Diocese begins tomorrow in Yellowknife and runs until Sunday.  Pray for a positive outcome to changes in the Diocese and for the three Suffragans to be elected.  Pray for the McCartney family.

28th March – Thursday
Parish News is assembled this morning.  Pray for Catherine and her team.

29th March – Friday
Today is the day that the UK is due to leave the EU.  Pray for our nation and for our future good relations with our neighbouring nations.

30th March – Saturday
Pray for Cameron and Alex’s plans for Evangelism in Dublin.  Pray for a warm welcome in the city and a positive response from neighbouring churches.

31ST MARCH – SUNDAY (4th Sunday in Lent/Mothering Sunday)
We celebrate Mothering Sunday at this morning’s family service.  Give thanks for family life and for those who have taken on the nurturing role of mother.  Pray for mothers and children where that relationship has broken down.

SUNDAY SCHOOL NOTES

The month of February has been a short month for JAM and Bible Class but this does not deter us from learning The Word of God.  Presently the JAM programme is looking at: God Hears Prayer, looking at all different types of prayer from books of the Old Testament; Ruth and Jonah and then moving on to the persistent Neighbour in the New Testament.

Junior Bible Class has just finished Abraham and moving on to Ruth.  Senior Bible Class are still continuing on with Paul's travels.  Plenty of enthralling learning for us all.

I would like to say that we have had a few new recruits to both JAM and Bible Class.  This is so wonderful to see and I pray it will continue.

As I said last month Rory Bell from Teaching and Training Ministries will be holding a training day on Saturday 6th April
10 am to 4 pm at Union Theological College, Botanic Avenue, Belfast.  If anyone is interested in attending the event please let me know. JAM leaders and Bible Class leaders hope to attend. Cost is £10.  I can totally vouch you will NOT be disappointed.

Again if anyone is interested in attending Crosslinks Camps please speak to me, Senior Camp (aged 12-17) 27th July to 3rd August, venue is Castlewellan Camp.  Junior Camp (aged 8-11) 10th August to 17th August, venue is Fivemiletown College.

Parents just a wee reminder, if you are dropping your children or young people down at the Halls and not attending Church, please note that it will be probably 11.15 ish when the Halls will be opened, BUT on the first Sunday of the month, the Halls will be opened before 11 am.  I hope this clears up any confusion.

I have received more completed JAM forms. If you haven't completed one, please speak to me or the Team as this is a requirement for GDPR.  There are a few still outstanding.

If anyone would like any more information on JAM, or on the Bible Class, please contact me or someone from the Team.
Please continue to pray for our children of JAM, young people, all our leaders, helpers and Thank You to you the congregation for all your continued support.
Sharon Maxwell JAM Co-ordinator

SOUND DESK ROTA MARCH 2019
                    Morning                    Evening
3rd          Gordon Dalton           Steven Todd
10th        Johnnie McAlister        Glenn Nelson
17th        Rachel McVeigh          Julie Irvine
24th        Steven Todd              Cafe Church
31st        Graeme Miles            Glenn Nelson

Children's Outreach Mission

By the time you read this it will be March, the third month.  Where have the first two gone?  Yes, time flies and yes, as we get older it flies faster!  Emmanuel has recognised this phenomenon in his life and the arrival of a few grey hairs has alerted him to the fact he is getting older.  What has this little bit of nonsense got to do with the Children’s Mission in Tanzania?

Emmanuel has realised afresh the urgency of the work he is engaged in.  Our Lord has set in place a fixed timescale governed by the rising and setting of the sun together with the passing of the seasons and only He knows when a new heaven and a new earth will come about.  Before and until that time comes, there are children and parents in the greater Tabora area, that need to know the love and the forgiveness that faith in Jesus offers.

This is why we do ‘Mission.’  People need to know.  Mission needs to be a core activity of any Church worth its salt.  There is of course Mission on a macro scale and Mission on a micro scale.  Both go hand in hand as we, as individuals, support our church prayerfully and financially, which in turn supports the Mission agencies.  The first cog on the wheel is us and the power to set it in motion is the Holy Spirit .  The Holy Spirit will prompt us to pray and to give.

There are many cogs on the wheel of Mission.  Emmanuel mentions a number of other activities that are ‘driven’ from the power source.  Apart from the obvious Good News Clubs and schools’ work which involve direct contact with children, there are the prayer groups, prayers with families, family and individual counselling, evening classes, meetings with volunteers, organising and running various seminars, travelling to these activities around Tabora and beyond and more.

With so much activity he has barely time to scratch!  This is why he is saying it’s March already and Christmas was only a few weeks ago.  The urgency of God’s mission has struck him hard.  There are lessons for each one of us in St Nicholas’.  How urgent is Mission to each one of us?  We might not be missionaries with a capital M but we are all missionaries with a small m.  Romans 10 v 14 & 15 applies to each one of us.
Lynn Rodgers

POINTS TO PONDER

There is no higher priority in the believer’s life than to delight himself in the love of Christ.
Maurice Roberts

Man's way leads to a hopeless end - God's way leads to an endless hope.    Anon

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

LAUGHLINES

Sign in church — The new curate had put some signs around the church.  They read: Keep your eyes on me preaching! Stop reading these signs!
Granny — After church, a mother asked her young son if he had enjoyed Sunday School.  “Oh yes,” he replied.  “My new teacher is pretty cool – she is Jesus’ grandmother.”  Startled, his mother asked what made him think that. “Obvious, she never stops talking about Jesus," he replied.

Flowers in Church February 2019 (not in last magazine)

17th    Kaye Cheshire—In memory of my parents and baby Dylan

Flowers in Church March 2019

3rd    On my mum’s anniversary.  Two very long and lonely years - Lisa Thompson
10th    Vacant
17th    Vacant
24th    Memories of Angela—The Cole Family
31st     Vacant
If you would like to donate flowers for the Church please fill your name in against the appropriate space on the Flower List in the main porch or speak to either Catherine in the Church Office or Gillian Dalton. As these details go into Parish News, we would ask, if possible, that you book your chosen Sunday at least 6 weeks in advance.

Christian Burial

‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’
26th  January 2019
Hazel Gibb, 35 Thorndale Square, Carrickfergus

28th  January 2019
Cyril Holland Young, 21 Wesley Court, Carrickfergus

Thanksgiving for the Gift of Children
“Suffer the little children to come unto me”
17th  February 2019
Logan Murray Howes and Eva Summer Howes Kane

Services in MARCH 2019

3RD    9.30 am    Holy Communion
    11.00 am    Holy Communion
            ”Not by might” - Judges (7) Abimelek
            Judges 9 v 1-10        Jean Stewart
            John 10 v 11-18        The Preacher
    6.30 pm    Evening Prayer & Cafe Church
            “Blessed”: are the Merciful
            Matthew 18 v 21-35        Colin Logue

10th    9.30 am    Holy Communion
    11.00 am    Morning Prayer
            ”Not by might”-Judges (8) Jephthah
            Judges 10 v 6-11 v 7    Kathleen Arthur 
            Matthew 7 v 21-23        Joan Armstrong
    6.30 pm    Service of the Word & Cafe Church
            “Blessed”: are the Pure in Heart
            Psalm 24            Christine Cahoon

17th    9.30 am    Holy Communion
    11.00 am    Morning Prayer—”Not by might” - Judges (9)    
            Samson — a miraculous birth
            Judges 13 v 2-25        Valerie Barr
            Luke 1 v 11-17        Janice Nelson
    6.30 pm    Holy Communion & Prayers for Healing
            & Café Church—“Blessed”: are the Peacemakers
            Matthew 5 v 1-12        Jackie Kane

24th    9.30 am    Holy Communion
    11.00 am    Service of the Word—”Not by might” - Judges                 (10) Samson — a flawed leader
            Judges 15 v 1-20        Marion Letters
    6.30 pm    Café Church—“Blessed”: are the Persecuted
            Matthew 5 v 1-12

31st    9.30 am    Holy Communion
    11.00 am    Mothering Sunday Family Service
    6.30 pm    Compline
            2 Corinthians 5 v 16-21    Ray Gilbert

Brexit, Borders and the Book of Ruth (Wednesdays in Lent)

March 13th—April 10th
Belfast Cathedral invites the public, politicians, business
people, students and anyone with an interest in public
theology to a series of 5 lunchtime events focused on Brexit during Lent.

Wednesdays in Lent is a collaboration between the Cathedral and the Corrymeela Community. The programme is entitled ‘Theology in the City – Brexit, Borders and the Book of Ruth.’

Beginning on March 13th and continuing on March 20th and 27th, April 3rd and 10th, each session will run from 12 noon until 2.30 pm and will include a short service of Holy Communion, lunch and a talk which will be followed by discussion.

This series is facilitated by Glenn Jordan from Corrymeela. Please contact admin@belfastcathedral.org to register your interest.

TEA ROTA MARCH 2019

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.

  3rd Sally Campbell Tina Campbell Carol Anderson

10th Tamera Milligan Heather Parkes Colin Parkes

17th Valerie Kirk Robin Gray Joan Gray

24th Deirdre Beck Valerie Leighton Linda Mulvenny

31st Christine Cahoon Nadine Davison Patricia Wilson

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 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm

What’s happening in March
11th March        Music Quiz with Kerry Walder
25th March        Coast Guard
27th March        Luncheon Club

Parish Walking Group


Saturday 16th March

Woodburn dam
Come and enjoy some lovely scenery, fun and fellowship with our Parish Walking Group.
Especially suitable for children and families.

Meet at 10 am at Anglers car park, Woodburn Road
(adjacent to Woodburn Presbyterian Church)
For further details contact Harry Kirk or Robin or Joan Gray

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 6th March at 8 pm.
Hope to see you there.  Alison

ABBA GIRLS

Friday 15th March  7.30pm – 9.00pm
Meeting Room Upstairs in the Church Hall

All girls from P7 to secondary school age are very welcome
Craft, food, games and more

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


 
St Nicholas Sketch