As part of the Palm Sunday call to prayer for Ireland between 3–4.00 pm made by church leaders and para church leaders from across the island, Bishop David invites everyone with a connection to any of the churches in our diocese to do three things on Palm Sunday 5th April from 3.45 pm – 4.00 pm.
To place a cross or draw a picture of a cross in the time leading up to 3.45 pm from 3.00 pm onwards (where appropriately involving children in this activity) placing a cross in the window or putting the picture of the cross on a window in your home facing outwards.
If you physically can to then please kneel.
Pray aloud or silently as appropriate while kneeling (if you can) or sitting the following two prayers:
Prayer AHeavenly Father, We pray for all those on the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus. For doctors, nurses, pharmacists and all medical staff, especially those we know (name any known to you). For all those working in essential services (name those known to you). For those who are sick, those who have been bereaved and those living alone who may be afraid (name those known to you). And for all of us, That we may know the peace of God that passes all understanding (name family and close friends). Lord God help us to hear and to heed your voice as you lead and guide us daily. God Almighty enable us to know your presence and your power in our lives that we would see you at work more and more as each day passes. We cry out to you asking you to intervene and halt the spread of this virus. We ask for your wisdom and enabling for all involved in research to find a vaccine. We pray for a new wind of your Holy Spirit to blow across this island with healing and hope, repentance and faith towards you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, leading to the salvation of many. In your love and mercy, we pray that you would bless us with a new awareness of your presence with us, your love towards us, your kindness and care for us and for all those for whom Jesus lived and died. May we and may many respond to you with all our hearts in love and faith. We pray this in and through the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen Prayer BAlmighty and merciful God who in days of old didst give to this land the benediction of thy holy Church; Withdraw not, we pray thee, thy favour from us, but so correct what is amiss, and supply what is lacking, that we may more and more bring forth fruit to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Bishop David says:“I welcome this initiative and with it the opportunity for Christians across this island to cry out to God for our land that He would heal, that He would bless, that He would come among us with His grace and mercy and saving love. I have in recent weeks provided a number of prayer resources. This call does not replace them but simply adds another opportunity for all of us in Down and Dromore Diocese to join with others in praying fervently and in a unite way into our current situation and for Ireland this Palm Sunday.” Yours in His love + David
This letter is written in a spirit of hope. On St Patrick’s Day, the Church of Ireland suspended all services on Sundays and weekdays as well as other activities as a response the Government’s Corona – Covid 19 guidance. This apply to St Mark’s, Dundela. However, we are still a church community, the Body of Christ, and we continue to pray, build up one another in faith and serve our neighbours – though in a different way, as we are facing a challenging and uncertain time. Below, you can read what we do at present.
Daily Prayers Every day at 11.00 a.m. a bell will chime in St Mark’s Church. As the bell rings, prayers will be said in the church, asking for God’s guidance, strength for his people and God’s blessing upon us, our neighbourhood and nation in this time of uncertainty. As you hear the bell or know that it is rung, join us wherever you are for a moment in prayer. This is powerful, especially as, at present, we do not gather for services but we, God’s people, are encouraged to pray wherever we are and whenever we can.
Private Prayer The Church will be open for private prayers at different times. Times are advertised on Facebook, Instagram and the noticeboard outside the parish hall (at the corner Sydenham Avenue and Holywood Road). This may change, depending on future advice we receive. Please enter through the north porch and wash your hands on arrival and make sure that you sit no closer than 2 meters to anyone else. Please do not come in if you are feeling unwell. At the time of circulating this letter, the church will be open for private prayer on Sunday 22 of March between 4.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Weekly Email Every week we will send you an email, a prayer letter with readings and reflections, prayers and poems and other relevant information. This is a way for us to stay in touch with you, when we cannot meet face-to-face.
If you wish to receive this weekly letter, please email the Parish Office and you will be added to the list of recipients, you can do so by replying to this email by telephone or by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Church Services Tomorrow we hope to have a small act of worship and reflection, posted on our Facebook page. It is our first attempt and the clergy, the organist and others in St Mark’s, are exploring different ways to record acts of worship that can be shared with parishioners through email attachments, on Facebook and on our website. More information about this will follow. On its website, the Church of Ireland lists different broadcasts and online church services: https://www.ireland.anglican.org/ The Diocesan website has regular updates and you can find it at: https://www.downanddromore.org/
How we can help and support each other A group of parishioners are willing to offer you support and practical help. The tasks we can help with are at least threefold. Firstly, a phone ministry if you wish to have someone to talk to. We can arrange for someone from church to phone and make regular contact with you. Secondly, you may need assistance with messages and errands outside your home, that you no longer can do yourself. This may be collecting prescriptions from the chemist as well as buying food, posting a letter etc. Thirdly, the clergy are always available at the other end of the phone or by email, if you wish to have a conversation, pray together with us, or discuss matters that are pressing or of concern.
Please be assured that all volunteers and helpers are instructed and supported by Revd Helene and Revd Chris and we do all we can to maintain confidentiality. This ministry is co-ordinated via the Parish Office and parishioners who would like support in any way are welcome to contact us. Please phone us on: T. 028 – 9065 4090 or send an email: email@example.com
This support is available not only to all our parishioners but also to those who live in our parish. No matter our age, if we live alone or not, we all may need a cheerful voice at the other end of the phone or a helping hand.
Sunday School As our children will no longer come together on Sunday mornings, the Sunday School teachers have kindly put together a weekly pack that will be sent to children via email. This children’s ministry is open to all. Please email the office, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you would like your child to receive a weekly greeting and some thoughts for the week.
Parish Office The Parish Office remain attended (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9.00 a.m. to 12 noon). However, we are not open to visitors, but someone is at the other end of the phone and emails are read. Our letterbox, which is in the window, to the left of the entrance door of the Heyn Hall (St Mark’s Parish Hall), is checked daily, where you can leave any correspondence, Free Will Offering Envelopes or suggestions on how we can support each other. Thank you.
The Larder Thank you very much for your support and gifts to the local foodbank, The Larder. We will continue to receive donations, please bring them to the Heyn Hall (St Mark’s Parish Hall), during office hours and leave your donations by the door and we will pass on the donations.
If we do not have your email or phone number, please send it to us as it will help us to keep in contact with you. During this uncertain period, we will keep in contact with you through email, social media (Facebook and Instagram) and our website. We are here to support you and to listen. And we would love to hear from you; please share your ideas and words of encouragement so that we can pass them on to other parishioners. Thank you.
come and scatter the darkness of our hearts by the light of your presence; that we may know you the Light of the world and the one true God, blessed this night and for evermore. Amen. (Common Collect: The Late Evening Office)
St Mark’s Easter General Vestry Meeting (CANCELLED) Tuesday 28 April 2020, 7.30 pm in Parish Hall. All welcome to attend this meeting which reports on the progress of the Parish over the past year. Sunday
(CANCELLED) Children’s and Youth activities this spring
Sunday School and Creche: We meet during the 10.45 am Sunday service in the Music Room of the church. During the month of March the children will be following the CMSI Children’s Resource about life in Burundi, and learning the song ‘Every Blade of Grass’ to sing on Mothering Sunday. Contact: Yvonne McMaster 9042 2836
(CANCELLED) Youth Fellowship This meets on the second Sunday of each month, 7.30 pm in the Heyn Hall when we have fun learning about important themes in the Bible. The third Sunday is JAM night when we design the YF church service and practise some praise songs. On the fourth Sunday of each month the YF lead the 6.30 pm evening worship in the church, and chill out afterwards. 8 March The Bread Maker - use your loaf and learn how Jesus satisfies our needs. We’ll also bake some bread. 12 April Jesus is our team manager - what it means to be part of the best team ever. 10 May BFF - Jesus is our best friend forever, that’s really good news with exams looming.
The YF team enjoyed running their Christmas Film afternoon in December, when a number of kids made crafts, and watched Arthur Christmas. The event raised £140 which will be used to support two YF members as they embark on their visit to our mission partners in Kenya this summer. Well done
St Mark’s Mission Link with Urban Development Programme (UDP) Nairobi, Kenya Latest News and Timeline
Messy Church provides an innovative way of looking at the main characters and events of the Bible. Using crafts, games, songs and activities, children gain biblical knowledge, while having fun. Messy Church is followed by snack time after all the work is done. Children need to be accompanied by an adult (you’ll have fun too!). Join us for a Messy Mix-up in the hall on Saturday 25 April from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm.
(CANCELLED) Messy Church provides an innovative way of looking at the main characters and events of the Bible. Using crafts, games, songs and activities, children gain biblical knowledge, while having fun. Messy Church is followed by snack time after all the work is done. Children need to be accompanied by an adult (you’ll have fun too!). Join us for a Messy Mix-up in the hall on Saturday 25 April from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm.
Afternoon Tea in the Rectory : (CANCELLED) Tuesday 25 February, 24 March, 28 April and 26 May 2020
At 3.00 pm in the Rectory, 4 Sydenham Avenue. Chat over a cuppa. Contact: Revd Helene Steed 07342 7203506
Book Club (CANCELLED)
5 May Straight is the Gate by Andre Gide. A powerful story of young love blighted by religious dedication. Contact: Revd Helene Steed 07342 720350
(CANCELLED) Creative Stitching Group: Meets in the Heyn Hall on the second and fourth Tuesday each month from 7.30 pm. Bring along your choice of creative project and enjoy some chat together as we work, all levels of experience welcome. Recently the group have completed some beautifully hand-embroidered linens to be used during communion. Contact: Ann Clark 9029 2205
Evergreens (CANCELLED) : A group of seniors, young at heart, who meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 2.30 pm for fellowship and activities. Perhaps you know or care for an elderly friend or relative? Do bring them along. 11 March Easter craft activity afternoon. 8 April No meeting, as it is Holy Week. 13 May End of Year Afternoon Tea. Contact: Lorna Symmons 9065 2777
Flower Guild: If you would like to help with floral arrangements, or the Easter decorations on Saturday 11 April 10.00 am to 12 noon, please get in touch. Contact: Parish office 9065 4090
The Men's Group (CANCELLED)
Men’s Group: The men’s group meets monthly in the Heyn Hall. Tuesday 10 March 7.30 pm Curry night - Bollywood without the dancing Tuesday 14 April War years remembered - A trip to a private museum in Ballyclare to see an interesting collection of memorabilia. We assemble at the Heyn Hall at 6.30 pm Tuesday 12 May 7.30 pm French boule, baguette and fromage evening. We will be playing at the historical C.S. Lewis petanque court to the rear of the Old Rectory, where completely unconfirmed rumours suggest that this is where Revd Hamilton taught C.S. Lewis how to play French boules. Contact: Revd Chris St John 07463 745105
Mothers Union: Meets in the hall on the third Wednesday of the month. (CANCELLED) 18 March Join us for the Lenten Service in Church 7.30 pm, followed by supper. 15 April A talk by Pat Todd from the Lace Guild, including reference to founding member of MU, Thelma Goldring, 8.00 pm. May Summer outing, details to be confirmed. Contact: Ann Clark, Branch Leader 9029 2205
Music at St Marks: (CANCELLED) Our Music Group welcomes instrumentalists to play together at many of our services. Contact Sarah Bass: 07731 422002.
Open Choir: (CANCELLED) Meets to rehearse on Wednesdays from 6.00 to 7.15 pm in the Music Room in the Church, and from 10.00 am on Sundays to support hymn singing at the 10.45 am service.
The choir prepare a wide range of easy and more challenging pieces, from African spirituals to canticles sung in four parts, and were delighted to have their new chairs dedicated in February, in memory of loved ones, many of whom have inspired them to sing. An open invitation is extended to parishioners and friends of St Mark’s who love singing (even with no previous experience), are selective with time investments (there’s no long term commitment) and who want to leave refreshed and inspired.
Why not try joining us as an occasional singer as we prepare for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday? Sing the Hymnal: join us in the Side Chapel for a devotional hour of prayerful singing of traditional Lenten hymns on Monday 30 March, 6.45 to 7.45 pm, continuing from Hymn 1 on Monday 27 April and Monday 18 May.
Everyone welcome. Motley Motets: Calling for 4 to 8 confident, independent singers to perform a cappella motets on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, two rehearsals to be arranged. Repertoire to include Renaissance motets and Durufle’s Ubi Caritas. Contact: Beth Aiken 07874 044317
Scottish Country Dancing: CANCELLED) A mixed group of beginner and improving dancers, meets in the hall on Thursdays at 7.30 pm. Our final meeting of the season will be on Thursday 2 April. Contact: John Campbell 07923 492357
Study Group (CANCELLED)
The study group meets second and fourth Wednesday from 8.00 to 9.00 pm in the hall. It seeks to gently develop a sound theoretical and biblical knowledge, through a combination of teaching and discussion, enhancing your bible reading experience. During Lent and Easter the study group will not be meeting as the Wednesday services during this period will be incorporating interesting talks. After Easter we will recommence the very popular “Divine Conspiracy” series by Dallas Willard. 22 April Treasuring what matters most 13 May Becoming a community of prayerful love 27 May Living as a disciple of Jesus Contact: Revd Chris St John 07463 745105
The Divine Conspiracy, the first in a video study series by Dallas Willard. 22 January The path to a blessed life. 12 February Becoming a good person. 26 February Treasuring what matters most.
Contact: Revd Chris St John 07463 745105
Walking Group: (CANCELLED) Meet at the Heyn Hall, and join us for a family friendly walk, suitable for all, followed by coffee. Saturday 14 March 1.30 pm Floodgates Walk at Strangford Lough Saturday 4 April 1.30 pm Killynether Wood, Scrabo Saturday 2 May 1.30 pm A tour of Pogue’s Entry, Antrim Contact : Hannah Nelson 9065 1916 For more information on any parish group or event, you can also contact the parish office or clergy, see the inside front cover for details.
Update from the Treasurer, John Campbell Our parish meeting in November communicated the significance of the financial challenges that the Select Vestry had been grappling with since May 2018, and invited parishioners to consider what they could do about increasing their giving, or at the least, to change to giving by Standing Order. I am pleased to report a noticeable increase in giving by Standing Order, which is a fabulous initial response. Thank you. Everyone who attended church during January will have noticed some issues with the heating system, and will have heard the Rector explaining that repairs were underway. Several parishioners sought information about potential costs, so that they could make a donation towards the repairs.
The Select Vestry have approved expenditure up to £5000, and anyone who would like to support those repairs should mark their donation separately from Freewill Offering. Any contribution will be very helpful. A full financial report will be available at the Easter General Vestry meeting, Tuesday 30 April at 7.30 pm.