Be Sure to receive our weekly newsletter, for details of logon for zoom events. Contact the office Monday, Wednesday or Thursday or drop us an email
General (Easter) Vestry The General Vestry that we hold every spring was postponed this year. We have now been advised that all parishes are requested to hold a General Vestry meeting. St Mark’s General Vestry will be held on Tuesday the 13th of October at 7.30 p.m. in the Church. Meeting in the church building allows us to keep social distancing and welcome parishioners who wish to attend. At the meeting there will be a presentation of last year’s parish accounts, election of a Select Vestry. As it is a triennial year, we will also elect Parochial Nominators and Diocesan Synod representatives. More information to follow.
Join us for a fun and friendly Zoom quiz on Friday 18th of September at 8.00 p.m. All you need is a sheet of paper and a pen. The quiz leaders for the night are the Aiken family and Grace Steed. The evening will challenge our knowledge of C. S. Lewis, Space-geography, GCSE knowledge and butterflies. We look forward to seeing many of you for an evening of fun. Please contact the rector for more information.
Flowers and Floodlighting Sunday 20th of September 2020 Sanctuary flowers this week are the kind gift of Revd Clifford Skillen in memory of his parents.
Book Club The next meeting of the Book Club is on Tuesday the 6th of October at 8.00 p.m. The book up for discussion is: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Millar Jr. This novel from 1959 takes us to a monastery in the American desert after a devastating nuclear war. It is a novel stretching over a thousand years as the world is being rebuilt again.
Butterflies of Hope Churches in Down and Dromore are being invited to flood our Diocese with Butterflies of Hope – the hope we have in Jesus Christ. We are hoping that all – young and old – will feel inspired to create their own butterfly, whether that is made from paper, fabric, clay, wood or recycled materials. They should be returned to church or the parish office by Sunday the 20th of September so that a wonderful display may be created around the church buildings and grounds. As part of the Butterflies of Hope we are looking for words. Which word – words bring hope to you? It can be a verb, and adjective, a short sentence a line from the Bible. Please share your word – words with us. We plan to gather all the suggested words and display them on a large butterfly outside in the church grounds. Please email your suggestion/s to firstname.lastname@example.org Make your butterflies bold, bright and colourful.
This year we will celebrate our harvest thanksgiving on Sunday the 27th of September at 10.00 a.m. in the Church and 6.30 p.m. on Zoom. Our theme this year is Hope and Harvest and this is captured in Bible readings and poems, prayers and music. During the month of September, the Sunday School and parishioners have been making Butterflies of Hope. These butterflies will be part of our decorations, both inside and outside the Church. Those of you who have made butterflies, please bring them to Church on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.or hand them in to the Parish Office during opening hours. (T. 028 9065 4090). Some of the Flower Guild will decorate the Church for harvest this year. Numbers of volunteers are restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If, however, you wish to contribute with a donation or some flowers, please contact Johann Henderson: T. 028 – 9065 6951 or M. 07918 – 916 438.
Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Appeal 2020 When you turn on the news, it is easy to get discouraged with all the challenging things that are happening in the world. But God is still good, and He is still at work! Diane, who received a shoebox when she was 8 years old and said, “That day I felt loved because people who didn’t know me gave me a gift. It changed my life. It was a beautiful gift from God.” Last year, 35,000 boxes were sent from Northern Ireland and God used these simple shoebox gifts, packed with love and prayer, for children to discover Jesus and share Him with their friends and families in over 100 countries.
Local pastors across the globe are thankful for the opportunity these shoeboxes provide to spread the Gospel in their communities. We believe that God wants to use St Mark’s to send Operation Christmas Child boxes to children all over the world. We need you to support and join us as we pray, pack, and ship these gifts. Please stop on the way out of church and speak to either Lynda Bremner or Hilda Cave about how you can support this very worthwhile project and get more information on how to pack a shoebox with your family or make a donation.
This is also a great chance for us to grow in our faith and in our relationships as we work together and pray together. I believe that God wants us to be a small part of sharing His love with boys and girls in need and growing churches around the world. So, please go pack a shoebox! Here is how you can help and be involved:
1. Pack a Shoebox yourself – Shoeboxes and leaflets on How to Pack a Shoebox will be available at the back of the church from Sunday 20th September 2020. To cover project costs please place £5 in the envelope provided and put it in your shoebox.
2. Pack a Shoebox online – for those who are shielding or do not have time to make up a box, you can build a box online. It costs £20 and this includes the £5 for project costs. To do this go online to samaritans-purse.org.uk and click on Operation Christmas Child and select option ‘Shoebox Online’ and follow the 5 simple steps.
3. To make it even easier place £20 donation in the Operation Christmas Child envelope and we can build a shoebox for you.
4. Make a donation of your choice– Give a gift to support critical project costs by placing a donation in the leaflet/envelope provided.
5. Pray for the appeal and the children that will receive a box.
Please return your filled shoeboxes or donations to the Church on Sundays and place at the designated area at the back of the church or leave at the Church Office during office hours: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9.00am and 12noon. All boxes and donations need to be returned by Sunday 25th October 2020 to enable us to let the boxes sit for a few days before delivering them to the drop off centre.
CMSI: ignite online conference The annual ignite conference of The Church Mission Society Ireland, CMSI, will take place on 19th of September, starting at 10.00 a.m. Please speak to Lynn Wilson (07855455121) if you wish to attend.
Celebrations of worship, teaching and ministry with Bishop Jill Duff
Three celebrations of worship, teaching and ministry with the Reverend Pete Hughes
Study Group - New series starting soon
Over the next four weeks the study group will be exploring “mission”. The root of the word mission means “sending”. All Christian mission has at its core the God revealed in scripture, who sent his Son for us, sends his Spirit to us, and calls all people to himself. This short study will look at a variety of bible passages and will examine a wide range of issues relevant to mission. 16th September: World Horizons: The Glory of Christ Colossians 1:15-23 23rd September: The international purposes of God Genesis 12:1-4 30th September: Three-in one mission: The Spirit of Mission: Acts 2:1-47 7th October: Doxology: The consummation of Creation’s song Psalm 104
Face Coverings in Churches The following statement has been issued by the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Primates of All Ireland, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland:
At this time, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, the governments have not formally made mandatory the wearing of face coverings at services of worship. This is, in part, due to the fact that as churches we are committed to maintaining 2 metre physical distancing between household groups and strict adherence to all government guidance on hand hygiene, cleaning, ventilation etc. It, however, remains our responsibility to ensure that our services of worship are safe places for all who join with us. It has become increasingly clear that the wearing of face coverings, in conjunction with hand washing etc., is likely to reduce the spread of coronavirus, thus helping to protect others. Their use is therefore one way in which we can evidence protection for the most vulnerable, support for our health workers, and practical love for our neighbours. Following further recent consultations with public health authorities, we join with Christian church leaders all over this island in formally recommending and encouraging the use of face coverings at all services of worship, along with the ongoing maintenance of 2 metre physical distancing, from Sunday 30th August 2020, and earlier if practicable. We understand that some people are exempted from the wearing of face coverings, as outlined in the two jurisdictions. We also recognise that whilst it may not be appropriate for those who are leading from the front during worship, including preaching, to wear face coverings, they should at all times continue to maintain at least 2 metre physical distancing from one another, and 4 metre physical distancing from the front row of the congregation. The Most Revd Eamon Martin Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Most Revd John McDowell Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Rt Revd Dr David Bruce Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Revd Dr Tom McKnight President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
Advice on exemptions from the wearing of face coverings is available as follows:
On Tuesday, 4th August, a massive explosion ripped through Beirut, killing 157 people, injuring 5,000, damaging 50% of the buildings and leaving 300,000 people homeless. This disaster comes when the whole country was already on its knees due to its worst financial crisis in decades and its struggles to contain a rapidly increasing coronavirus outbreak (see report from the Washington Post at this link). Added to this, Lebanon has taken in 1.5 million refugees since war erupted in neighbouring Syria in 2011. Syrian refugees make up 30% of the country’s population, the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world. Bishops’ Appeal has long supported Christian Aid and Tearfund partners in Beirut, in their work with vulnerable communities, not least people living with disabilities, people who are refugees, people who have or are exposed to gender-based violence, and people in need of basic humanitarian assistance such as food and shelter. Already in April of this year, Christian Aid partner Basmeh & Zeitooneh (Smile & Olive) reported that they had spoken to families who at that early stage (of lockdown) were already reporting having no food, not even bread in their homes. Basmeh & Zeitooneh now reports: “Now, the food crisis will deepen further. The grain stores in the port are completely destroyed. The port is the entry way for Lebanon’s grain imports; they import 90% of their grain for the staple Lebanese bread.” Bishops’ Appeal has already funded the provision of emergency supplies and increased food and hygiene parcels for people who were destitute because they lost their casual labour jobs during lockdown. Now, as Christian Aid and Tearfund partners assess the damage and the needs, Bishops’ Appeal extends the opportunity to all parishes and individuals who wish to contribute to these vital efforts to do so via Bishops’ Appeal. Donations can be made online or sent to Bishops’ Appeal, Beirut Response, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin, D6. Tearfund church partners in the Beirut ask for our continuous prayers, saying: “Eyes on the Lord, hand to the plough, with faith that He will guide us to safe shores.” Thank you for your support. An information sheet on our Lebanon Disaster Appeal, explaining the situation, actions being taken by Christian Aid and Tearfund, and how your giving can make a difference, is available here.
Sunday Service At this time we are restricted to one service per week. This occurs at 10am each Sunday morning until further notice
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 and 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. We welcome others to join with us on Mondays at 11am for prayers.
Private Prayer The Church is open on Wednesday 2pm to 4pm for private prayer. At 3.45pm there is a Bible Reading and prayer. All welcome.
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: email@example.com
Online Church Services Wednesday evening Late Evening office and Sunday Morning worship are available on our Facebook page. At 6.30pm on Sunday a Zoom service of compline is held. Logon details are available in the weekly newsletter.
Parish Office The Parish Office remains 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.
Lastly 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.
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