Congratulations Chris - today it was announced that Chris has been appointed Rector of St Nicholas' Church, Carrickfergus. Pray for Chris and Andrea as they prepare to move to Carrickfergus, their ministry among and for the people in St Nicholas' parish. Date of installation to be confirmed.
Pastoral Letter to be read at all services in the Diocese of Down and Dromore on Sunday 22 November 2020 Beloved in Christ,
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and those you love. These are days that stretch all of us, days in which we look to Christ for wisdom and to the Holy Spirit for guidance. They are days when the church and those who follow Christ need to own the calling that is ours to love and care for our neighbours, to consider and care for the needs of others and to love God with our whole lives, proclaiming Christ faithfully in all circumstances, at all times and in every place.
In the days and weeks ahead as we deal with this awful Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions placed upon us I’m calling on all of us in our churches and parishes to respond in ways that bear witness to Christ and to his Gospel.
First, please be diligent in observing all the ways we can keep others and ourselves safe. In public places please wear a mask, observe social distancing, wash our hands often and let’s do all in our power to keep each other safe.
Secondly, please pray earnestly for all those who currently work for our health service. Many of them are at the front-line in fighting this pandemic as they literally fight for the lives of those who are sick because of this virus. Alongside praying, let’s as church congregations identify those among us who work for the health service and find ways of supporting them and their families at this time.
Thirdly, as churches please find ways of supporting local businesses who have been impacted by periods of lockdown. These include what are regarded as non-essential retail, close contact services and hospitality. This Christmas please support them by doing as much as possible of your Christmas shopping from these local businesses. Why not give gifts of gift tokens from local businesses? Please support those whose future livelihood is on the line.
Fourthly, let’s be kind in our dealings with those who are working tirelessly to serve our communities. Perhaps you are retired or because of other life circumstances have time to hand. Please use that time to pray for others who are stretched and giving tirelessly of themselves. Please speak kindly and supportively to them. Please demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your dealings with others; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Fifthly, those of us whose income has not been impacted by Covid-19 now have a Christian responsibility and indeed the privilege of ensuring that our churches are well positioned to serve our communities. We want to bring Christ’s love in practical ways to those around us and also ensure that the message of the Gospel is being spread abroad in our parishes and beyond. So you and I whose income has not been impacted in recent days should look carefully at how we can increase what we contribute to the work of God in our church each week or month, both now and onwards into 2021.
Finally, we are set in family and in local communities. Be watchful of those around us whose lives and livelihoods are being impacted, those whose security has been shaken and even those who might be victims of domestic abuse or in other ways ‘at risk’. Let’s be mindful of them, watching out for them, prayerful for them and loving towards them.
As Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonians,
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”
Be blessed and stay safe in the weeks ahead,
Yours in Christ
St Mark's Weekly Newsletter
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
New Government GuidelinesYesterday the Executive annonced new Covid-19 restrictions. We also received new guidelines from the Diocese of Down and Dromore. This is how it will affect us in St Mark’s parish: ·Church services (Sundays and mid-week): No changes. We can continue as have as long as we adhere to social distancing (2 m); hand-sanitising; and wear face coverings. ·Funerals: As of Friday the 16th of October, no more than 25 can attend a funeral. That applies both the the church service and the grave-side / crematorium. ·Weddings: As of Monday 19th of October, no more than 25 can attend. ·Baptism: No change as baptism is part of our services. ·Activites: We will continue with parish activities on Zoom. ·Sunday School: The children will meet on Sunday at 11.15 a.m. on Zoom. An email will be sent to Sunday School famillies with login details. For more information, please contact Emma Dale or Sarah Bass.
General Vestry Meeting - ElectionsOur General Vestry Meeting was held on Tuesday the 13th of October at which we received the Parish Accounts for 2019 and a Property Report. At the meeting, we elected a Select Vestry to serve from now until the next General Easter Vestry. In addition, we elected Parochial Nominators and Diocesan Synod Representatives, all who will service for three years. Sincere thanks to all of you who have agreed to serve our parish in these roles, may I encourage all of us to pray for them.
For the year 2020/2021 Rector’s Church Warden: Mr Robert MacBride People’s Church Warden: Mrs Joan Atkinson Rector’s Glebe Warden: Mrs Lynn Wilson People’s Glebe Warden: Miss Laura Hillis
Select Vestry members(in alphabetical order):
Mrs Eileen Anghel Dr Sarah Bass Mr John Campbell Mrs Ann Clark Ms Lesley Donaldson Mrs Emma Dale Mr Brian Kennedy Mr Ben Knox Miss Heather McKaig Mr Michael Newman. Mr Trevor White
Honorary Auditor: Mr Mark Eakin
Triennial appointments for the period 2020-2023
Parochial Nominators (In the order they were elected.): Sir Anthony Campbell, Mr Michael Newman, Dr Sarah Bass, Mrs Lynn Wilson. Supplemental Nominators(In the order they were elected.): Mrs Ann Clark, Mr Robert MacBride, Miss Joan Frame, Miss Fiona Hart.
Diocesan Synods Representatives Mrs Beth Aiken, Mr Christopher Steed, Mr John Campbell, Miss Fiona Hart. Under the age of 30: vacant. Supplemental Synods Representatives Vacant Under the age of 30: vacant.
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.
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:
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 3pm 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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