Congratulations to Professor Michael Alcorn and Downshire Brass on winning a world championship, becoming First Section Champion Band at the Cory Band Online Championships 2020. They were first among 68 international competitors, having recorded their contributions individually in socially-distanced environments. The presentation was directed, collated and edited by their musical director Michael Alcorn.
Prior to Covid 19, the band delighted the fundraising gathering at Echosound each June for the Churches Ministry of Healing, Belfast, and we miss their end of season party and feast..
The office is now open and Ministry has recommenced. The Government restrictions will be strictly observed to keep 162 a Covid-free area and we will appreciate your cooperation. If you require assistance, advice, help; please telephone the office for an appointment.
The AGM is postponed until the Government restrictions are lifted. Board meetings will resume in September. The financial situation is closely monitored.
As fund-raising has stopped, the Ministry is even more dependant on the spontaneous generosity of our supporters. and recipients of ministry.
Pat’s Prayer Letter – Autumn 2020
I bought Charlie Mackesy’s beautifully illustrated book, ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ for one of my grandchildren, but couldn’t resist reading part of it. What temptation! I kept the book and promptly bought FOUR more; one for each of my adult children. It opens truths and aspects of God’s character in an unexpected and accurate ways
“Sometimes I think you believe in me more than I do.”
You’ll catch up” said the horse.
Like the boy in Charley Mackesy’s book, very many people do not know that they are infinitely loved by God. We meet them when they walk through the doors of 162 hurt and with a hopelessness; feeling that they are of no worth. That is often where the healing journey starts. There is no doubt that the recent Covid lockdown has caused a lot of issues to surface, where, thankfully, with God’s help, they can be examined, processed and healed, or put to rest.After a gentle return, we are now in a position to open up some more of our activities at 162, always with a view to client care and safety.
I have been speaking with the Dean of St Anne’s Cathedral about restarting our Friday Lunchtime Healing Services, and we hope to be back there very soon, however much depends on the current coronavirus trends, and we need to be patient. We will be in touch when we have some firm information.
During this week I have been attending the Bishop’s Bible Week at St Anne’s Cathedral, led by Peter Lynas, the Director of Evangelical Alliance (NI), who presented us with the challenge of ‘opportunity’. Covid lockdown brought closure to church buildings; services have been ‘on line’ and we have watched in the isolation of our own homes, unable to interact with anyone outside our immediate family. Now, the ‘challenge’ is to seek new ways of sharing our faith with others. Yes, there is no doubt that we love our churches, but they can represent only fond and happy memories rather than a training ground for mission. We have to remember that ‘the church’ is US. It’s no good attending, singing and saying ‘Amen’ and building up our feel-good factor and not putting our faith into practice. Church is hardly a boot-camp, but it is a training ground for action. It is where we can build one another up and encourage each other to take our faith outwards to others. On Wednesday night at St Anne’s, one of the worship songs we sang was:
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
The Cross before me, the world behind me;
no turning back, no turning back.
When I heard the music I was transported back in my mind 25 years to a time that I was studying at Belfast Bible College for a Bachelor of Divinity degree. It was the summer of my second year and I was 51 years old. One of college’s requirements was that full time students took part in ‘field terms’. These were 6-8 week periods where we could, with the approval of college, choose a place to go to observe, and then share your faith where possible. I had been to Uganda shortly after Idi Amin had been toppled from power and loved the people I met, so in 1995 my proposed field trip was to Uganda. I was to go (on my own) to Fort Portal in the west, near the border with Zaire, (now called the Democratic Republic of Congo) to stay at a college for training students for the Church of Uganda. However, their plans for me were that I should be sent out into the community. I was told that I would be kept very safe. In a place called Rwimi, the safe place to keep me was the prison!
I stayed 3 nights there, under armed guard. On the Sunday they asked me to go to meet some of the prisoners at their church service, which was held on some rough grass outside their cells. They were ragged and dishevelled but the singing was heavenly. Maybe you’ve guessed it, their most moving song was ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’. It still stirs deep emotions, but it also brings the challenge to move forward. No matter where we are or what has happened during this most unusual Corona virus affected time, we move forward looking to Jesus in gratitude for all that is past, and travelling into a new future with Him.
The Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer group, which meets at 162 on the third Wednesday in the month resumed in August. Our next meetings will be on 16th September, 21st October and 18th November, from 10.30 -11.30 am.
The Craft Group has resumed on Mondays from 10.00 – 12 noon.
Prayers for Israel and the Nations, which meets on the second Tuesday of the month, resumes on 8th September from 11.00 am to 12 noon.
Tuesday Holy Communion with Prayers for Healing will recommence on Tuesday 15th September at 10.00am.
The Book Club is now meeting at 10.30am on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month. We are studying Max Lucado’s book, ‘Before Amen’. This book is an encouragement to pray better and with more fire, (to quote the resume’ on the back cover).