Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ – Psalm 91:1-2
In these uncertain times with the rapidly developing situation caused by Coronavirus Covid-19, it is important that we both acknowledge our trust in God our Heavenly Father, who loves us and watches over us, but that we also take practical steps to safeguard ourselves and protect and care for one another as best we can. As such, we want our response to be Christ-centred and motivated by love as we seek to display calm and Christ’s peace in the face of uncertainty, as well as practical, prayerful love and support in the face of need. We also want to declare our faith in a mighty God who has power to heal, rescue and deliver us from harm. As we face this challenge, ‘Let us be the non-anxious presences that speak of the Prince of Peace and His wonderful coming kingdom.’
Please keep an eye here or on our Facebook Page to find further updates on how we are responding to the situation, as information becomes available.
This St Patrick’s Day, I invite you to join me in continuing to pray for our community and our Land, as well as for all who have been and will be affected by this virus, for the blessing of God’s healing presence, and for his comfort and peace to surround us all at this difficult time. Do also pray for our Government and local councillors who are making important decisions and supporting us on the ground. Pray for our medical staff and those in the emergency and health services, who are working to respond to the crisis as it develops. Pray for God’s mercy, that he would stem the tide of this disease. Pray that God might use even this crisis to turn the hearts of people to him, that many might be saved, for his glory.
And, no matter what, let’s be ambassadors peace not panic, faith not fear, hope not hopelessness…
In the Strong name of the Trinity.
Rev. Jim Cheshire
March 22, 2020
Hopefully you’ll have seen our first online edition of our Sunday Worship Service. If not, click here and you’ll be taken to our Sunday Services and Weekly Updates page, which we’re developing. Today’s service is all about HOPE, reminding ourselves of the hope we have in Christ Jesus – even in uncertain times.
Today also marks the beginning of a prayer journey that Bishop David has called us to go on, praying for HOPE over Coronavirus. Can I ask you to please take a look at the diocesan website which explains this prayer initiative. Click on the link on that page to the video explaining this initiative and after watching it, download the prayer guide and start praying – like you’ve never prayed before. We believe in a God of miracles!
March 20, 2020
Bishop David has asked us to share the following links to updated news and information, from the Diocese. For future diocesan updates, click here.
Also, Bishop David has called us to pray especially at this time for our Land, as we have already been doing. The following are the prayers we used in church on Sunday morning. Feel free to use them at home in an ongoing way. More prayer resources will follow.
A Prayer from 24/7 Prayer, by Pete Grieg
Lord Jesus Christ, we ask you to protect us from the spread of the coronavirus. You are powerful and merciful; let this be our prayer –
[response] “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Psalm 577:1)
Jehovah Shalom, Lord of Peace, we remember those living in coronavirus hotspots and those currently in isolation. May they know your presence in their isolation, your peace in their turmoil and your patience in their waiting. Prince of Peace, you are powerful and merciful; let this be their prayer –
[response] “May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name.” (Psalm 79.8)
God of all Comfort and Counsel, we pray for those who are grieving, reeling from the sudden loss of loved ones. May they find your fellowship in their suffering, your comfort in their loss, and your hope in their despair. We name before you those know to us who are vulnerable and scared – the frail, the sick and the elderly. God of all Comfort, you are powerful and merciful; may this be our prayer –
[response] “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:10)
Jehovah Rapha, God who heals, we pray for all medical professionals dealing daily with the intense pressures of this crisis. Grant them resilience in weariness, discernment in diagnosis, and compassion upon compassion as they care. We thank you for the army of researchers working steadily and quietly towards a cure – give them clarity, serendipity and unexpected breakthrough today. Would you rise above this present darkness as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in your rays. May this be our prayer –
[response] “Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
God of all Wisdom, we pray for our leaders: the World Health Organisation, national governments, and local leaders too – heads of schools, hospitals and other institutions. Since you have positioned these people in public service for this hour, we ask you to grant them wisdom beyond their own wisdom to contain this virus, faith beyond their own faith to fight this fear, and strength beyond their own strength to sustain vital institutions through this time of turmoil. God of all Wisdom and Counsel, you are powerful and merciful; may this be our prayer –
[response] “God is our refuge and strength, an ever–present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” (Psalm 46 1–2)
I bless you with the words of Psalm 91: “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plaque that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” (Psalm 91:3–7)
[response] “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” (Psalm 4:1)
May El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty who loves you protect you. May Jesus Christ, His Son who died for you save you. And may the Holy Spirit who broods over the chaos and fills you with his presence, intercede for you and in you for others at this time.
[response] “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)
A Prayer Written by the Most Reverend Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin
Almighty and All–loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we pray to you through Christ the Healer for those who suffer from the Coronavirus Covid–19 in Ireland and across the world.
We pray too for all who reach out to those who mourn the loss of each and every person who has died as a result of contracting the disease.
Give wisdom to policymakers, skill to healthcare professionals and researchers, comfort to everyone in distress and a sense of calm to us all in these days of uncertainty and distress.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord who showed compassion to the outcast, acceptance to the rejected and love to those to whom no love was shown.
March 19, 2020
As we reflect today on our need to look to Christ for rescue, deliverance and hope in these challenging times, we need to recognise how important worship is! Taking time out to worship God in song, prayer, and meditating on His Word can literally transform us – and our situations. There’s power in the name of Jesus. And as we lift our eyes to him, and our voices in worship, darkness will be pushed back, demons flee, chains are broken, suffering is alleviatedand hope will rise.
Today I’m posting up a new playlist I’ve created for the church, and for you to share with your friends and loved ones. Here you’ll find over 10 hours of worship music to enjoy as part of your own daily devotions, or as background music for your daily routines.
I encourage you to give it a try – you might be surprised as to what happens, when you take your eyes off yourself, and off of the new stream that constantly bombards us, and lift your heart to the Lord.
To access this, just click on the link below and download the free Spotify App.
Also, there’s been an update as to how we are organising ourselves for the leaflet drop on Saturday. In order to avoid large crowds gathering together to help stop the spread of Covid-19, we are meeting in smaller groups in our particular areas to drop leaflets on Saturday. Our area is Enler and Heidi Lavery will be heading up our group. If you’d like to help, meet at Heidi’s house at 10am on Saturday. If you don’t know where Heidi lives, message me and I’ll let you know.
Further updates will follow.
Our God saves!
PS – I’m aware that our emails have been going into some people’s spam folders. If you have not been receiving our emails, please check your spam folders as we seek to rectify this problem in the coming days – and make sure to mark our email as ‘not spam’.
March 18, 2020
March 17, 2020 – Suspension of Sunday Services and Church Activities
In response to the current Covid-19 crisis, the Church of Ireland has advised us to suspend all activities and services, with immediate effect. With this in view, Bishop David has also written to encourage us in these challenging times, to be the church and the hope bringers to our community that God has called us to be.
In the next few days, our Leadership Team will be working out the specific arrangements we will be putting in place to help to maintain our worship, our care for one another and our witness to the community.
The first point of information will be our Facebook Page and this page of our website. We will also send out informational emails to our members. If we don’t yet have your details and you would like to be added to our mailing database, please send us an email and let us know.
We recognise that a lot of our parishioners do not automatically turn to the Internet for information and advice. Where possible, we would encourage parishioners to share information through their usual networks over the telephone and to follow the best public health advice about contact with others, which is readily available: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus
We continue to trust in our good, good Heavenly Father.
14 March, 2020
Excerpt from Jim’s Pastoral Letter:
Informal parish visiting will not take place at this time however pastoral care is available on request. If you desire a visit from a minister please contact me.
If you are isolated because of the virus and need help, please contact me and we will try to help as best we can.
Please remember that part of our Christian witness is to look after and care practically for those in our community who are isolated and in need of help, particularly in the coming weeks. Please be considerate of those who are most vulnerable around you and assist them if you can. If you can assist others in small, practical ways (such as delivering groceries or essential medication) then please contact me.
Please don’t stockpile groceries and supplies, as this may keep those who are most vulnerable from being able to get what they need.