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Please note the new email for the office
Click on Diary Dates to see the arrangements for the Covid-19 emergency.
Pat’s prayer letter
My Dear Friends
The winter solstice has come and gone, and the days are getting longer, although it is difficult to perceive it at the moment. Dawn is easy to observe as first light is about eight o’clock, and it comes most beautifully, often with the bright orange light of the sun making a distinct contrast with the darkness of the trees on the islands. This morning, as I watched the light increase and the tide go down, the lapwing gathered on the shore of Bird Island, just opposite Echo Sound. Then they took off for a quick morning flight. How delightful it is to see them when they come together like this, and appear to fly, just for the pleasure of it. Sometimes when you watch, they are joined by their much smaller friends, the dunlin. Then a challenge takes place as they rise and swoop together in an exciting display, with colour flashing from grey to white as the dunlin wheel and turn. However, the dunlin being smaller can turn and manoeuvre more swiftly and soon break away from the dance of the lapwing, and settle down again to feed in the soft mud.
Coming together in commitment with a united intention was the theme of the Autumn letter, which seems to have spilled over into this current communication. At Church’s Ministry of Healing: The Mount, we flourish because together we have a common commitment to Jesus Christ and a united intention to use our gifting to serve others. No one has been more instrumental in our current formation than Dr Heather Ferguson Brown, who along with her late husband Professor Malcolm Brown, encouraged and enabled us to reform our counselling service. Heather has gone the extra mile in leading our Counsellors’ Peer Support Group, with bimonthly relevant and interesting development and discussion topics, which we have both enjoyed and been challenged by. We are very sorry that she has announced her retirement. Mrs Polly Graham, our Counselling Supervisor has also indicated her imminent retirement. We will miss them both tremendously, not just because of their experience and skill, but because of their love, friendship and commitment.
The Autumn term got off to a good start with an invitation to speak at Greenisland Baptist Church, Ladies Group, who had invited members of Carrickfergus Baptist Church to join them for the morning. It was a time of renewing friendships and acquaintances from Bible College days and youth, when I lived in the area under the Knockagh and attended St Patrick’s, Jordanstown. I remember sitting in church on Sunday and hearing about Jesus telling his disciples, that if they had faith they could move mountains. After praying for about a week that the Knockagh would move, I put the exercise ‘on hold’, until I would be older and my faith would be bigger! Now I realise that I take all my little faith and place it in our great God, and have been surprised and delighted at how He has answered.
All that we do at 162 is underpinned by prayer. We have set times of prayer during each week and month. Sometimes we are delighted with the number of people who come to join us, sometimes it is only a few, but it is always challenging, and refreshing, and we know that we are never alone. In particular, the prayers for Israel and the Nations take us on a wider perspective. As we look across Belfast city, we pray against violence, as we pray for peace and hope on the streets of Jerusalem, of Belfast and our cities, and we pray against fear – that more and more would come to trust in God and find His peace and love that casts out fear. Our Emergency Prayer Line (EPL) prays on a daily basis, for each room in 162 and the ministry which takes place there. I am never surprised when someone new visits and says, ‘This place feels amazing. It is so peaceful!’
Perhaps you would like to try something new, like Contemplative Prayer? If so, then come on the third Wednesday in each month and join a like-minded number of people, who all feel the peace and benefit of this form of prayer. (It is safe and personal. You do not have to open your mouth, just open your mind and heart to God – and He will do the rest.)
During September and October, we held a four-week Prayer Ministry Course at 162. Twenty people attended and delighted us with their questions and interaction. We would be pleased to extend this out and maybe to your parish. All you have to do is ask. We are not concerned about distance! It can be during the day, evening or on a Saturday, whatever is most suitable for your location or group.
The Friday Healing Service at St Anne’s Cathedral on 22nd October, at which we had a group of 2nd year medical students from Queen’s University attending, was most interesting as we had three testaments of divine healing for them to consider, and it produced considerable discussion. Two of our team, who took part in testifying to their healing, then came with me, the following Sunday to St Canice’s Parish in Eglinton, Co Londonderry to pray and testify at a Healing Service there.
It was again a privilege to lead and preach at the Remembrance Service at Immanuel, Ardoyne. We may not like the idea of wars, but we do need to look back and remember with gratitude what has been done for us that we can live in peace and freedom from oppression, and so that our efforts can be focussed on peace-making.
I attended the Evangelical Alliance Conference held at Dundonald Elim Church, at which Pastor Malcolm Duncan spoke on Human Personhood. He dealt with the current issues concerning gender in a truly biblical way, by challenging us to love and accept others first, as God loves them. This was both challenging and reassuring, with much to think about.
The Lisburn Rural Deanery November meeting was another challenge as they had asked me to speak on ‘Keeping Your Prayer Life Vibrant’. Despite the challenge, it was good to be among colleagues who understand the struggle to stay fresh and let God renew our daily prayer in His ministry.
Dromantine was the venue of a Commission on Ministry Retreat, which I attended. It was led by Canon Michael Mitton and entitled, ‘Restoring the Woven Cord’. This led us back in faith to our Celtic roots and a review of the balanced way our ancestors on this island worshipped God, how they prayed and evangelised in a single-minded but gentle way. It was a new challenge in remembrance!
During the autumn season we had to postpone Rev Desi Maxwell’s seminar on the Beatitudes due to a bereavement. This is rescheduled for 6th May 2020.
Aiden Campbell, a local historian gave an inspired seminar on local history on 17th October. We were delighted with his depth of knowledge on the local names and also with his humour.
We welcomed Dr James McKeown in December, who led an inspiring seminar on the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus. His gentle way of teaching enabled us to grasp with deeper understanding the truth and meaning behind the written word.
At the beginning of December, the Board held a Scoping Day in which people who know us were asked to come and tell us what they thought about how things were going and how they saw us developing in the future. This was encouraging and inspiring and we plan to hold more of these in the next months.
Fundraising this session included a Table Quiz at the Lakeside Inn, Ballydugan, and a Coffee and Plant Sale in November. We also took a table for sales at Knock Presbyterian Church Ladies Night. All events were very successful.
Looking forward, I am delighted to be asked to speak at the Deaf Christian Fellowship meeting on St Brigid’s Day, 1st February, and at the Probus meeting at Knock Presbyterian Church on 10th February. I am also asked to speak at the Glenburn Senior Citizens meeting on 18th March and at Newtownbreda Baptist Church on 23rd March. The Lagan Area Deanery meeting on 20th May will be another venue for telling about the work that we do at CMH:TM.
This coming session we have planned two Quiet Days at Echo Sound during Lent (Wednesday 11th and Saturday 14th March) which are open to everyone. Please do book early as the list fills up quickly. If, alternatively, you would like a Quiet Day organised for your group (6-20 people), that can be arranged by phoning Frances at the office on 90795832.
If I can be of assistance or support in any way, in setting up Healing Services, or Prayer Teams, or preaching please do call, either on the phone or in person at 162. We all need the encouragement of coming together. Difference and distance is no object.
It isn’t only in the country that we see birds flocking together like the lapwing and dunlin on Strangford Lough, and we can see them in Belfast city centre, particularly at this time of year. You only have to cross the Albert Bridge at dusk to see a murmuration of starlings. Their winter flocks are huge, being boosted by migrant numbers from the colder areas of Europe. Being prosaic, they may feel safe from predators in their increased numbers, or perhaps they simply enjoy the pleasure of flying together. Whatever their reason for their aerial ‘dance’, this spectacular display can be quite breath-taking in the split second direction changes in flight. They simply never seem to collide, which would be disastrous, and they are carefully aware of each individual participant.
We have so much to learn from the natural world which is around us. How perfectly various species come together and ‘work’ for one another’s good and wellbeing. What a challenge that is for us even to think about. With the New Year of 2020 upon us, perhaps it is an appropriate time to review our attitudes and actions in relation to others. We could draw on words from the book of the Prophet Isaiah: 18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18, 19)
Drawing also from words in the Book of the Revelation of St John: 5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ (Rev 21:5).May I wish you all a very peaceful and blessed New Year.
Your sister in Christ
Holywood Parish donate £1700 to the
Church’s Ministry of Healing
Rab has some lovely plants at Echo Sound for sale to support the Ministry…ask in the office….
An appreciation from the Down and Dromore Healing Committee
Report to Synod 2019
‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.’
The House on the Hill, ‘The Mount’ at 162 Upper Knockbreda Road, was the ‘Vision’ of the
Reverend Doctor Pat Mollan and her team. The ‘Venture‘ then began, to create a safe space for those wishing to avail of counselling or prayer ministry. The ‘Victory’ is this, that through Christ so many lives have been impacted in this ‘House’. Also I am delighted to tell you that the debt is paid off, £157,500 paid in less than four years. Praise be to God that the labour was not and is not in vain.
There is an unexpectedness of each new day often requiring immediate intervention. The Healing Ministry is working to enable all people to know God’s healing power. The door is open for those who would enter to seek solace.
It is therefore a great privilege to be able to meet as a committee on a regular basis in ‘The Mount’. Our work is made easy because as we come together there is a real sense of being in ‘a place where heaven and earth are very close. We exist to support the Healing Ministry in our Dioceses and to that end we offer quiet days, assistance and support for Parishes holding Healing Services and prayer ministry courses. It is our desire to see the Healing Ministry as a natural rhythm in the life of every Parish. Over the past few years we have produced several resources: A user’s guide for holding a healing service, What l should give up for Lent, a resource for the Four Sunday’s in Advent, a Celebration for St. Luke’s Day, and a Healing Prayer Station.
We have just produced a new Lenten Resource, ‘Praying with The Psalms During Lent’. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every member of the committee for their input. Each person was allocated a number of Lenten Psalms to reﬂect on.
Rev Canon Gillian Withers, Chairperson.
The Book Club continues to be a source of delight with friendship, humour, discussion and growing faith in all its interactions. It is a pleasure to be part of it. We also are finding that more people are using our quite extensive library for study, reading or quiet times. As the weather improves, we are finding more people strolling or sitting in the garden for some peace in the middle of the city. We wish to encourage the use of 162 as a place where people can find a welcome and peace.
We invite you to our two great events during this session. The first is the Coffee Morning and Plant Sale at 162, which is on Saturday 4th May between 10.00 am and 12.30 pm. Please come and bring your friends. We would be delighted to show you the progress in the building and garden. The other event is at Echo Sound on Saturday 22nd June from 6.30 pm when the Downshire Brass Band will play in the garden. Bring your picnic and your chairs to this event, and bring as many of your friends as you can. It is always a most beautiful night. We would be delighted if you could support us in this event by bringing all your friends!
Ministry has been busier than ever, which makes a short break for holiday a delightful essential to sustain the energy and focus. Within a couple of days of our return home to Downpatrick from our holiday we saw some house martins arrive, and just this last weekend the swallows have begun to accumulate on the telephone wires on the lane down to Echo Sound. Having travelled from Africa through the desert, perhaps passing through Cyprus when we were there, they have travelled onward to their northern home, to be with us, for our summer.
Maybe my message is one of being aware of God’s creation, taking time to appreciate what he has done, and bringing His peace, healing and reconciliation to others, recognising that life for many, can be difficult, cruel and different.
Wishing you every blessing
Interview with Pat published in this months Church of Ireland Gazette. The interview was conducted by the Editor, Earl Storey.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
They say ‘life begins at 40’ – and for me, that was when things really started to happen. We were living in Holywood and our new vicar, Canon Jim Monroe, was a man of many challenges. I thank God for him making my pew uncomfortable and causing me to look upwards and then inwards, and examining faith matters more deeply.
Growing up in a Christian family and living next door to St Patrick’s church, Jordanstown, gave me a good start in life. I was educated at Richmond Lodge School and Belfast Royal Academy, where I met my life’s companion, Rab. We matriculated at Queen’s University, Belfast, in 1963 – Rab in medicine and I in science. I graduated PhD (Chemistry) in 1970 and BD in 1997. We have four children and eight grandchildren.
During that time, the Gazette ran an advertisement for Belfast Bible College that asked: “Would you like a deeper understanding of God’s word?” and “Would you like help finding where your spiritual gifts lie?” I had hardly applied for their Women’s Study Fellowship, until I heard God’s call into the ordained ministry. It took me a while to verbalise what was going on, and my delight was that God had been taking Rab on the same journey. We were ordained side-by-side for non stipendiaryministry at Pentecost 1997.
How did you first become involved in Christian healing ministry?
The Down and Dromore Diocesan Healing Committee invited Rab to speak at their biannual general meeting in 1997, and I ended up on the committee! They sent me on a residential course on Christian Healing for clergy and healthprofessionals at the Church of England Healing Centre in 1998. This was where I first encountered the practical reality of Christ’s healing ministry and the benefits of the symbolic laying on of hands and anointing with oil.
For anyone unfamiliar with it, how would you describe Christian healing ministry?
Christian healing is best defined as ‘Jesus Christ meeting me at my point of need’. Jesus heals today through the prayers of his faithful people. As humans, we exist as body, mind and spirit, and healing can take place in any – or all – of these areas. Healing may also be in relationships with individuals, within families or in communities. The most precious healing takes place when someone commits their life to Jesus.
Can you tell us about the Church of Ireland’s Ministry of Healing – how did it originate and what is its current role?
It emerged in Ireland in the 1930s. The Archbishop of Dublin recognised Canon Noel Waring’s gifting and directed him into a Dublin parish, where he could exercise his special gift of healing. The ministry spread from there, being established in the 1960s in Belfast at 11 The Mount.
Our mandate is found in Luke 9:2, “He [Jesus] sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” God still heals today, through the prayers of his faithful people – that is anyone who believes in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive” (Matthew 7:7). So often, we don’t have because we don’t ask.
What is your present role in the Church’s Ministry of Healing and what does it involve?
In 2009, the Church of Ireland encouraged the setting up of two autonomous charitable companies – there’s one in Belfast and one in Dublin. I am CEO and director of ministry at Church’s Ministry of Healing, The Mount.
We have teams for emergency prayer, intercessory prayer and one-to-one prayer, which may be received either at our healing service at St Anne’s cathedral, Belfast, every Friday lunchtime; at The Mount; or in parishes by invitation. We also offer spiritual direction, counselling, mentoring and befriending. Our counsellors are professionally trained and registered. Likewise, I also teach on all aspects of the healing ministry and provide seminars on related topics to encourage and develop the spread and scope of the ministry.
Are there common misconceptions about healing ministry (i.e. does everyone get healed)?
People have different expectations of Christian healing and are disappointed if healing is not immediate and complete. Two ill-informed accusations are frequently and distressingly levied at people who haven’t experienced immediate healing, “There is sin in your life” and “You haven’t enough faith.”
However, everyone has sin in their life, therefore it is always necessary to pray prayers of confession before praying for healing – not just for the sick person but for those who pray, so that the ground is ‘clean’ before we move forward. The sick or troubled person may also have doubts about their faith, but faith resides in the one who prays, and so we join our faith to theirs when we pray with them. It is a relief that Jesus said that you have to have faith the size of a mustard seed.
frequently unspoken blockage to healing is un-forgiveness and bitterness, which
need to be dealt with before healing takes place. This is a particularly
delicate area of ministry, as people must be brought to the understanding
of the necessity of forgiveness before healing happens. In all
cases, prayer for healing is simple and always in the name of
What is your vision for the future development of the Church’s Ministry of Healing?
Ultimately, I would like to see an active ministry of healing taking place as routine in every parish – that Jesus’ command to his disciples to “heal the sick who are there and tell them that the kingdom of God has come near” (Luke 9:2), would be taken as the mandate for every believer.
Until that happens, I would like to see more centres like The Mount, where ministry is offered free at the point of need, and where expertise can be taught. One of the most exciting things is watching someone nervously becoming involved in praying for healing and then seeing their prayers answered. They take a step of faith which God rewards with the healing they have requested. It is a striking way of evangelism.
What do you find most challenging or rewarding about your involvement in healing ministry?
The biggest challenge that occurs is when someone walks in, unannounced, with serious suicidal ideations. You realise that because they have come, there is a part of them that wants to live, and you pray that God will open a way of communication to healing; so you sit them down with a cup of tea and begin the listening journey. All the while, you pray silently for God to give you revelation and insight into their situation which will open a door of communication.
For someone who is fragile, or diminished, and has been very badly hurt in life – to respect them in paying attention to their distress is very important and without putting them under duress; to be given the privilege of pointing them to Jesus and watch as he sets the captives free, releasing them from the darkest dungeon (Isaiah 61).
The biggest reward is seeing someone come to a living faith; trusting their present and future into Jesus’ hands, and knowing that they are truly loved. It is the healing of the relationship between the person and their heavenly Father.
Pat’s prayer letter….
My Dear Friends,
Over the last year there have been considerable renovations completed in our garden at home, which included removing a long close line of Cupressus leylandii trees. They had been in place for over thirty years, but had surpassed their smart hedging years, and cutting back had merely delayed the decision to remove them. It was quite an operation. Men came with chainsaws and a large mulcher to reduce the branches into heaps of useful forest bark. They were closely followed by the man with a digger to remove the tree roots. Topsoil was spread and sown with grass seed, and then followed the impatient wait to see the seed germinate. Already we were looking on a new perspective. From the study window you could clearly see a long dry stone wall covered with lichen and beyond it, the lagoon, which fills and empties with each change of tide. Sitting at the study desk was like being in a concealed bird hide. We could observe the birds without disturbing them. We soon discovered that we had a resident little egret; white and smaller than his cousin the heron, who spent early morning hours in the lagoon stirring up the water’s edge with its feet, waiting to spear his food with his beak. If you drove over the causeway separating the lagoon from Strangford Lough he would take to flight tucking his long black legs up underneath him, like an airplane’s undercarriage, giving just a glimpse of his yellow feet. Some days the heron displaces him, but not for long, as there are bigger fish in the Lough. Over time on our journey of life we become accustomed to things the way they are, but occasionally we encounter a new and refreshing perspective, and are reminded that there are always different ways to revitalise and move forward.
During the Autumn term we held three seminars which were well attended. Two were based on the Old Testament: on the Book of Ruth, led by Dr James McKeown; and on ‘David and Goliath’, led by Mark Hamilton. The third seminar, led by Katie Shott, entitled ‘Autumn in Vogue’, was on being clothed in the Spirit and using our spiritual gifts. Although they were different in content, each seminar left us with a keen desire to learn more and, of course, live better! 162 was also very busy with individuals and groups visiting to learn more about the healing ministry. The Men’s Society from Inch and Kilmore visited one evening and were fascinated by the power point story of renovation and renewal of the property in which we work. It was good also for us to be reminded where we have come from and what we had to go through to reach this point. Again it gave a new perspective!
Quiet Days at Echo Sound also featured on the programme, starting in September with the Movilla Prayer Group, and a prayer group from 1st Presbyterian Church, Lisburn both in the same week. This was followed by a group from Hillsborough, and I also travelled to Fivemiletown to take a Quiet Day there with their prayer group. The Advent Quiet Days just before Christmas, came as respite during the frenetic activity of the term, and set the mood for the Christmas period.
A talk was given at Upper Kilwarlin Healer Prayer Group, which is one of our longest established prayer groups, and Healing Services were preached at Magheradroll Methodist Church, Down Cathedral, St Anne’s Cathedral, Divine Healing Ministries, Eglantine (Co Londonderry) Christ Church, Lisburn and St Patrick’s Jordanstown. Other services were taken at Ballyculter (Remembrance Sunday) and at Inch. A group of Second Year Medical Students attended the healing service at St Anne’s, heard testimony of healing from Joan Hughes and interacted with questions and comments after a short talk on healing. Frances and I also gave talks at St Columba’s Ladies’ Group, Ravenhill PW, and St John’s MU, Crumlin.
I spoke on the practice of the healing ministry at a day conference organised by Affirming Catholicism Ireland, at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute in Dublin, during which we had conference phone communication with Canon Dr Daniel Nuzum, Chairman of CMHI. The conference closed after a service of Holy Communion, with the Laying on of Hands with prayer for healing.
During the autumn one of the team asked if I would see a man, who wanted to pray the sinners’ prayer. I’ll call him William. He had not had a great life to date, having been separated by the social services from his wife and children because if his activities outside the law. When I got talking to him and asking him about his beliefs, I said, ‘William, I don’t think that you need to say the prayer because it seems to me that you really love Jesus. I can see it in your eyes when you talk about him’. That might have surprised him, but he said, ‘Yes, I really love him, but I want to do things properly’. How wonderful to lead him in the prayer. He subsequently brought his wife and daughters so that they might be led to Jesus. What a new perspective on life they now have. They are now living in the same house together, no longer separated, and attending their chosen church each Sunday for worship as a family, and also attending during the week for Bible study. His wife, who was walking slowly on a rollator when I first met her is now moving about freely, released from pain. For them God has made all things new.
The Book Club continues to thrive. When we finished the book, ‘The War Room’ we had a showing of the film which inspired the book at the Tudor Cinema Comber. We have now moved onto a new book, ‘Lifelines’ by Andy Croft and Mike Pilavachi. If you would like to join us, then please do, as each chapter stands alone, and we are always pleased to expand a group.
Fundraising events included the Table Quiz at the Lakeside Inn, Ballydugan; a Bulb Planting Workshop with Frances; a Coffee Morning and Sale at 162 and ‘Coffee and Cake’ at Ballyfrenis Church, Millisle, the home of one of our supporters.
Sadly, during the autumn, we laid Sandra Ferguson to rest, after a short illness. She was one of our long term prayer partners who pre-existed my arrival at The Mount in 2004. She is much missed, having served on the Emergency Prayer Line and on the team at our Friday Lunchtime Healing Service at St Anne’s Cathedral. Her constancy in service and her commitment to Jesus were an example to us all, and we rejoice in knowing that she has run the race faithfully to completion. Our sympathy is with her family.
During the term the rhythm of prayer and healing has continued in house and out, in groups and individually. The Prayer for our City and Our Land at St George’s, which we lead on the 4th Monday each month, continues to inspire and encourage as people join together in obedience to Jesus’ command, ‘Ask and you will receive’ (Mt 7:7). This has been one of the things that has encouraged us to spend more time in prayer and to open us new possibilities for prayer at 162. Canon Raymond Fox asked if we would be willing to host a group for Contemplative Prayer once a month. This has been agreed, and we hope to see the first group on Wednesday 16 January at 10.30 am. This group will meet on the 3rd Wednesday each month. This is an excellent way of prayer for busy people as it helps you to become still. If you are unfamiliar with this way of praying, and would like to ‘give it a try’ then do come and join us. The dates are on the Diary Dates sheet and on the website. All are welcome, whether it is a way of prayer familiar to you, or not yet!
During the coming term there will be seminars led by Rev Desi Maxwell and Mark Hamilton. As places are limited please book for these by phoning Frances on 90795832. Rev Desi Maxwell will reflect on Psalm 2, ‘Do You Hear God Laugh?’ on Wednesday 13 February at 10.00 am. There is a sandwich lunch following this seminar. The seminar led by Mark Hamilton entitled ‘between Death and Resurrection’ will be held on Wednesday 27 March starting at 10.30 am.
The Lent Quiet Days at Echo Sound will be on Thursday 14 March and Saturday 16 March from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm. Please book these well in advance and send payment to the office letting us know if you have any special dietary requirements. (Booking 90795832)
We are also running a four-week Prayer Ministry Course at St Molua’s Parish Church, Stormont on Tuesday evenings during March, (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th from 7.30-9.30 pm.) If you are interested in joining us, then please call the office on 90794832. This might be a suggestion to ‘give up’ the time for Lent, to ‘take up’ something new for the kingdom journey. We would love to see you there.
If you have not yet experienced our beautiful premises at 162, then please do call in, look round and see the beautiful garden or bring your group and have a more formal input and refreshments.
There are prayer teams and counselling teams at CMH, as well as office volunteers, but the one thing that unites us is our faith in Jesus Christ. All are volunteers and work for the furtherance of His kingdom on earth. I am very grateful for each member who works under His banner, because together we make a difference in a hurting world. Maybe as you consider the New Year, there is something that you could offer here, if so then do come and see me. A simple step forward could change your perspective completely and bring unexpected joy.
May 2019 be a year of great blessing,
Your sister in Christ
The two chairpersons….
Rev Canon Daniel Nuzum, chair of CMH Ireland and our own chairperson Rev Canon Chris Matchett together at the General Synod.
The Church of Ireland has two healing Ministries, one based in Dublin, the other in Belfast. They are autonomous charities, and have two members of each Board attending the other Board meetings to provide harmonisation. There is no hierarchical structure; or geographical or diocesan partition in the Church’s Ministry of Healing. Both Ministries depend financially on charitable support, and welcome contributions to their work.
Bringing Christ’s healing presence to those in need;
in body, mind or spirit
Pat’s Autumn prayer letter
My Dear Friends
How quickly the summer flies through. It has been quite an amazing season this year, and it isn’t over yet! It seems just a moment since we were searching for green buds on the trees to indicate the arrival of spring, and watching for the appearance of the swallows and martins. Gardening activities arrived with a burst of enthusiasm, and my keen gardener surprised me one day by saying that he had been attacked by a robin! I laughed, but, in justification, the scene was described in detail. There he was, quietly potting up some plants near the greenhouse when a robin flew aggressively at him, time and again, until he retreated some distance. He waited and watched to see what would happen next. After withdrawing to a high wall to observe him for a while, the robin flew into the greenhouse, then out and away. A careful examination of the shelves near the door revealed a small bag of fertiliser which was open at the top and now contained a beautifully constructed mossy nest. Over the next number of weeks, we watched discreetly from an upper window as the robin and his mate collected grubs and other delicacies for their clutch of four. We had our own home grown ‘spring watch,’ and our delight was great when they all successfully fledged. Will the robins nest in the greenhouse again? I certainly hope so. If the swallows and martins can fly such an amazing distance to summer with us each year, I am hoping that the robins will remember their secure, if unusual, home, and return to the second shelf on the right, lean-to greenhouse, Echo Sound.
Prior to going on a Wilderness Experience in Israel during February I had no idea that an estimated 500 million birds migrate through the Rift Valley, and that the same swallows and martins who spend their summer with us, have travelled through Eilat on their journey north. My mind finds it hard to comprehend how such small birds can travel so incredibly long distances and return annually to their chosen nesting ground. One can only marvel at their memory resource and built in navigation system, and be drawn to their Creator God, who cares for them, and us, as individuals. We become forgetful if we fail to acknowledge the Almighty’s hand in His creation. This became very apparent on our Wilderness experience, when, after our evening meal, we discussed the events of the day. Our local guide, a Jew called Michael, remarked, ‘When we passed through the Red Sea’. It was quite a notable comment and I wondered when he had done that, but it soon became apparent that he was talking about the Exodus, when the children of Israel were fleeing from slavery in Egypt. But he had said, ‘When we passed through the Red Sea’. He was so closely identifying with his Jewish ancestors. I was drawn to a verse in the book Exodus: On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ (Exod 13:8) Remembrance of the Exodus became the central feature of Israel’s worship as father told son how God had fulfilled His promises to them. We too should take the remembrance of what God has done for us in the past seriously, because, it is in celebrating His goodness that we increase our faith and build on sure foundations.
During the Spring/Summer session we held three fundraising events. The first was a very successful Sale and Auction at Down Parish, followed by a Coffee morning and Plant Sale at 162, and near the summer solstice, we held an evening with Downshire Brass at Echo Sound. If you have never experiences the latter, then look for the date next year, because it was an outstanding evening, with the timeless pleasure of excellent music, with the backdrop of the tide gently rising on the lough shore.
We held two seminars, one on ‘Daniel in the Lions’ Den’, led by Mark Hamilton, and the other led by Desi Maxwell entitled, ‘God according to God’. Quiet Days were held for Ards Methodists celebrating John Wesley Day; an Armagh Ecumenical Group; and two more which were open to anyone.
Prayer, which is essential to the ministry, has become an increasing feature of life at 162. As our year has become increasingly busy Frances and I took some time out to engage in a Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer three-day silent retreat at Dromantine in June. During this time the office was manned by volunteers.
Looking forward to the late Summer/Autumn programme we are delighted to welcome three groups at 162 in order to view the premises and garden, and learn about the ministry. Members of the Prayer Group from 1st Presbyterian Church, Lisburn; and the Ladies Guild from Donaghadee Parish will both come for afternoon tea; while the Men’s Society from Inch and Kilmore will visit on the evening of 13 September for supper. We are always keen to welcome people to the healing ministry
Seminars will be held on 19 September at 10.30am, on ‘Ruth’, led by Dr James McKeown; on 3 October at 2.00 pm by Katie Shott, entitled ‘Autumn in Vogue’; and on 17 October at 2.00 pm by Mark Hamilton on ‘David and Goliath’. Please book with the office (90795832), and come and bring your friends. We are always keen to receive new people.
Churches Council for Health and Healing are also holding a seminar at Cairnshill Methodist Church on St Luke’s Day, 18 October at 10.00 entitled ‘Healing through Forgiveness’, led by Canon John McCammon.
Our annual Table Quiz at the Lakeside Inn, Ballydugan, will be held on 1 September at 7.30pm. this is always an evening of challenge and a lot of fun. The Book Club have been discussing ‘The War Room’, a novelisation based on the film by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick, which will be shown at the Tudor Cinema, Comber, on Thursday 6 September at 7.30 pm. This has a great story line and we invite you to join us for this. Tickets can be obtained from the office (phone 90795632).
Frances is holding a Bulb Planting Workshop at 162 on Saturday 22 September at 10.00 am, which will help you with your winter/spring garden planters, and you will have one to go home with. As places are limited, please book by calling the office (90795832).
We have booked a table at the Ladies’ Night at the Secret Garden, Dundonald on Friday 28 September at 7.30 pm, for the sale of sweets, preserves and plum puddings. Our final fundraising event of the year is a Coffee Morning and Sale at 162 on Saturday 1 December at 10.00 am. Please support us in these events as they help ‘keep the show on the road’, and enable us to offer our services free at the point of need.
We have two Advent Quiet Days timetabled for Wednesday 5 December and Saturday 8 December at Echo Sound. Special diets can be catered for if requested in advance and booking is essential because of limited space (phone 90795832). If you would like a day for a group (6 – 20 people), then please contact us.
In our increasingly disturbed and troubled world it is good to keep our feet on the right track. Therefore, you may find that it is good to have a spiritual director or accompanier who will assist you on the path of spiritual growth. At CMH we have two people who offer spiritual direction. This usually involves setting aside an hour every month or five weeks for a quiet meeting and prayer. If you would like to explore this, then please give me a call at the office and we can set up a meeting to discuss the possibilities. For example, the spiritual director might recommend valuable readings, suggest ways of prayer and encourage participation in different devotions — activities you might not previously have thought of. The outside help and advice a spiritual director offers can often help you both deepen and mature your faith much more quickly than if you were doing it all alone.
Counselling as well as prayer ministry continue in our house at 162, and I am very grateful to our specialist volunteers for giving their time freely to help others, and a special word of thanks to Mrs Polly Graham, counselling supervisor and to Dr Heather Ferguson Brown for running our Counsellors’ Peer Support Group. We are very grateful to Canon Walter Laverty and Rev Alan Parkhill for leading our Tuesday Services, and to Miss Anna Quigley and Mrs Eve Parkhill our organists. Heartfelt thanks to our prayer ministry teams, Emergency Prayer Line and intercessors who work tirelessly for those in need. Finally my sincere thanks to Frances, who has consistently supported and maintained my sanity when things have become hectic, and who manages me, and my diary, beyond the call of duty.
Isaiah reminds us that our very names are engraved on the palms of God’s hands (Isa 19:16). He was talking of Israel who were in exile, but we are that close to Him. Often we do not remember that, but God does not forget Israel or us, His creation. Each new moment is an opportunity to remember Him and all that He has done for us and be grateful.
It is our special duty to serve you under God, and if you have any suggestions for teaching activities or seminars, then please do let us know. We would love to connect with you and your group and extend the healing ministry of Jesus in your location. Distance is no object.
Wishing you every blessing
Quiet Days may be booked for groups of 6 – 20 people at Echo Sound. Phone office 90795832 Reserved on receipt of £25
Cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Fundraising Events in September….
Alison’s Quiz Night Saturday 1st September resulted in about £1700 in donations. Well done Alison once again.
Cinema Night at the Tudor Cinema, Comber. Thursday 6th September. A great night, well supported, donations of £550. It was a powerful story of the power of prayer in adversity. Well done Frances and Pat, and the members of the book club for promoting this.
Downshire Brass Band Night….a wonderful evening in warm sunshine.
Pat preached in the new Archdeacon of Dalriada
The Rev Paul Dundas, rector of Christ Church Parish, Lisburn, was appointed Archdeacon of Dalriada by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy. Paul succeeds the Very Rev Stephen Forde, who was installed as Dean of Belfast in St Anne’s Cathedral. The photographs say it all…
Shrubs and plants. Rab has a selection of shrubs which can be ordered by email ,phone or calling with Frances, and then collected at 162. If you are looking for something in particular, just email through the web site and leave a telephone number.
——for you in God’s Mission by being part of the Prayer Line, Emergency Prayer Line, Prayer Teams for Services and Individual Ministry (Training and experience will be given), and in administrative tasks such as preparation of publications, catering teams and house/garden maintenance.
Telephone the Office for information 9079 5832
you are always welcome to call in for a natter and coffee/tea at 162
or come and spend time in the prayer garden an oasis overlooking the City