My Dear Friends
We have seen some amazing changes within the last year. The previous general election brought with it the vote for Brexit: the exit of the UK from the European Union, and with it a new Prime Minister. Then in our own area of the United Kingdom the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) scandal, the New Year resignation and death of Martin McGuinness and then the fall of the Stormont Executive. Into this period was the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump with a different style of leadership. Yes, the world is changing and rapidly.
Canon Brother David Jardine invited CMH to take a one hour slot each month on the Divine Healing Ministries initiative to pray for our city and our land during the six months between January and June. Two hours each weekday, Monday to Friday, had been set aside at St George’s Parish Church, Belfast for this. There has never a more appropriate period to choose to engage in this enterprise of prayer as so many worldly situations are altering and challenging our perceptions and stability. We look to the Church to help us at a time like this, but there we find change and movement as well. However, Ecclesiastes 1:9 records: ‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.’ Over 100 years ago (in 1903) William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army said: ‘I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; politics without God; and heaven without hell.’ Yes, we certainly see these things that William Booth foresaw, but we as Christians must have the courage to stand for the truth in the Bible, and for Christ. One of the things Jesus spoke about was the afterlife, and it is clear that he believed in heaven and hell as real places. The world’s views change constantly, but if we build on the world’s views, we are building on very shaky foundations. It is important that we are not distracted by world events. We should recognise that we are in the world, but not of it. Our cornerstone is Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
CMH activities resumed in January with a seminar entitled, ‘A Friend in High Places’ led by Rev Desi Maxwell who caused us to consider the concept of the resurrection with the help of Job. The lunch that followed enabled us to further discuss the topic and catch up with friends.
Donaghadee Parish invited me to join them for their Ash Wednesday communion service and lunch to mark the beginning of Lent. There were two events in Armagh Diocese; the first an evening on ‘Prayer’ at Derryloran, Cookstown, at which many parishes were represented; and the second was a morning at Markethill Ladies Group to speak on the work of CMH. Healing Services were held at Glenburn Methodist Church which was attended by members of Cregagh Methodist; a lunchtime service at 1st Lisburn Presbyterian Church and then on Wednesday in Holy Week a healing service at Christ Church, Kilmore in Down and Dromore. I was pleased to be invited to join Canon Brother David Jardine’s prayer ministry team at a Healing Service in Down Parish during April. We held two Lenten Quiet Days at Echo Sound and a day for a Bible Study Group from Movilla.
During March the Down and Dromore committee of CMH held two ‘Information Days’ for clergy and parish representatives one at Holywood Parish and the other at Dromore Cathedral in order to promote CMH and encourage further uptake of our services. Rev Adrian Dorrian the Chair of The Church and Society Committee of the Church of Ireland invited me to give a seminar at their meeting on ‘Faith and Mental Health’. The other speakers were Dr John Kyle (Belfast Councillor and East Belfast GP) speaking on The GP Perspective, and Lindsay Robinson speaking on The Lived Perspective of Post Natal Depression.
We are holding Wednesday night and Thursday morning sessions on ‘Prayer’ at Holywood Parish for four weeks. I am delighted that the initial uptake has been good. Movilla Prayer Group plan to visit 162 on Monday 15 May.
There are two seminars organised for this term. On Wednesday 17 May, Rev Desi Maxwell will speak on, ‘The Best Kept Secret in the Bible’: What the Bible has to say on a new heaven and a new earth. Then on Wednesday 14 June, Gareth Bell from Precept Ireland will speak on ‘Witnessing’, based on the Book of Acts. Both these seminars are from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm with a sandwich lunch. Booking is essential and a freewill offering will be collected to cover costs. (Phone 90795832 to book or email.)
We are very grateful to our volunteers for the success and growth of the ministry. While many do not see this valuable work, it is most appreciated. The ministry could not function without you. We have been blessed through your hard work and the giving of your time in the service of others.
The Fundraising Events on the radar start with the Coffee Morning and Plant Sale on Saturday 6 May from 10.00 – 12.30 pm. Downshire Brass will be playing at Echo Sound on Saturday 10 June – come and bring your friends and you own chair and picnic. In the autumn there will be a Table Quiz at the Lakeside Inn, Ballydugan on 2 September, and a Preserves Table at the Ladies’ Night at the Secret Garden, Dundonald on Saturday 29 September.
At the end of May 2017 we will be operating out of No.162 for three years. When we started, we owed £147,500 (interest free). I am delighted to say that £107,500 has been repaid and our debt now has reduced to £40,000. To all who contributed to this achievement, we say, ‘Thank you very much’, and to God we give the glory for his provision and blessings. This gives us confidence, as do the words of the hymn:
In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear. And safe in such confiding,
For nothing changes here. The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid, But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?
Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back. My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack. His wisdom ever waking,
His sight is never dim. He knows the way He’s taking,
And I will walk with Him.
It is based on Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. No matter what changes round about us, we trust in Him. This is His ministry and we give Him glory for it.
Thank you for your prayers and support
Your sister in Christ, Pat