|I trust you are well and coping with all that this unusual period is throwing at us. If I can be of any help at all please don’t hesitate to phone the rectory (90641493).
I will try to send a weekly email like this one on a Friday to update you on news about Knockbreda.
We continue to maintain our online presence as a church and I hope you feel that Sunday services live streamed on the church website are helpful. We are trying to support each other and build up Christian faith even during lockdown. Actually, I honestly believe this is an opportunity to reach out beyond the church walls. It is amazing to discover who has been joining our live stream from all over the world.
Sadly, the church is closed now even for funerals. We have received a directive from the bishop that funerals are to be conducted at gravesides with only 10 people present. I have already conducted such a funeral for Mrs Hetty McBride of Glendale Park.
Next week is Holy Week and in recent years we have been uniting with St. Jude’s (as well as Saintfield Road on Maundy Thursday). We are going to try to share online services again with our friends from these churches. They will be recorded rather than live streamed but should be available each evening in Holy Week on YouTube. Just search on YouTube and you will find all our online recordings at Knockbreda.
We are taking advantage of the government’s job retention furlough scheme for employees by applying for their grant for Robert. With his duties diminished, he’s very content with this and it enables us to pay his usual wages. It means however that Robert will not be available in any official capacity so please don’t contact him about church business.
The Treasurer has asked me to remind you about church donations as even in these circumstances we have expenses to meet. Obviously FWO envelopes are more difficult to contribute through. I would really encourage parishioners to move towards Standing Orders if at all possible. Heather is very happy to explain how easy this is if you contact her by email: email@example.com. If it is impossible for you to set up a standing Order please continue to donate using FWO envelopes directed to the office. In this case it is probably easier to write a cheque at the end of each month. Or use the donate button on the website, which is straightforward and secure.
Julie Currie from the diocesan youth and children’s department (and also we are proud to say a member of Knockbreda!) has produced a really fun video teaching the Palm Sunday story. Please share it with any children you know – and you might get a lot out of it yourself! Here it is on Youtube:
Julie says, “The only prep required is if the kids have Palm leaves cut out ready to wave.”
Jonny is preparing resources for Holy Week and an online version of our Bible Voyagers club for children. Follow his postings on Facebook please and spread the word.
Our bishop David McClay has been in constant communication with clergy during the lockdown. His prayer letter for Palm Sunday can be found here and his important statement on the abortion legislation which has sadly come into force in Northern Ireland this week can be found here:
I trust you will be able to use both the attachment and the statement to inform your prayers. I am very grateful for Bishop McClay’s leadership at this time.
The peace of God
I have been drawn to Philippians 4 this week. It is a reminder for Christians of the peace of God and the God of peace.
‘The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’ (vv. 6-7).
The alternative to anxiety is prayer. Lay out all your worries and concerns before the Lord in prayer – naming them one at a time – and you will experience the peace of God.
The apostle continues, ‘Whatever you have heard and seen from me practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.’
As we read his Word (what we have received from the apostles and others) the God of peace himself comes to be with us. Prayer and the Word (both in the power of the Holy Spirit) is how we can cope with any of life’s anxieties.
We will continue to keep in touch through these weekly emails, our online services and postings, and by telephoning. We will get through this crisis and until we do we can know the peace of God with us at all times.
Sincerely in Christ,