Dear parishioners and friends of Knockbreda,
For the next two Sunday mornings in church our readings will be from the book of Revelation. I believe we all need a reminder that the Lord is still on the throne and Revelation 4-5 certainly reminds us of that.
‘At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.’ Rev. 4.2-3.
The world seems to be in turmoil and upheaval at the moment. A pandemic, mortality rates increasing, riots, protests, unemployment, national economies in meltdown … . Even Christians must sometimes wonder if God’s world is spinning out of control. But as we listen to God’s Word I hope we can refocus our thoughts on the one who is reigning over all and at the same time intimately involved in his creation.
We continue to gather online for church on Sundays. You can find us on YouTube from 10.30am and then 6.30pm. These services remain on the Knockbreda YouTube channel along with previous services and other online postings from the church. You could prepare for the Morning Service by reading Revelation 4, and for the evening one by reading John 10. Go to the Knockbreda YouTube channel and look in Playlists, Sunday Services.
On Sunday 28the June at 10.30am will have our Children’s Day service. It will look very different this year as we will still be online. We hope to have children taking part in the service and I would like to thank our Sunday School teachers for helping make the necessary arrangements. We hope to arrange ‘presents’ to give to all the children who belong to the church.
With lockdown restrictions gradually being eased I would be very happy to visit you for prayer – socially distanced in your garden – so please contact me by phone or email to make arrangements. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Our plans for extension to the hall are progressing under the management of the City Council. We hope there will be some building work beginning in the next few weeks.
We also have decided on a little initiative to keep our spirits up in this time of lockdown. We are calling it ‘Faithful Delivery’. The idea is that every household belonging to Knockbreda will receive a little treat on Friday 26th June – I will keep you guessing as to what it might be! We need some volunteers to make this ‘Faithful Delivery’ and to cover costs so if you can help in any way please contact Linda Butterwick or myself as soon as you can.
The diocesan website contains news and information from Down and Dromore diocese and is worth visiting. There are several good resources for children and families.
Bishop David McClay has asked us to pray for the dioceses of Albany and Maridi. Both bishops in these dioceses are facing extremely challenging situations at the moment. He writes:
‘Partnerships in the Gospel are precious and for many years we in Down and Dromore have both treasured and been blessed by our partnership with the Diocese of Albany in New York State, and the Diocese of Maridi in South Sudan.
Currently both these dioceses and their bishops have requested our prayers and it is our privilege to respond.
Bishop Bill Love
The case relating to Bishop Bill Love’s stand in not permitting same sex marriages to be held in the Diocese of Albany will be heard on Friday 12 June 2020 at 9.00 am EST (2.00 pm BST) via remote electronic means, Zoom. The hearing is open to members of the public who may view proceedings at this Facebook link, https://bit.ly/2AWdSHT.
Any of us who know Bill know that he is not an argumentative or unreasonable person. He has remained a faithful bishop in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Without going into the details of this case in this brief statement I want to state clearly and publicly that I admire Bishop Bill’s courage and whatever the outcome of the case I pledge to stand with him in every way I can. I ask that we pray for Bishop Bill Love, for his family and for all involved in this hearing.
I commend the prayer on page 580 of the BCP as a prayer to use over the next 3 days when praying for Bishop Bill.
Give to this your servant Bill grace and power
which you gave to your apostles,
to lead those committed to his charge in proclaiming the gospel of salvation.
Through him increase your Church, renew its ministry,
and unite its members in a holy fellowship of truth and love.
Enable him as a true shepherd to feed and govern your flock,
to be wise as a teacher,
and steadfast as a guardian of the faith and sacraments of your Church.
Guide and direct him in presiding at the worship of your people.
Give him humility, to use his authority to heal, not to hurt;
to build up, not to destroy.
Defend him from all evil, that as a ruler over your household
and an ambassador for Christ he may stand before you blameless,
and finally, with all your servants, enter your eternal joy.
Accept our prayers, most merciful Father,
through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and your Holy Spirit,
belong glory and honour, worship and praise,
now and for ever. Amen
Bishop Moses Zungo
We also hold before God, Bishop Moses and the people of Maridi Diocese at this time. The coronavirus pandemic is now impacting the lives of many in the diocese including its clergy.
We in Down and Dromore hold Bishop Moses in our prayers. We will have an opportunity later in the year to contribute financially towards the work of ministry in Maridi diocese but meanwhile any parishes or individuals who want to immediately assist financially should do so through directly through CMS Ireland.
Bishop Moses has written a report on the situation in the diocese which you can read on our website.
It is our privilege to hold both these godly leaders before the Lord in prayer in what are, for both of them, challenging days.
Yours in Christ,
Praying and Reading the Word
In these unusual circumstances of lockdown, even as restrictions are gradually being lifted, I trust you are still able to prioritise the nurturing of your faith. Taking time for daily prayer makes all the difference to our spiritual health. There is so much to pray about! And the Lord has promised to hear our prayers. Jesus said, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’ Mt. 7.7-8.
Reading the Bible is also essential. Using good daily notes is a marvellous way of listening to the voice of God in his Word. Alternatively you might like to set yourself a challenge during lockdown. Some of us are reading the whole of the New Testament over 8-9 weeks. This coming week is to be the Gospel of Matthew. We then meet on Zoom on Fridays to discuss what we have read. If you would like to join us simply email me – and start reading Matthew!
I will leave you with the following prayer.
Loving heavenly Father, at this time of great uncertainty in our country and around the world, we pray that people would turn to you for stability and comfort. We pray particularly for those who don’t yet know Jesus, that through some means in the midst of all that is happening they would hear the good news of him. Grant them repentance and a knowledge of the truth, that they may know you and the secure joy of eternal life in him. For we ask in Jesus’s name, Amen.
With love and prayers in Christ,