Last autumn our son, Nathanael, and I took a trip back to the United States to visit my family. Besides looking forward to that reunion, there was a part of me that was secretly hoping against hope that the autumn leaves might still be in colour. I say “hoping” because the autumn leaves tend to display more fiery colours than they do here in Northern Ireland, but I also say “against hope” because by that time of the year the leaves are usually already falling if not completely grounded. We were leaving for the States at the end of October and I knew I should be realistic about the turning of the leaves.
However, when we arrived I discovered to my pleasant surprise that the leaves were just starting to come into their full glory! The burning oranges and fiery reds were a feast for the eye. Remarkably, shortly after I returned home to Northern Ireland, I met a couple who had gone to New England towards the end of September. They had travelled to that specific location and at that specific time partly to be able to enjoy the blazing autumn leaves New England is famous for at that time of year. Unfortunately, the leaves were turning later than normal in 2018, as I had already discovered.
Now I don’t believe that God somehow played favourites between my secret hopes and that couple’s plans, but for whatever reason that God knows he allowed me to enjoy those autumn leaves last year. An expected surprise reminding me of the love of God and beauty of his creation. And for that I was thankful!
As we enter September, we enter a season of change that happens every year. Young people start new classes, while some have finished school and are taking new steps in life. Ministries of the church that have taken a break for the summer will be starting up again. Young and old, we enter this new season with a variety of expectations and hopes. Some of those hopes will be realized, others may not.
However, what we can be assured of is that the steadfast love of God endures forever. And out of that unchanging love God does see fit from time to time to give us unexpected gifts that remind us of his creative power and goodness. The apostle James reminds us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (Jam. 1:17 ESV). Even when following God’s will and path for our lives we sometimes find ourselves in unexpected places, but that does not mean that everything has changed! God’s love hasn’t. His constant presence is still with us. And he will continue to give us gifts of hope to remind us of his love. Let’s look with anticipation in the months ahead for the ways that God will show us his abundant goodness.
Rev Jordan Litchfield
The Lighthouse group
The Lighthouse Bible Study Group resumes on Friday 13th September in the home of Miriam & Jim Bell, Manse Road, Cloughey.
We meet every other Friday (the second and fourth Friday in each month) at 11am for about an hour for Bible Study and discussion which is followed by refreshments. If you would like to join us you are very welcome: just ask Bob & Helen Sheriff, or Jim and Miriam Bell for further details.
Church Prayer Chain
The prayer chain continues to pray for those who request prayer. We do not need to know, or want to know, what the person needs prayer for: all we need to know is that prayer is required and the person has agreed to be prayed for. If you would like to be part of the prayer chain, please speak to Miriam Bell or phone her on 02842 771905. You will need to have WhatsApp on your phone to be able to receive the prayer requests.
Monday Crochet Group.
A small group of ladies (10 to15) meet on Monday mornings at 10.30 am in the home of Miriam Bell to crochet and to enjoy fellowship. Over the past year the group has raised money in support of Cancer Research and to support the work of Ritchie & Miyung in Kazakhstan. They have also made “trauma teddies” for the PSNI and cardigans for the premature baby unit at the Ulster Hospital.
The crochet group welcomes all and if you would like to learn to crochet or you already crochet, come along and enjoy the fellowship with us. You will be most welcome.
For further information please speak to Miriam or phone her on 02842 771905.
Appeal for additional help with Sunday School, Bible Class and C.E. (Friday evenings)
Our young people are the future of our church and we have a great responsibility to teach, encourage and nurture their faith. We are blessed with a good number of children and young people who regularly attend Sunday morning classes, 4 Points, Design to Shine and Friday evening C.E. meetings. We are indebted to Mrs Nicola Mahood and her band of helpers for the tremendous enthusiasm and commitment they continue to provide every Sunday in the Sunday School and Bible Class. Mrs Edith Hammond and Sharon give of their time every Friday evening to organise C.E. meetings offering sound teaching and fun activities for children of Primary School age and the meeting at times attracts up to 20 energetic young people! Jordan and Naomi open up the manse once a month to provide interesting discussion opportunities and interactive mediums to engage with our teenage group.
We would welcome more help with all of these organisations either in a leadership or support role. If you feel that you would like to get involved, prayerfully consider offering your services. Any assistance will be much appreciated.
Important dates for your Church Diary
Sunday 22nd September World Development & Relief 50th .Anniversary Appeal (1% envelopes)
Guest speaker at Sunday morning service – Rev. Stephen Shearin
Sunday 29th September Harvest Thanksgiving Services in Portaferry Methodist Church
Guest speaker at both services – Rev. Aian Ferguson
Saturday 12th October
Harvest Supper in Glastry – praise will be led by the Salvation Army Band
Sunday 13th October Harvest Thanksgiving Services in Glastry Methodist Church
Guest speaker – Rev. Dr. Janet Unsworth
Saturday 16th November “All In” Methodist Church in Ireland Conference
Sunday 17th November Home Mission Sunday
Saturday 7th December Congregational Christmas Dinner
Sunday 22nd December Morning: Sunday School Carol Service : “Play it by ear”
Evening: Carols by Candlelight
Prayer Focus 2019/2020
The Prayer Journal for the Methodist Church in Ireland is available in the vestibule – cost £3.00. This little booklet provides information about all aspects of the Methodist Church in Ireland and our partners operating overseas. There are prayers and helpful advice to enable us to pray in an informed and focused manner.
May we recommend this accessible, valuable resource to you. “Prayer is the power behind successful ministry”.
Prayer Focus is also available in the form of a daily e-mail letter called “Prayer Focus Digest”. This is a bitesize version of the Prayer Focus journal which is produced every year by Home Mission. Prayer Focus Digest is designed for those spare 10 or 15 minutes within a busy schedule. It will arrive in your inbox every morning at 7.00 am.
You can sign up to Prayer Focus Digest here: http://eepurl.com/dCyM-F