We are looking at organising a Battlefield Tour to Belgium and France. The Tour would cover the Somme and Ypres Battlefields and would take 4/5 days by coach and ferry. It will likely take place in September or October at an approximate cost of £400 pp. We need about 50 people to keep it at or below this cost. The Tour is open to all congregation members as well as their friends.
Following our successful Christmas hamper appeal we received the following letter from Lisburn SAFE thanking the church for our efforts during the appeal.
To whom it may concern.
Thank you very much for your contribution towards the Christmas Hampers Scheme for Lisburn SAFE. Without your contribution the scheme to provide hampers for older people could not take place. We appreciate your continued support and will publicise this in all material.
Lisburn SAFE is a Lisburn PCSP funded Community Safety project which supports vulnerable and older people in the community. It is especially active at this time of year so appreciates any support.
We again take this opportunity to say thank you.
Sunday School will resume this Sunday September 7th.
I think we would all agree that everything we can do to reduce the possibility of anyone being injured is a good thing. Over the last few years Health&Safety has become a major cause for concern for all organisations and in response insurers and legislative bodies are doing everything they can to reduce risk. This includes all public places of assembly including churches, and we have to ensure that auditable records and procedures are in place.
Our Church has taken H&S seriously and set up a H&S sub-committee to carry out risk assessments including fire risk at regular intervals, define risks, categorise them and where necessary request action to reduce the risks, both within the church buildings and grounds. It is important that everyone who enters our Church is taken care of. We ask each organisation within the church to complete a risk assessment form for the activities they do onsite and any risks our facilities may cause them.
The H&S sub-committee would also be grateful for all members of the congregation to report any potential risks they find in the buildings or grounds so that an assessment is made of the risk.
Spring Holy Baptisms
In Spring this year we were delighted that the following children took part in Holy Baptism:
Amy Campbell – 30th March 2014
Daniel James Watson – 13th April 2014
Lara Curry – 27th April 2014
As some of you know during September I went on a solo road trip across part of America. I travelled from San Antonio to New York, covering a distance of 2663 miles and having a real adventure on the way; no accidents, no incidents and only pulled over by a State Trooper once.
Why would someone undergo such a journey on their own? The craic, the freedom, something different, the adventure. Travelling on your own makes you think, (you have no choice) you have to think about the journey, about your money, about the road ahead. Even at 24 years old having that time alone makes you think about what you want to do with your life and in my case with my desire to go into the ministry it makes you think about your hopes, dreams and ambitions.
I started in the south of the USA in San Antonio, Texas. The south is hot 44 degrees during the day and I needed that panama Stetson to keep the sun off. I was determined to make the most of my holiday not just for myself seeing as much as I could and meeting as many people as possible, but also for spending time with God and working on my decision to apply to the ministry.
In San Antonio I went to GracePoint Baptist Church. The church has an amazing mission statement, to help lead common people into an uncommon life in Jesus Christ. Churches in America have a real community passion, they are actively working to engage with the people in their areas not just preaching the Gospel in words but making it mean something practically. The pastor was talking about problems and fixing problems and how fixing everybody else’s problems can look so easy and obvious but looking inward at our own problems isn’t so easy. By nature we are fixers, we don’t like to see people in pain, hurting or in need so we try to do something about it. But when it comes to our spiritual lives we end up misdiagnosing the problem and prescribing solutions that will never fix. We all have a deeper wish that sees us yearning for other things and it’s clothed in the words “If I could just ..” and that blank, we fill that blank with any false Saviour and idol that we want.
San Antonio is a place full of history; Texas was birthed at the Alamo. America places such a value on its history, embracing it with reverence and respect and as something that can be learnt from and remembered in a positive way; a young history that helps to unite the people together under the Star Spangled banner.
As I travelled from San Antonio to New York I wasn’t always on the main highways but sometimes on the back roads. America is a country full of ironies. The wealthy are extravagantly wealthy but the poor really are in desperation. There are shanty towns, people basically living in sheds with corrugated iron roofs. It really struck me how here we are generally too blessed to be stressed and how we can view America quite blurry eyed as this country of huge wealth and prosperity. It may be the land of the free but that is twofold, you are free to make your fortune and free to starve.
Memphis was the next Sunday stop. I had endeavoured to go to church every Sunday and that week I went to Hope Presbyterian. The morning service was a celebration of 25 years of the church in the community. The connections this church has fostered are amazing; with all sections of the community: Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Black, Hispanic and White. They have taken on the challenge of being a church for everyone and anyone. It was a blessed service seeing how that church has accomplished so much in 25 years They have been working as a church for the un-churched, to reach out. The church is huge, it has a seating capacity for 5000 people which was full, as it is nearly every Sunday. I went back that night to see how different their “youth” service is. It’s a service that tries to take what the normal man finds common; musically and culturally, to take that and put it into a church setting. It’s a church that makes you feel comfortable; I don’t think anyone there would feel uncomfortable with being in that church even if it was their first time. Their night service was called Stirring and the message focused on the life lessons we take from school: understanding authority, respecting authority, exposure to the basics and that we learn to work and play well with others. The church really focused on how everyday life affects our faith lives and how in turn our faith should impact our everyday life.
My travels took me all through the East of America; into Nashville, Louisville, Washington D.C, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York. America is an amazing country; staggeringly beautiful and intimidating in its vastness. I really enjoyed my holiday it was brilliant travelling through a distinctively different country, though when you’re in Texas it feels like home only with a bit less green. I want to thank you for your prayers when I was away and for your continuing prayers and encouragement as I continue through my ministry application.
On the 18th October Principal Anestascia sent us an e-mail to confirm that the water system is working well at both the school and crèche. They have planted tomatoes in the polytunnel for marketing in January.
Irene has had the plaster cast removed from her leg and is back at school but will have further treatment for the next twelve months.
The fish pond is completed and we are in the process of sourcing the correct fish for this particular project. The Ministry of Agriculture visited the crèche and saw the vegetable plot containing the planted Irish seed potatoes. It was suggested that the plot be extended to grow more vegetables. At the time of reading this article this work should be completed and the roof painted on the 2 buildings at the crèche.
Please continue to pray for the work of the teachers at the school and the crèche and also for Jane, her staff and all the elderly at Thogoto Home for the Aged.
The Principal and teachers held a day of prayer on Saturday 2nd November to pray for the 17 year 8 pupils who sat their final examinations on the 11th -14th November to try and gain places in Secondary School.
In 2013 the following marriages too place at Hillhall Church:
14th June 2013
Darren Neil Phillips & Selina Katherine Marie Parker
27th June 2013
William Connor & Jillian Katherine Greege
18th July 2013
Andrew Ian Purse & Hayley Noelle Adams
7th December 2013
David Alan Graham & Claire Ellen Alaine Reid
2013 Holy Baptisms
In 2013 we
were delighted that the following children took part in Holy Baptism:
Ewan David Robbie Myles – 20th February 2013
Tori Ferguson – 22nd February 2013
Lucas Gary Gibson – 14th February 2013
Ruby Rose Perkins – 6th March 2013
Katherine Mary Cromie – 18th April 2013
Cohen John Richardson – 28th August 2013