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Commissioning service at Hillhall Presbyterian Church for Kenya missionary outreach team

Pictured at a Commissioning Service in Hillhall Presbyterian Church last Sunday morning (2nd July) is L to R:  John Connor - Clerk of Session, Alan Beattie, Rev Jack Richardson, Velma Beattie and Joe Lockhart.  (back row) Belle McIntyre, Alice Simpson, Matthew Stewart, David Walters, Lorraine Smyth, Pat Walters, and Sally Richardson.  Missing from the photo is Eddie Thompson, who due to work commitments was unable to attend the service.

A Commissioning Service was held in Hillhall Presbyterian Church last Sunday morning (2nd July) for ten members of the congregation who will leave on Tuesday 11th July for 2 weeks of missionary outreach work in Kikuyu, Kenya.  Led by Alan and Velma Beattie, the team comprises of Sally Richardson, Belle McIntyre, Lorraine Smyth, Alice Simpson, Matthew Stewart, Eddie Thompson, David and Pat Walters.  In addition to several fundraising events, much of the funding for the trip was made possible by the generosity of the late Mrs Ellen Mewharter who died in September 2004, leaving a large sum of money to the PWA. The team would like to thank family and friends of Hillhall for their generosity and support.  They would also like to thank Mr Bobby Morrison and Mr Jim Mercer for the sponsorship of the team uniforms and Mr Ashley Williamson (Finaghy) for supplying pharmaceuticals for the team.

The minister, the Rev Jack Richardson led the service and Gerald Woods on organ and the Church Choir led the praise.  Alan Beattie - joint team leader, gave an informative talk about the planning and preparation for the trip and explained that the Hillhall team will be involved in replacing a leaking rusted roof of Thogoto Home for the Aged; Refurbishing, repainting and supplying beds; Ministering and reading to the blind and also to those unable to read; Working with teachers at Compass Primary School where most of the children are orphans and assisting in carrying out home assessments; and also running a Bible Club at Compass Primary School.  Producing a piece of a jigsaw that was distributed to the congregation earlier in the year, Alan (who keeps his piece at his computer) reminded the congregation that the efforts of each team member is just a part of the overall picture and explained the need for the entire congregation to play their part through prayerful support for the team.

Mrs Margaret Graham, a niece of the late Mrs Mewharter, read the first Scripture lesson from Exodus 3 and the minister read the second lesson from Acts 13.  The Rev Jack Richardson assisted by John Connor - Clerk of Session and Joe Lockhart, a nephew of the late Mrs Mewharter, conducted the act of commissioning.  Mr Richardson showed the congregation a brass plaque that the team will attach to Thogoto Home for the Aged on completion of the refurbishment work.  The inscription on the plaque is:  This residence has been re-roofed and refurbished by a team from Hillhall Presbyterian Church (Northern Ireland) thanks to the generosity of the late Mrs Ellen Mewharter - July 2006”.

In a challenging and practical address to the team, Mr Richardson spoke about the calling of Moses as recorded in Exodus 3 and also about the first missionary journey by Paul and Barnabus as recorded in Acts 13.  He pointed out that these servants were ‘sent’ people, called by God with all their inadequacies.  Jack explained that so too the Hillhall team are ‘sent’ people, called by God to represent not just Hillhall Presbyterian Church, but the Church of Christ.  He also reminded the team that the God who calls - is also a God who equips.  He further explained that just as an orchestra needs to focus on the conductor, so too the team must focus on their conductor, the Lord Jesus Christ.