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New Year messages from Lisburn City Centre Ministers’ Fellowship

The Lisburn City Centre Ministers’ Fellowship comprises of: Rev. Brian Anderson - Seymour Street Methodist, Rev. John Brackenbridge - First Lisburn, Rev. Paul Dundas - Christ Church, Rev. Brian Gibson - Railway Street, Pastor George Hilary - Lisburn Christian Fellowship, the Very Rev. Hugh Kennedy P.P. - St. Patrick’s and Canon Sam Wright - Lisburn Cathedral.

The seven city centre ministers meet monthly to be supportive of each other, to encourage inter-denominational co-operation and to share concern for Lisburn City Centre community. The following is a brief extract from their New Year message to their congregation and to everyone in the City of Lisburn.

Seymour Street Methodist Church

Rev. Brian Anderson Seymour Street Methodist.

Rev. Brian Anderson Seymour Street Methodist.

2006 – “Renew your Covenant with God.”
In His New Years Day Service, The Rev. Brian Anderson, minister of Seymour Street Methodist Church, called Methodists, on the first day of a New Year, to participate in the Tradition of their Church to renew their Covenant with God by committing to these words, penned by John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism:

I am no longer my own but yours
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will
Put me to doing, put me to suffering
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for, exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty, let me full, let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.

First Lisburn Presbyterian Church

Rev. John Brackenridge Minister - First Lisburn. Rev. Dr. Gordon Gray Minister Emeritus

Rev. John Brackenridge Minister - First Lisburn.

Rev. John Brackenridge Minister - First Lisburn.

“2006 need not be merely a continuation of 2005, with all its failures and disappointments. It can indeed be a ‘new’ year”
The minister of First Lisburn Presbyterian Church, the Rev. John Brackenridge was on holiday at the beginning of the New Year and the Minister Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Gordon Gray, officiating at the New Year morning service, which began with the celebration of Holy Communion. Dr. Gray’s sermon was on the theme ‘Things Old and Things New’, based on Matthew 13: 52 “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the Kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old”. Stressing that the fundamental message of the Bible is unchanging, he stated that it is a ‘storehouse’ yielding also fresh insights as it is read in light of the challenges of life today. “It is a manifesto for change in our personal lives, in the life of the church and in our relationships in society”, he said. Accordingly 2006 need not be merely a continuation of 2005, with all its failures and disappointments. “It can indeed be a ‘new’ year”, he concluded.

Christ Church

Rev. Paul Dundas Christ Church.

Rev. Paul Dundas Christ Church.

2006 - “Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead.” [Philippians 3: 13]
Christ Church welcomed in 2006 with a Watch Night service on New Year’s Eve. The Rector, the Rev. Paul Dundas took as his text the words of Philippians 3:13 “Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. He reflected on the changes that the parish had witnessed during 2005 and stressed that whatever change 2005 brought into our lives, the Bible calls us to move forward. We must thank God for his faithfulness and goodness to us in the past year and the eternal truth that He will support and direct our paths through 2006. Our prayer for 2006 should be that, like Saint Paul, we would know Jesus Christ better, through bible reading and study, prayer, fellowship with others and outreach in the community. In conclusion the Rev. Paul Dundas stated that ‘The challenge for us as a Church, and Christians is to thank the Lord for the past and in embracing the year ahead, to put our trust in the Lord and to know his peace and presence in our lives’.

Railway Street Presbyterian Church

Rev. Brian Gibson Railway Street.

Rev. Brian Gibson Railway Street.

2006 - “We must be changed before our world can be changed, only the power of the Spirit of Christ can do that”
At the morning service on New Year’s Day, the Rev. Brian Gibson, Minister of Railway Street Presbyterian Church, took as his text Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead”.

He said that, “To change this world we need to be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. However irrelevant some might think such a text and such a statement is in the context of a world full of such suffering and problems the real problem is not political, social or economic structures but the greed and selfishness which lies at the centre of human nature”. He concluded, “We must be changed before our world can be changed. Only the power of the Spirit of Christ can do that”.

During the service two members of the congregation gave their reflections of 2005. Victor Hutchinson spoke about how as a result of his recovery from major surgery both he and his wife Moyra had become communicant members of the church. Graham Bittle recalled six months spent in Australia and China, training and working with a missionary organisation called Y.W.A.M.

Lisburn Christian Fellowship

Pastor George Hilary Lisburn Christian Fellowship.

Pastor George Hilary
Lisburn Christian Fellowship.

The power to enable us to face all that 2006 may have for us - “rejoice in the Lord always”; “let our gentleness be evident to all”; “don’t be anxious about anything - present your requests to God”
The Lisburn Christian Fellowship is doing something experimental for new Years Day, a six-hour ‘Day of Renewal’ starting at 3.00pm. Pastor George Hilary’s New Year message is: “As we open the door to another new year we do so with a mixture of curiosity, excitement and trepidation. What will 2006 mean for us? Where will we find the energy to face new challenges and opportunities? I believe Paul gives us keys to facing the future when he urges us to do three things in Philippians 4: 4-7. These are to “rejoice in the Lord always”; to “let our gentleness be evident to all”; and “not to be anxious about anything…but to present our requests to God”. I believe that these exhortations if taken practically and seriously have the power to enable us to face all that 2006 may have for us!

St. Patrick’s Church

The Very Rev. Hugh Kennedy, P.P. St. Patrick’s Church.

The Very Rev. Hugh Kennedy, P.P.
St. Patrick’s Church.

2006 - “Entrust the past to God’s mercy and the future to his providence, above all, live the present moment as God’s gift and seek His blessing in all we do”.
At the New Years Eve Vigil Mass and Mass at Dawn on New Years day in St Patrick’s Church Lisburn, the Very Rev. Hugh Kennedy, P.P. gave this New Year message:

The end of one year and the beginning of a new, offers a mixture of emotions, of looking back of what is past and anticipation of what is to come. For some it will bring regrets for failings and perhaps trepidation of what the new will bring and for others there will be a spirit of thanksgiving for what has been received in 2005 and hopes of what is unfolding for us in 2006. As Christians in all this we are asked to entrust the past to God’s mercy and the future to his providence, above all to live the present moment as God’s gift, and seek His blessing in all we do. In these hours we are encouraged by the words of Sacred Scripture from the Mass for today: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you his peace”.

Lisburn Cathedral

Canon Sam Wright Lisburn Cathedral.

Canon Sam Wright Lisburn Cathedral.

2006 - “Let us RESTORE this church in every way that we may be a vibrant dynamic community that cares for others and freely reaches out with the good news of Jesus”.
Canon Sam Wright sent the following message to the parishioners of Lisburn Cathedral: In the Cathedral a momentous year has passed with the React mission with over 200 people responding to gospel message presented in October 2005. We have very quickly moved forward from React to Restoration. Just days after our React week finished the builders moved in to start a major restoration of the Castle street side of the Cathedral. But restoration must mean more than bricks and mortar. It is our task to restore the church in every way to where it should be. It is almost 300 years since the people of this church were faced with the task of rebuilding after a fire had swept through Lisburn Cathedral. I am quite sure as they planned they looked forward to the future.

In this generation we are being given the opportunity to rebuild both structurally and spiritually, to share Christ as the same life saver yesterday, today and for 21st century people. I believe it is a blessed and God-anointed task that we’ve been given. Ezra 5 v 8 says ‘The people are rebuilding the temple with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction’. Ezra 6 v 14: ‘They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel’. We will be relying on the Lord each step of the way as we embrace this work of restoration.

He concluded, “I encourage you all to become history-makers, jump in and with the help of the Lord, let us RESTORE this church in every way that we may be a vibrant dynamic community that cares for others and freely reaches out with the good news of Jesus”.