|L to R: (seated) The Rev Canon William Bell (Rector of Eglantine Parish), the Very Rev Feargal McGrady (St Colman’s Parish Priest) and the Rev David Knox (Minister of Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church). (back row) Pole bearers Jim Donaghy (left) and Michael Potter (right) with Kim Lindsay, Jim Slevin and Jayne Martin who led the prayers and Scripture lessons.||Members of St Colman’s Folk Group who led the praise at the Churches Together in Lisburn Annual Unity Week Service in St Colman’s Roman Catholic Church, Lambeg last Sunday afternoon (January 18). L to R: Roisin Magee, Conor Quinn, Lauren Conway, Shauna Kennedy and Eilish Campbell.|
Many churches in Lisburn are participating in special services this week to mark the 101st Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which traditionally takes place from January 18-25.
Each year, a different country is invited to write the initial worship material, which can be adapted for local use. The theme for the 2009 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was selected by a local ecumenical group from South Korea, and is ‘That they may become one in your hand’.
Last Sunday afternoon (January 18), Churches Together in Lisburn held their Annual Unity Week Service in St Colman’s Roman Catholic Church, Lambeg. The Parish Priest, The Very Rev Feargal McGrady, Chairperson of Churches Together in Lisburn, conducted the service assisted by the Secretary of Churches Together in Lisburn, the Rev Canon William Bell, (Rector of the Eglantine Parish) and the Rev David Knox (Minister of Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church). Also taking part were Jim Donaghy, Don Canning and Jim Slevin (St Colman’s) and Michael Potter, Jayne Martin and Kim Lindsay (Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church).The St Colman’s Folk Group led the praise.
Inspired by the Ezekiel text read by Canon Bell, pole bearers Jim Donaghy (St Colman’s) and Michael Potter (Harmony Hill) tied two wooden poles together during the service as a symbol of unity. As a further symbol of unity, they also brought forward a large cross, which also has two pieces of wood joined together. In a challenging sermon Fr McGrady explained that Ezekiel put two bits of wood together as a ‘visual aid’ to show the message he was trying to get across to them; the two pieces of wood joined together as depicted by the poles and the cross is God’s sign of our reconciliation being the initiative and work of God, who holds us united in His hand. He went on to say that likewise, God would unite the people ‘That they may become one in His hand’.
An offering was taken for the Irish School of Ecumenics and the Lambeg youth project, ‘The Base’. Refreshments were served in the Church Hall following the service.
Next Sunday morning (January 25) at 10.30am, members of the Korean Christian church who live in Lisburn will participate in a Service in Derryvolgie Parish Church. Korean snack (kimbap) will be served after the service.
Churches Together in Lisburn, formerly known as ‘Lisburn Council of Churches’ (the more informal style and title was recently adopted) was formed back in the 1970s by ministers and other church leaders from the greater Lisburn area to discuss and act on matters of mutual interest to all the churches; to work towards improving community relations at a time of serious civil strife, and also to hold times of fellowship and prayer together. It draws its membership from a wide spectrum of churches and denominations whose concerns include greater inter-church understanding and better community relations.