Encountering God

Encountering God begins this Wednesday (13th) in Moneydig Presbyterian Church. This is a 4 week course running each Wednesday night from 7:30pm – 9:00pm.

Over the next 4 weeks we will be using God’s word, music and prayer to understand how God develops our relationship with him.

Roz Stirling

The course will be led by Roz Stirling from Cleopas ministries. Roz said this about her hopes for the 4 Wednesday nights.

“Our short series, Encountering God, will explore how this wonderful new relationship with God develops. We will look at the part we as followers of Jesus, must play, in order for this special, life-giving relationship with God to grow and flourish. And we will discover the wonder of God’s provision for us in advance of us coming to faith. In all, this will be a wonderful adventure when we will learn how to walk in close proximity to God moment by moment and how in partnership with him, we see old habits and sins defeated, and the new nature of Christ being formed in us.”

Although the course begins at 7:30pm there will be opportunity before hand to meet and have a cup of tea together. So why not come along and join with us as we seek to deepen our relationship with God through Jesus Christ by encountering God. 

Christmas Greetings from the Manse

2018 has been a year when I’ve been reminded of the privileges that go with being a minister. This year Julia, the boys and I had the once in a lifetime experience of spending 8 weeks in Kingsway, Etobicoke, Toronto. While in Canada we not only got to experience church in a vastly different setting to Moneydig, but we visited some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world such as Niagara Falls and the CN Tower in Toronto.

The Morrow Family

My fondest memories of Canada are of the people we met and the friends we made. As for the places we visited, while it was great to see the likes of Toronto and Niagara my favourite places where out of the city and away from the busyness. Small towns such as the Mennonite town of St Jacobs or Gravenhurst on the shores of Lake Muskoka. Being away this summer reinforced in me that sense of God’s call to Moneydig, that this is where I belong. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would miss this place and the people I have come to love.

As well as reminding me of privileges, 2018 has also been a hard year for us as a congregation. We’ve had a lot of illness and hardships among our families. Moneydig is unlike any other place I have lived because of the sense of community and togetherness. This has been important to our congregation. It has meant people have rallied around, providing meals, lifts and childcare whenever they have been needed. There is a real sense when one of us hurts we all hurt, and so we all rally round and provide support. This isn’t just a sense of community, it is church. It is part of what it means to be God’s people, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is why the Apostle Paul was able to write in 2 Corinthians 1:4,

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

As we approach Christmas and 2019 please continue to pray for those who are unwell.

2018 has again been marked by the generosity of you as a congregation. The support shown to Andrew Rosborough and Christine Wilson as they ‘Braved the Shave’ for Macmillan Cancer Research was incredible. The response to the moderator’s appeal for Indonesia and your ongoing support of the Free Will Offering, Repair Fund and United Appeal is humbling.

It is good that we give in this way, but it is not something I take for granted and I am acutely aware that as I commend you for what has already been given, I am also asking your support for the World Development Appeal.

2018 has also been a year when Moneydig became famous. In January and February, we ran the Essentials course, produced by PCI. This course was designed to help us think about what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. The material featured video interviews of people from a range of church settings talking about their journey of faith, and among those being interviewed was our own Gillian Wilson and Julia Morrow.

In the previous summer we as a congregation also featured at the Special Assembly, again connected to discipleship.
The theme of discipleship continues to be an important theme for us here in Moneydig.

In this coming year we hope to create new opportunities for people to explore what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ… watch this space for more details.
Essentials was a success because of how it was supported.  Each year you have overwhelmed me with your support for these events, thank you. This year we are going to try something a little different. Roz Stirling, who used to work in the old Youth and Children’s office at church house, runs a ministry called Cleopas. Cleopas is intended to help people spend time with God. Roz is going to come along for the four Wednesday’s in February. I am hoping that although this will be different to the Alpha and Christianity Explored courses that people will still find it useful and challenging.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who works so hard throughout the year in Moneydig. There are too many people to mention, but they range from committee and elders, musicians, leaders, cleaners, people on sound and PowerPoint, or parking cars and there are still others I have not mentioned. Some working in the forefront, others unseen in the background – all valued.
Finally, a personal thank you to everyone who has shown kindness to Julia, Robin, Jacob and I over the last year. It is not unusual to find ‘presents’ at the manse door, or to discover that someone has done something for us. We really are well looked after and feel loved. All of us in the Manse wish each of you every blessing this Christmas and it is our prayer that each of us know and understand the importance of Mary’s child being named Jesus,

‘…and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Stuart Morrow

Moneydig Carol Service

The annual Carol Service at Moneydig Presbyterian Church is on Sunday 16th December at 7:00 pm.
It’s hard to believe Christmas is upon us. This time of year is always busy, maybe even stressful. Why not lift the stress by coming to enjoy our traditional carols by candlelight service this Sunday.
We’ll sing well much-loved Christmas carols. Read the Christmas story from God’s word and then the Youth Fellowship will treat us to mince pies with tea and coffee in the hall.
There is much more to Christmas than the madness. There is the wonderful good news of the Light of the World who stepped down into darkness.

Come and join us this Sunday at 7pm – we would be delighted to see you.

Bible Class sale for Maynooth and Zambia

The Sunday School Project for 2018/2019 has clear focus on blessing people in the places God has placed us.  As we seek to be distinctive as God’s children we are reminded to look out for opportunities to bless the people around us.

This year we supported Maynooth and ZambiaMaynooth Community Church is one of the youngest congregations within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and celebrates it’s 11th anniversary this month, November’18.  This young church has a vision a new building to serve the community, including a community cafe as part of the dream to reach out to the many people passing by.  In Zambia, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) have realised as a church that most of their young children have no form of early childhood learning experience before they enter school at 7 years old.  This year’s project raised funds to train teachers how to set out a nursery school properly and to teach them how children learn and develop and to be self-sustaining in the materials they will need for the play areas.  The aim of the programme is to ensure that as many young children as possible have early learning experiences before they begin formal learning.

When asked how they’d like to raise funds for the projects, this year’s Bible Class decided on a sale.  Something we’d never attempted before, and it was young Paul Torrens who had the light bulb moment quickly seconded by Olivia McAleese.

Olivia and Lois volunteered to make crafts over the summer and by September had produced loads of beautiful brightly coloured twisted and plaited bracelets, a promise jar and some slate pictures scripted with God’s Word.

Since our return to class in September we’ve been gathering box loads of “stuff” from the kids.  The Torrens and Welsh households I can tell you will be significantly lighter of clutter this Autumn!!  It feels great… highly recommended!!

The date was set, Saturday 6th October at Ballymoney Church of God.  Needing the extra man-power Robin, Luke and Dale volunteered to come along to Ballymoney Church of God at 10:30 Friday night to carry in all the heavy boxes and lay every out across 3 tables in readiness for the madness of car booting the next morning!!

On the day, not all the class could make it mainly due to Saturday morning sports commitments but Paul, Lois, Olivia, Sophie, Robin, and Dale all bravely raked up willing to spend their morning convincing every passer-by they absolutely “needed” what we had on our stall!!  Having had some experience of car booting I was well aware we needed all the help we could get so Judith Torrens and Megan Welsh stepped up to the challenge and had their first-ever experience of car booting too

It was great fun and every pair of willing hands were definitely needed.  After much negotiating, bargaining and promoting our wares – and several cups of tea and buns later – a fabulous £155 was raised which we offer to God’s work in Maynooth and Zambia knowing He will multiply it greatly that many be blessed.

We continue to remain focused and always mindful of those around us whom God places on our hearts to bless.  As Christmas approaches Bible Class will again be praying asking God whom, closer to home in our own community, we can bless.  Together we will bake or make something simple and then, much more importantly, will call and give of our time with those God lays on our hearts.

As we seek God’s blessing on the lives of our young men and woman of Bible Class (Jonathan McAleese, Robin Morrow, Paul Torrens, Luke McMichael, Dale Boyd, Jacob Morrow, Erin Savory, Olivia McAleese, Lois McFeteridge, Katy McFeteridge, Sophie McAleese) please remember them in prayer.   It’s my prayer each one lives a life on purpose, willingly stepping out for God in the community He has placed them.

Jacki Welsh

Campaigners ‘Brave the Shave’

Campaigners in Moneydig begins again this Monday, (8th October) at 6:45 pm. This year looks as though it is going to be another packed year. One of the highlights of the year will surely be on the 5th November when one of our craftsmen, Christine Wilson, will ‘Brave the Shavein aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. I’ll let Christine explain why she decided to brave the shave.

Brave the Shave

My name is Christine Wilson and I am 17 years old. On the 5th of November 2018 I will be shaving my head for MacMillan Cancer Support.

I was inspired to sign up for ‘Brave the Shave’ because during my lifetime I have witnessed so many people around me affected by cancer. MacMillan offers support for individuals and their families during difficult periods of time. I hope to raise as much money as possible to enable this charity to continue the amazing work they do across the country.

Campaigners will be holding an open night on the 5th November to allow people to come along and support Christine, and of course to donate in aid of this incredibly worthwhile cause.

If you would like to support Christine, you can do so on the night or give via her donation page below.

https://bravetheshave.macmillan.org.uk/shavers/christine-wilson

Campaigners will also be supporting the annual shoe box appeal. This is always a great night when our children pack shoe boxes with all sorts of goodies donated by Moneydig congregation. Last year we packed a Moneydig record of over 100 boxes. It would be great to get close to this again or even better it.

The campaigner enrolment service will be in Moneydig Presbyterian Church on Sunday 18th November when Rev Tommy Bruce from Letterkenny Presbyterian Church will be enrolling our young people and leaders.

We look forward to Sunday 10th February when our campaigners will lead us in worship at the annual Campaigners Service. Last year Crown Jesus Ministries, told us the story of Joseph using puppets and music. We look forward to what campaigners will have instore for us this year.

If you have children aged between 4 – 18 then why not consider sending them along to campaigners to be part of this year’s adventure.

Harvest in Moneydig

Saturday 29th September will be filled with excitement at Moneydig Presbyterian Church. We are holding our first ever Harvest Fun Day at 2pm – 4pm.

This year we are extending our annual Harvest Celebrations to include a fun day on the Saturday as well as our Harvest Services on the Sunday at 12 noon and 7:30pm.

On Saturday we will have a band from Bangor called Reality.

They will be providing live music, sharing some of their life stories and providing a puppet show throughout the afternoon.

There will be an inflatable obstacle course to clamber over at the back of the church hall.

Inside the hall those who prefer a more sedate way of life we will be able to enjoy tea, coffee and tray bakes and of course the opportunity to simply sit back and chat.

Outside we will have plenty of games to challenge young and old alike, as well as the opportunity to take aim and practice archery skills.

While we want people to have fun, we also want to point towards God’s goodness and give thanks to Him for the bounty that is our harvest. To this end the church will be open allowing people to wander through and get a sneak preview of the harvest decorations.

Our organist, Heather McAleese, will also be on hand to provide a beautiful sound track to the decorations again focusing our attention towards the wonderful faithfulness and goodness of our creator God.

On Sunday morning and evening we hope to welcome family, friends and neighbours to our Harvest Celebrations.

We will worship God through some familiar harvest hymns including We plough the fields and scatter as well as reading from God’s word and giving thanks in prayer.

At our 7:30 evening service we will hear how God has been working in the life of Louise McFetridge one of our members in Moneydig and leader of the PW.

So why not come along on Saturday & Sunday to celebrate all God has done for us with yet another bountiful harvest.

Coming up in Moneydig

It seems like no time at all since our minister Stuart Morrow and his family were heading off to Toronto and the congregation of St Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church,

 

and Tim Bruneau and his family were coming in the opposite direction to spend 8 weeks in Moneydig. It appears there was a consensus on both sides of the Atlantic that this summer was a success.

As with all things, the church year is no different and so now it’s time to move on and start thinking about the new Autumn program in Moneydig.

The Sunday school begins this Sunday (9th September) with the annual big breakfast. Please remember to bring your children (and any friends they might have) along at 11 am – and make sure they are hungry!

Sunday morning worship continues each week at 12 noon. This term we will be looking at the book of Hosea asking what this 8th Century prophet has to say to a 21st century world. Throughout the book we will find a repeated call to holiness, to not only repeat the ancient truths we have come to love, but to live those truths in our every day life.

There will be a new face at worship at various points this Autumn. Mark Adams, a member of Bushvale Presbyterian Church, who is probably more familiar to us through his work in the Cornerstone in Garvagh, will be enriching our worship as he helps conduct three services over the coming months.

Mark is training to become an accredited preacher within PCI and as part of that training he will be mentored with us here in Moneydig. Please do make yourself known to Mark and encourage him as he explores God’s call on his life.

Harvest is always an important event in Moneydig. This year we are doing something extra to celebrate harvest. As well as our services on Sunday 30th September at 12 noon and 7:00 pm we will have a Fun Day on the Saturday between 2 and 4 pm.

We will have tea and coffee in the hall, a bouncy castle, archery and various fun games. We will also have live music and a puppet show. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to give something back to our community so please do come along and enjoy all that will be on offer – and of course get a sneak preview of our harvest decorations.

Campaigners will begin on Monday 1st October for another fun filled year of adventure and mayhem. All of this as well as PW, bowling club and then our Christmas celebrations means that it will be no time before the New Year.  We will begin 2019 by running a Life Explored course through January and February.

There certainly is plenty happening in Moneydig so why not stay in touch through our website, www.moneydig.org.uk; Facebook or even better by coming along on Sundays at 12 noon.

Moneydig Holiday Bible Club

Just a snap shot of this year’s holiday bible club. More to follow…

A big thank you to all who made this week such a success…

Unanticipated Rest

We drove along the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. It was the last evening of our week long experience of Scotland and all were a little tired. The previous night we had our first taste of “glamping” (glamorous camping?) and not many of us were well rested. The comfort received from thin blue camping mats did not increase as I layered more and more of them under my body on the wooden floor – you’d think four would help! Lindsey offered what sounded like whooping cough to the confined space as Kelly sought to stifle her cough by putting her head under a pillow.

But, a new day had begun, it was sunny (or at least not raining) and it was August the 4th – Kya’s 9th Birthday.  Kya started the day with a large piece of chocolate cake from a local café and we drove on to the beautiful Isle of Skye. We listened to bagpipers and saw the sights of this legendary corner of the ancient and storied land.

But it was now the end of a long day, the girls were drifting in and out of sleep, and Kelly and I had no place to stay. When we had tried booking a place two weeks previous there was nothing to be found for Saturday night at a reasonable rate. The Edinburgh Tattoo had just begun and the crowds had arrived.

As we drove along the shores of Loch Lomond, we enjoyed the beauty, yet had that sinking feeling that it would be a sleepless night leading to an exhausting last day – not a great way to end the tour. Our plan was for the girls to fall asleep in the van and then we’d pull over at the side of the road and rest for a while too. As we drove we began to hope that maybe somewhere there would be ‘room at the inn’. We pulled into a couple little hotels and were told that there was nothing anywhere, but at the third place, in a town called Troon, the staff did some calling around and found a room in another hotel with one double bed. Though it wasn’t a great area of town, nor was it quite suitable for six of us, we were so delighted with this inexpensive, last minute find. We were so thankful to have a flat place to lie down (it was the two birthday kids – Kya and myself who got the bed!); also, to have a shower and toilet was wonderful! We started the Lord’s Day with a grateful heart. We played in the local playground then chose from three Church of Scotland’s within one block of each other and worshipped our Lord with joy.

There have been so many occasions where we expected little and were surprised with so much more. Where we planned for challenge, great expense, or disappointment and rejoiced in a pleasant sense of ease, or startling generosity or encouragement. The Lord grants opportunities to see grace but often I’ve overlooked those moments. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every   situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.    Phil. 4:11-12

Experiences outside of our comfort zone prepare us for challenge but also stimulate great rejoicing when the goodness of God’s love, often displayed through loving people, is expressed. As I finish this reflection, our family has just returned from the cattle market auction in downtown Kilrea. Someone from the Church saw us there and took us out for lunch afterwards.

The generosity, sincere welcome, care and interest in our lives that we have experienced in Northern Ireland will never be forgotten. With gratitude and joy in Christ, Tim Bruneau

Celebrating Culture

It has been an interesting week for the Morrow family in Toronto. We have been taking in some of the city’s culture. We visited the annual Toronto carnival on Saturday the 4th August.

Toronto Festival Parade

I’m not quite sure what it was a celebration of, but it was most definitely a celebration of something and it attracted thousands of people.

On Monday the 6th August we visited the Royal Ontario Museum.

The museum had a spider exhibition. This was a celebration of everything spider.

The museum also had some magnificent displays of dinosaur bones and fossils celebrating a significant part of earth’s history.

One of my favourite exhibits was the Egyptian Mummy.

A glimpse into life not just from a bygone age, but an age that conjures images of some of scriptures most famous stories, such as Moses standing before Pharaoh demanding he set God’s people free.

The layout of the museum walked us through the ages and into the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Busts of Roman emperors brought a different perspective to New Testament history as we got to put a face to some of the famous emperors who did so much to shape the life of the early church.

Yet throughout all the celebrations of culture something was missing.

Nowhere was there a celebration of Christian culture. The dinosaur section gave no indication of creation which depended on design. The Egyptian displays made no mention of any of the great biblical stories which did so much to shape that ancient nations history. Among all the Roman artefacts where were the nails made famous when used to crucify God’s son Jesus Christ.

Among all the music, dancing, colour and costumes of the parade the only reference I heard to Jesus was from a group of men who were more interested in debating Jesus skin colour as opposed to what he did while on this earth.

In a world fixated with culture it is time we as Christians and the church celebrate our culture, a culture rich in love and acceptance, a culture full of redemption and hope.