Thank you for your interest in the Moneydig and Second Kilrea climb Donard for United Appeal challenge.
The idea of the challenge is that if you climb a normal set of house stairs 360 times you will have climbed the same height as Slieve Donard. If you are up for the challenge then download the record sheet below. Every time you climb the stairs 10 times get someone to sign off your achievement finish all 360 climbs and you’ll have reached the top.
Getting to the top of Donard is an incredible achievement, but what would be even better is if we could help others while we are doing it. If you are able why not ask some family and close friends to sponsor you while you make your climb. Then when you have finished, and when it is safe to collect the money bring it to church and we will give it to the United Appeal.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
On the first day of the week, after the crucifixion, May Magdalene went to the tomb looking for Jesus. As she stood outside the tomb crying because she did not know where the body of Jesus was, Jesus appeared to her and told her to tell the disciples ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ (John ch 20 v 17).
In Ephesians ch 1 Paul speaks of the power God exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and placed him above ‘all power and dominion’. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God in the heavenly realms.
However, the good news of the Easter story does not end with Christ being raised from the dead. In Ephesians ch 3 v 4-6 Paul goes on to tell us that ‘because of his great love for us, God, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions’ and ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’; ‘in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus’.
When we trust in Christ, when we accept God’s grace, God brings us from death to abundant life using the same power that he used to raise Jesus from the dead.
And the story doesn’t even stop there. Paul goes on to pray for the Ephesians ‘that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’ Ephesians ch3 v 16-17.
When we are strengthened by God’s almighty power Christ lives in our hearts through faith. So, let’s remember that though we are weak and the church seems a bit fragmented at this present time, the indescribable and incomparable power of the cross, has raised us, his people, to life. Let us pray that this power, which rests on his people, will strengthen each of us so that Christ reigns supreme in our hearts and minds.
James’ funeral was held in Moneydig Presbyterian Church graveyard on Tuesday 23rd March and was conducted by Rev T J McCormick, minister of Boveedy Presbyterian Church and Rev S A Morrow, minister of Moneydig Presbyterian Church.
Growing up on a rural farm in Aghadowey, each day was different and my mum and dad faced many challenges. One day which never changed was Sunday as this was the Lord’s day, the day of rest and my parents faithfully attended Moneydig Presbyterian Church. This is where I was baptised along with my two brothers and each week we went to Sunday school and church. Being bought up in a Christian home I always thought I was a Christian.
Life is never a smooth ride and in my late teens I felt like it couldn’t get any worse as I lost my mum to cancer. My own health wasn’t the best and I was wondering ‘where is God in all of this?’.
But again and again God has blessed me. One such blessing is the people God has placed in my life. My wife Carol and our two amazing daughters Olivia and Sophie, my church family and in particular my friend Jacki. Who God not only placed in Moneydig but also in my workplace for 13 years. Jacki’s friendship and guidance really brought faith to life for me.
In 2015 I suffered an Epileptic seizure whilst on holiday and ended up in intensive care, I felt God was with me in that hospital and this was the start of my mature journey.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
Psalm 46, v1
I started mentoring sessions with my minister Stuart shortly after this which allowed me to ask questions and to understand the word of God better. Since then, with God’s guidance, I have been much more involved in Church life and was honoured to be ordained as an elder last year. I work with the Youth Fellowship which I hugely enjoy. As I guide them, I continue to learn and to see how amazing God is. Being more involved with my church brings me joy and none more so than singing in the choir for special services.
I have worked in the travel industry all of my life; I have had the pleasure of travelling to many countries all over the world but the best and most important journey of my life is the one I am on with my saviour.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God , which transcends all understanding , will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I was blessed to grow up in a family who went to Church every Sunday so I don’t remember a specific point when I became a Christian – I just went along to Sunday School, Campaigners, GB and Holiday Bible Clubs for as long as I can remember.
However, I do remember one specific time when I really felt like God was actually there and was listening to me – I remember praying at the MAD weekend one year and for the first time, experiencing my prayers actually being answered. I don’t remember anything as clear as this happening before so I was so amazed that our God, creator over the whole wide world and the one with power over life and death had actually heard my prayers which seemed so insignificant.
Since then, I’ve continually been encouraged by my family, friends, youth leaders and Sunday School teachers. Lockdowns have also helped me grow spiritually as I have had more time to read my Bible, listen to CU podcasts and learn lots from Bible Instagram pages. Although I really miss getting to see friends at Church and discussing some big Bible questions at Small Groups, being able to watch Church online and have Youth Fellowship zoom calls have helped me to stay strong in my faith even when we can’t be together.
In the middle of everything else in 2020, sickness hit my family and I really believe it was our faith, prayers and trust in God which has helped us persevere. Romans 5:3-4 – “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
For our family, it’s seemed like one trial after another this past year and for many people who are without God it would have been very easy to give up, let sickness win and question where God is in all of this, but for us our God never failed us or gave up on us. He never stopped moving in all of our lives, and He continues to do incredible things daily. I are so thankful for His never-ending love and mercy. In a year where everyone was so apart, and everything seemed so dark and hopeless, God didn’t social distance from us or forget about us – He united us all together. I think it’s safe to say that God’s not dead, He’s surely alive!
Psalm 18:16 – “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.”
Placing faith in Jesus Christ was not as difficult for me, as it is for some others. I was privileged to grow up in a home where church life was considered very important. Through the strong influence of my mother, there was no question about being involved in church, Sunday School, BB and Christian Endeavour. Besides, as the youngest of five sons in a large family, I was always aware that two oldest brothers were studying for the Presbyterian Ministry.
I made a public profession of my faith as a teenager in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, during a mission conducted by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, celebrated minister of the People’s Church, Toronto.
While I could not say I have a favourite text, several verses have proved pivotal at different stages. Paul’s words, ‘You are not your own; you were bought at a price’, ( 1 Corinthians 5;19,20) played a part in my decision to study for the ministry, after completing my law degree at Queen’s University Belfast.
During service as an assistant in Bloomfield, Belfast, 6 years in Templepatrick and 31 years in Coleraine, I have tried to live, however inadequately, by two guiding verses; the word of Jeremiah, ‘Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not.’ (Jeremiah 45;5) and the word of John the Baptist, ‘He must become greater, I must become less’ (John 3;30)
I have never been comfortable with those who say, ‘Trust in Jesus and all will be fine’. The Christian life is a perpetual challenge and struggle—a ‘sore fight to the end’—but to my mind, it is the only thing that makes sense of our wonderful but bewildering world.
I grew up in Aghadowey and attended the Presbyterian Church where I went to Sunday School and Girls Auxiliary. On a few occasions I went to Girls Auxiliary camp, where we had the opportunity of meeting missionaries. As a child, I was inspired by their testimonies and how they were living and sharing their faith in many different countries. The GA motto was Philippians Ch 4 v 13 ‘For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength’. I have often thought of that verse when I have been challenged by difficulties through life.
When we married I became a member of Moneydig Presbyterian Church, where our three children were baptised and nurtured in the faith. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a serious illness that I came to know Jesus as my Saviour. In the weeks before my illness I had been challenged during the Sunday services and realised afterwards that God had been speaking to me and preparing me for what lay ahead. When I went into hospital, many people prayed for us as a family and I experienced a peace, the peace that passes all understanding that only God can give. It was very real to me and I knew that whatever happened God would be with me always.
Having been a member of PW for a long time, my involvement there and in other church activities now has a new and deeper meaning. In later years I served as PW leader and taught in Sunday School.
Looking back on my life I thank God that He spared me to enjoy my family. The arrival of five lovely grandchildren has been a real blessing to us.
During lockdown a constant source of encouragement for me has come from reading Scripture and praying. We have had to deal with many changes in our lives over the last few months but as we look forward to spring, we know God’s faithfulness never changes. Lamentations Ch 3 v 22,23 – ‘The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness, His mercies begin afresh each morning’.