Church BBQ 27th July 2018

Moneydig and Second Kilrea held a Church Barbecue on Friday 27th July at the Manse grounds with around 80 people coming along to enjoy a great night of tasty burgers and sizzling sausages.

Everyone enjoyed the evening and thanks go to Alan and Gerald for looking after the cooking. Thanks to Tim, Kelly and family for allowing the invasion of so many people around their summer residence.

A Canadian View of the Twelfth

Tim Bruneau from St Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church gives his thoughts on this years twelfth parade in Garvagh.

Our family participated in what is likely the largest celebration in Northern Ireland of the year – the July 12th Parade.

It is commonly called “The Twelfth”, or ‘the Glorious Twelfth’ or ‘Orangemen’s Day’. It is an Ulster Protestant celebration though anyone is welcome, and many Roman Catholics are in attendance. It began in the late 1700’s as a celebration of the revolution (1688) and the victory of the Protestant king William of Orange (from the Netherlands) over Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne (1690) in Ireland. Though it has been a contentious celebration since its’ origins and has been the place for violence and protests, in most towns it is a peaceful and community bonding event.

We all enjoyed the colourful banners, the powerful bands, the variety of uniforms and the beautiful horses (Clydesdale, I believe).

It was great to see the bands so unified in their drumming, fluting, piping and walking. To see the young and old together – a man from Moneydig congregation (David McAleese) was playing the flute in his 74th ‘Twelfth’ and there were children no older than six helping with the banners, clashing cymbals, or tossing batons.

Whatever the initial reason for the celebration, I believe the majority of the people love to see the unity in the procession within the diversity. We long to see unity in the world – we like that they are all marching the same path, they are following their leader, they are playing, walking or riding as a demonstration of their ‘oneness’.

In the short worship service that took place in the field before the bands marched the streets of Garvagh, there were strong words spoken by a Minister who pointed to Christ as the King. Also, the centrality of the Scriptures was reaffirmed. Although there were few who were listening to the Word of God and joining in the Christian hymns, there was an effort to take the opportunity to point to our Lord as the One who could bring us together in peace. I am so thankful for the experiences that our family has had to see the love of God in so many of our new acquaintances. May God continue to call those who are seeking peace and a sense of purpose in what can be confusing times. May Christians never cease to look for ways to point to the hope we find in Jesus Christ.           – Tim Bruneau

Niagara Falls

Psalm 46 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

The raw power and thunderous sound of the Niagara Falls was something to behold as we stood before them today (Wednesday 18th July). As I approached the falls from upstream of the river Niagara my first thoughts were ‘what’s so special about this place?’

The Niagara river appears like any other fast flowing river, it has several weirs creating a sense of power, but nothing out of the ordinary. The only hint of what is to come is the large plume of spray rising into the sky which then falls as rain on the footpaths and the roar of the falling water.

Once the crest of the falls has been reached that sense of being underwhelmed is washed away as quickly as the river disappears over the crest.

That sense of power which can be observed from the top of the falls is nothing to the power experienced at the bottom of the falls. We took a boat trip up the Niagara river to the base of the falls. Instantly I was struck by the height and noise of the falls. The plume of mist appears to rise into the sky in such a way as it becomes indistinguishable from the clouds. There is water everywhere, below, above and all around as spray soaked everyone on the boat. There was a sense of power and might such as I have never experienced before.

Watching the falls, I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 46, therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. It appears that the mountains really do tremble at the swelling of the waters, our tour guide told us the falls have receded over 11km due to erosion.

While the falls themselves were majestic, the journey there was not. Driving in on the wrong side of the road in a strange car and roads has been stressful to say the least. At times it felt as though the waters were sweeping over me, it wasn’t only the mountains that were trembling, I was doing my fair share!

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

While the falls demonstrate immense power, it is nothing to the peace of God.

I certainly need to learn the lesson that the peace of God is greater than the power of this world. Trusting in God means remembering who he is and what he has done and trusting God to bring this peace to our lives.

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

If Niagara has taught me anything it is the need to ‘Be still, and know that I am God.


Learning from the past

Yesterday, (Friday 13th July), Julia, Robin, Jacob and I visited the Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto. For those reading this back home in Northern Ireland, Black Creek Pioneer Village is very like the Folk park at Cultra or the Ulster American Folk park in Omagh. It is a look back into Canadian history, which means it is also a look back into Irish history because so much of Canada has been shaped by both British Imperialism and Irish Emigration.

One of the Pioneer Village exhibits is a house and shop owned by a shoemaker from Fermanagh called Davy Flynn who emigrated during the potato famine.

In Davy Flynn’s house we learned how Canada was divided up among the pioneer settlers. It was noticeable that each plot was incredibly uniform when viewed on the map. It was also noticeable how the native indigenous people were simply removed from their land to make way for settlers.

Few would argue at the injustice of someone’s homeland being taken away and whole groups of people being forcibly relocated, away from the rivers and hunting grounds that were a way of life and means of survival for generations. Today Canada is trying to acknowledge that wrongs were committed, and apologies have been issued to the indigenous people. There is an attempt to retell Canada’s history in a way that includes not only the story of the settlers but the people who were already here.

History is important not only because we can learn about the past but because we must learn from the past.

While at Black Creek Pioneer Village we also visited another example of Irish influence on Canada, a Presbyterian Church and the accompanying manse.

The church was built in 1856, Moneydig Presbyterian Church was built in 1836. This set me thinking about how the church I worship in is older than the church I visited in the Canadian Museum!

I couldn’t help but feel a little sad at the thought of a church building being reduced to a museum piece. Surely something somewhere has gone wrong, surely the church was meant for more than just a nostalgic look back at the past. The church should be a vibrant living entity that points to a vibrant wonderful future, not a nostalgic look at the past.

10 So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. Revelation 21: 10-11

The question then is how does the church regain her vision of the future?

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The church will only ever regain her vision for the future when we regain God’s vision for us. If the church is to become more than just a museum piece, then we must humble ourselves before God in prayer seeking his face. This is more than just calling another prayer meeting, it is about us as individuals and families praying together. This is the lifeblood of the church. This is how we learn from the past and prevent the church becoming part of the past.

Moneydig to Toronto

Niagara Falls 

A Canadian view of the twelfth 

Moneydig to Toronto

Moneydig and St Giles Kingsway Exchange update, 8th June 2018

Things are a little different in Moneydig this summer for our minster Stuart and his family. Stuart has swapped pulpits with the Rev Tim Bruneau from St Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church in Toronto .

Tim, along with his wife Kelly and daughters Evelyn, Kya, Vanessa and Lindsey have arrived in Moneydig to an excited welcome.

Stuart, Julia, Robin & Jacob arrived in St Giles Kingsway, Toronto, to a welcome of equal warmth… well that may not be strictly true as the temperature in Toronto is over 30⁰C, which along with the humidity can feel closer to 37⁰C.

Both Stuart and Tim conducted worship in their new environments today, Sunday 8th July, for the first time. Steven Torrens the clerk of session in Moneydig commented on how pleased he was to welcome the Bruneau family to Moneydig. Steven was also keen to encourage as many as possible to come along at 11:30 to Moneydig Presbyterian each Sunday to hear from and meet Tim and his family.

While Tim and his family have been exploring Moneydig, Stuart and his family have been exploring Toronto.

While there has been a lot to see in Toronto, Stuart commented that his experience only really began when he started to meet the people of St Giles Kingsway at worship. It was good to be able to start making new friends, and to meet not only Canadians, but several expats from Northern Ireland.  This included someone who originated from Kells, Ballymena close to where Stuart and his family lived before moving to Moneydig 4 years ago.

New churches and new people are not the only changes the Morrows and Bruneaus have to come to terms with, they both have new houses to explore.


This process has only just begun for both exchange families and their churches.  It is our prayer the next two months will be a blessing to all involved.

Learning from the past

Niagara Falls 

A Canadian view of the Twelfth 


Hot Chocolate Friday

At Moneydig Presbyterian the young people look forward to Hot Chocolate Friday.

Every Friday afternoon they get off the bus at the manse for Hot Chocolate Friday  and eat lots of donuts, cookies, drink juice and hot chocolate.

Lois said the thing she enjoys the most is being able to go outside while Paul enjoys spending time with his friends.

The weather has been brilliant, and everyone has enjoyed being able to play with Scampi the dog and they have even tried to make friends with Marbles the cat. Olivia has been introduced to all types of nature as she collected lady birds.

The sight of around a dozen young people getting of the school bus created something of a stir as the bus driver wasn’t quite sure what was happening but was grateful for the opportunity of finishing early as the bus emptied every Friday.

The favourite game has been ugy… this Is not a spelling mistake, ugy involves everyone standing in a circle and someone throws a ball in the air calling out someone’s name. The idea is to catch the ball while everyone runs away. Once the ball has been caught everyone stops running and waits for the person with the ball to try and hit someone with it… it is more fun to play than explain.

It has been brilliant being able to take the time to just listen to the young people of Moneydig as they tell their stories and laugh together. Hot chocolate Friday has been a wonderful opportunity for the young people to strengthen their friendships.

Moneydig Presbyterian Children’s Day

Moneydig Presbyterian children’s day took place on Sunday 10th June 2018.

In Moneydig we are incredibly proud of and thankful for our children. At this year’s annual Sunday School service our children taught us about Blind Bartimaeus and the Prodigal Son, both stories told in their own inimitable style.

The theme of the service was being able to see. Jesus enabled blind Bartimaeus to see and the prodigal son had to leave home and lose everything before he could see the goodness of the father. The children helped us to apply this theme of being able to see to today’s world. The Sunday school have placed a box in the vestibule to collect old glasses. Instead of these glasses simply gathering dust in drawers and cupboards at home they will now be sent to Kenya where good quality glasses are hard to come by. All glasses will be distributed by local charity VisPa. Find out more about VisPa here. In Moneydig the Sunday school is truly helping others to see, both in terms of seeing the world more clearly and seeing the love of Jesus through their compassion and kindness.

The service was a truly family affair as Richard McFetridge and Alan McAleese, dads to Katie and Sophie, were called upon to help illustrate the importance of being able to see as they tried to identify various objects while blindfolded.

Children’s day would not be complete without the Sunday School choir. This year the children excelled themselves as they sang a variety of pieces. The choir took this opportunity to teach the congregation one of their favourite songs, My Lighthouse, by the Rend Collective.

It was a pleasure to present prizes to every child and young person in the Sunday School and Bible class, all of which were richly deserved.

While Sunday school has now finished for the summer, it does not mean we have stopped meeting together. Saturday the 23rd June is the annual Sunday School outing.  This year we go to Watertop farm in Ballycastle. The weather forecast looks more than hopeful.

If you don’t belong to a Sunday School we would be delighted to offer a warm welcome and the opportunity to be part of what happens week by week in Moneydig, as well as the chance to let your gifts shine through the various children and family services throughout the year. For more information about Sunday School please speak to our superintendent Jacqui Henderson.

Moneydig PW Annual Outing

The Moneydig PW Annual Outing took place on Saturday 9th June 2018. This year we went to Creative Gardens at Galgorm followed by lunch in Toast, Cullybackey. We were blessed with wonderful weather and had the most enjoyable time together.

We arrived at the Garden Centre and of course our first stop had to be coffee. We indulged in a selection of freshly made scones and buns along with our coffee. We also had the luxury of sitting outside in the beautiful sunshine. The day could have been spent relaxing with coffee but some serious shopping was required.

After our money had run out we headed to Toast for a lovely lunch followed by dessert and tea or coffee. Our PW ladies had a lovely day together and one lady said that, “it is just lovely to spend time with friends.” This one sentence sums up our PW group, a group of friends who enjoy each others company.

We at Moneydig would invite any lady to come and join us.

We share fellowship and fun together. To find out more about the PW in general click here. 

“For where two or three are gathered, there am I among them.”


What’s New in Moneydig

The summer will soon be upon us, our young people will be relieved because this will mark the end of the exams. Parents will be wondering what on earth to do with children for 8 long weeks. There will be excitement for those going off on holiday, while the rest of us will be looking anxiously to the skies wondering if this good weather will hold.

The good news is there will be plenty to do in Moneydig Presbyterian Church in the coming weeks. First up on Sunday 10th June at 12 noon is our annual children’s day service. This is when our Sunday School take over the service as the children lead us in worship in their own inimitable style. This is always a good time to invite families to come out to church and celebrate all the children have learnt over the last year, of course the promise of tea and coffee in the hall afterwards is an added attraction.

Then on the 23rd June we have our Sunday School outing and congregational BBQ. The title of the outing is a bit misleading, because it is for many more than just those who belong to the Sunday School, or who are Sunday School age. This outing is for the whole of the church family, so regardless as to whether you are in Sunday School, or just enjoy a good day out why not come along. This year we are going to Watertop Farm just outside Ballycastle, please pray for more sunshine. This is also another good opportunity to invite family and friends to come along and join with us, who knows they may enjoy themselves so much that they decide to come and be part of our church family.

Every year after the outing we come along to the manse at 72 Mullaghinch Road, for a BBQ. Alan McAleese is the chief chef, well supported by Gerald Stewart. The more we have the better so please do come along.

Also, in June we hope to organise a litter pick in the local neighbourhood, so please watch this space for more details.

As usual we will have our annual holiday bible club in the third week in August. Judith and Denise Torrens are already getting materials, crafts and bible stories ready for the children we hope will come along. Over the last 4 years we have had an average of 50 – 60 children coming, so please make sure you have the third week in August clear in your diary, trust us your Children will thank you for sending them.

This summer will be very different in Moneydig because our Minister, Stuart and his family will be taking part in a summer pulpit exchange with the Rev Tim Bruneau and his family from Canada. Stuart, Julia, Robin and Jacob will be leaving on the 3rd July for two months in St Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church in Toronto, while Tim and his family come to live in the manse and minister here in Moneydig.

We will of course be organising our usual summer walks and BBQ’s to give as many people as possible the chance to meet and chat with Tim and his family, so please do come out over the summer and support them. More information about St Giles Kingsway can be found on their Facebook page and their website

So, as you can see there will be plenty of opportunity for us to meet as a church family over the summer months so please do take as many of these opportunities as possible to strengthen old friendships and to make new lasting ones.