May is always one of my favourite months. You get the sense that Spring has sprung with the brighter evenings, the drone of lawnmowers going and the general vibe of people being out and about doing things.
Of course for another section of our population, it signals the season of exams and they are frantically cramming lots of information they hope to regurgitate onto paper to get them through another academic year or milestone like leaving school or university. I often associate exam season with better weather offering all sorts of distractions to take you away from the books you should be studying!
This May contains an event of national and indeed international significance with the Coronation of King Charles 111 on 6th May in Westminster Abbey in London. A Coronation is a symbolic religious ceremony during which a sovereign is crowned and the physical act involved is placing a crown on a monarch’s head.
We hope to celebrate this special event in a number of ways. As a parish we want to present every household represented on our parish lists with a specially commissioned copy of the Gospel of Matthew called Crowned King. It will contain some information about the significance of various aspects of the service and what they mean as well as some of the prayers involved.
When people receive their copy they will also receive a letter of invitation to a week of mission and community outreach from 14th – 21st May. During that week we have invited a number of speakers to come and share with our groups and organisations that meet during the week about why faith is important to them. If people are interested as a follow on from that, we hope to run an online Alpha course to allow people to explore further. The programme is not entirely finalised at the time of writing but we do have some very interesting communicators lined up.
On Sunday 14th May at our morning service our preacher will be Reverend Jan Stevenson who is the community pastor in Ballyholme parish in Bangor who will share some stories of transformation in her local community.
On Monday 15th May, Millie Bellew, the Children’s Ministry Officer in our Diocese will share with the Toddlers’ group for a short time about her experience of fostering.
On Tuesday 16th May at the Cregagh Crafters’ group, Helen Sanlon will speak about faith and her art career and how it has led her into unexpected opportunities for ministry.
On Wednesday morning 17th May at our Midweek Holy Communion, Chancellor John Auchmuty will preach at our service and share a little further at tea and refreshments afterwards.
On the Wednesday evening, Bishop Alan Abernethy will share at our Bible Book Club at 7.30pm.
On Friday 19th May there will be a community quiz night with a special speaker in the hall and on Sunday 21st May, our Diocesan Lay Reader will preach at 11am on the theme “Is God calling you?”
Please pray for these events and if you normally attend one of those groups during the week, it’s a great opportunity to invite a friend or neighbour. There will be special speakers at our Sunday evening services also on 14th and 21st May.
Could I take this opportunity to thank all who worked so hard to make our Holy Week and Easter services so special. The choir as always led our worship beautifully alongside our organist. The praise band led a memorable Palm Sunday morning Connect Service and special thanks to Reverend Andy Hay who preached and led our devotions through the week.
We are grateful too to the drama group Play it by Ear who led our devotions on Good Friday morning for the children and young people and to Gillian and Andy for a powerful Tenebrae service on Good Friday.
No matter how many times we may have engaged with these events they always bring up new things within us and I thank on all our behalf those who helped to make them live anew this year.
Thank you too to all our flower arrangers who decorated the church so beautifully.
We want to hold in our prayers the King as he prepares for the Coronation and also all the events in this coming month not forgetting all those who are facing important exams and parishioners we know who are going through difficult and challenging times.
With very best wishes,
Jonathan Pierce (Rector)
Telephone 02890 793822