Dear Friends,

I have sometimes spoken in church and on the Rector’s blog about an app on my phone called Lectio 365. It’s a devotional resource that has someone read some scripture to you every day and reflect on its significance and pray through it with you. It takes about 10 minutes and I do it most days in partnership with some other resources I like to use.

Over the next 3 weeks the Lectio 365 app is taking the listener on a journey, a pilgrimage following in the footsteps of a great Celtic saint called Saint Aidan. He left from the island of Iona in 635AD to travel over 300 miles on foot to the Holy island of Lindisfarne to establish a monastery there.
It was a daunting journey and a daunting mission but he felt compelled by God to set about this task. Many of these early Celtic saints including our own Saint Finnian and Saint Columba set off on these journeys into the unknown. They sought to engage ordinary people in conversation and preach and teach about the love of God. They often created illustrated manuscripts of the scriptures to try to help people who were maybe not literate to understand what was in there. They established monasteries and centres of learning and created communities of prayer where people could meet together and cry out to God and ask Him to breathe new spiritual life into the people and the areas they were going into as they travelled.

I’m never great at going into the unknown. It always feels quite scary and unpredictable. I appreciate the familiarity of the rhythms of the church’s year. We go through various seasons like Advent and Lent that are penitential and full of waiting. There are other seasons that are filled with joy and celebration like Christmas and Easter and Pentecost. There are also seasons like Trinity and the large amount of Sundays after that try to help us to grow in and deepen our faith.

We’re about to enter into a season of uncertainty over these next few months. We are awaiting the conclusion of the tendering process and expect our works to begin around the church and grounds to make our building more accessible at the end of June. This means that the church building and the hall will not be available to use for a number of months.

The hall will be available for our Sunday services and we hope to continue those, but we are unlikely to be able to access the hall or the church for the duration of the work, apart from Sunday services in the hall. While we believe this work is vitally important, we recognise that it will be difficult and inconvenient over the next few months. We are making contingency plans with neighbouring parishes for events like funerals and weddings in this period.

While we hope that, as work is completed, we will gain increased access as time goes on, we need to comply with the building regulations to ensure everyone is safe and stays off site apart from the designated times like Sunday services. We hope that might allow a window also to visit special and very significant places like the Garden of Remembrance on Sundays too.

I know people will have lots of questions but I can only set out the information and the facts as I have them.
As things stand we expect the work to begin on Monday 26th June and from then on access to the site will be restricted to Sundays and then to the
church hall where our services will take place. We will keep people updated as we can on the parish website.

During the summer months we are hoping to team up with our friends and neighbours at The Church’s Ministry of Healing. They operate out of 162, Upper Knockbreda Road under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Pat Mollan who spoke recently at our week of mission and outreach. They have kindly invited us to come to their communion service which meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 10am. The dates for these services are 4th and 18th July and 1st and 15th August. If you would like to come to that short devotional service please be assured of a warm welcome over these summer months.

The Church’s Ministry of Healing also hosts a craft club on Mondays from 10am-12noon and if people are keen to meet others who share that interest, please feel free to come and join them. The number to call is 02890795832. It’s very kind of The Church’s Ministry of Healing to offer hospitality and to share their building and resources with us in this way.

Perhaps as we journey into the uncertainty of these coming months it’s good to anchor ourselves in the steadiness and faithfulness of God and the Christian community.

If you have the opportunity to take a holiday in the coming months I hope it brings rest and refreshment. Please don’t forget to encourage your local church wherever you are with your presence. They would be delighted to see and welcome you.

With very best wishes,

Jonathan Pierce (Rector)

Telephone 02890 793822