*****UPDATED FORMAL ADVICE TO ALL CONGREGATIONS WITHIN THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN IRELAND from our Moderator William Henry and General Assembly clerk Trevor Gribben.*****
- Until further notice, all congregational organisations and activities should cease until further notice.
- Until further notice, all Sunday gatherings for worship should also cease until further notice.
- Until further notice, steps should be taken to ensure that numbers attending funeral services and weddings are kept as low as possible
- At this stage, it is not possible to ascertain a realistic end date for the above restrictions, hence the phrase ‘until further notice’. However, be assured that this formal advice will be withdrawn as soon as government guidance permits.
You may have already heard these developments in the local news. Whilst it is desperately disappointing for us to be unable to meet together for worship each Sunday, we absolutely understand the need for these measures.
During the coming days, the Kirk Session and I will be exploring creative ways to continue ministry for our whole church family within our congregation, making use of technology and other means. Please keep an eye on our website and our facebook page for updates. We have recently had to change our facebook page and so if you are not currently following this new page, can I ask you to do so by liking our new page and to encourage others to do the same, so that you do not miss out on any news or updates from within the congregation.
We understand that many of our older members may not use social media or have access to the internet. Be assured that we are endeavouring to find ways to reach out and to pastor to them. In the meantime, can I encourage you to pass on the news of these developments to anyone without access to social media.
You don’t need me to tell you that these are unprecedented and unusual days. It would actually be interesting to know how many times our church service has had to be cancelled in this way during the long history of our congregation. This is undoubtedly a time of unease and anxiety but scripture reminds us time and time again that God is not absent during the hard, challenging or even sorrow filled days. Isaiah 41 vs 10 is one of those scriptures. God’s people then were facing difficult days, there was much to distress and worry them them but God reached out and made a promise to them:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God fulfilled this promise to his people in that day in many different ways and He is that same God today. There may be things all around us that can cause us to dismay but God’s Word encourages us to depend upon HIS strength and His help because He WILL uphold us.