Monday, June 29, 2009

Praying for those who are ill.

In St. Columbas we have a number of parishioners committed to praying for the sick in the parish.

Below are some prayers which might help structure prayer for those who are praying for friends / family who are sick at home / hospitals

Prayers for the sick

Jesus our Healer,

We place into your gentle hands those who are sick especially ….

Ease their pain, and heal the damage done to them in body, mind or spirit.

Be present to them through the support of friends and in the care of doctors and nurses, and fill them with the warmth of your love now and always. Amen (Source: Book of a thousand Prayers )

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the same, yesterday, today and forever, and you have promised to be with us all our days. We pray for all elderly people, especially those who are ill or house-bound. In their weakness may they find your strength and in their loneliness know the Joy of your presence. Be to them a sure and certain hope. – MU Prayer book

Lord, you are the centre of life. In you lie stillness and peace. Help us be aware of you each day, that in all our stress and distress, we may find stillness and peace. Amen

Lord God, I hold before you this day all those who are in need: the sick, the afflicted, the lonely and the sad, especially …… May they experience your presence, and so find strength and grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

You are a loving, forgiving, healing God. May we know you in love, experience your forgiveness and be made whole from your healing. Amen (Source: Canon Jim Nelson, Hands Up, Church of Ireland At prayer, p 8)

Almighty God and loving father, I hold up to thee, those for whom I am specially concerned, knowing that thy will for them is the best and most loving thing imaginable, realizing that thou knowest their necessities far better than I do. But I ask thee to keep each one free from pain, free from fear, that he or she may relax in thy love, and if it be thy gracious will, lay thy healing hand upon them. I pray especially for …

This I ask, through him who went about healing all manner of sickness among the people, and who heals us still, thy beloved son, our Saviour Jesus Christ our Lord – Amen

(Source: A parishioner of Dundrum Parish, Dublin, Hands Up, Church of Ireland At prayer, P8)

Prayers for those who care for the sick

Living God, source of Light and life, we come to you as broken members of your body;

Your strength is our strength, your health is our health, and your being is our being.

Grant your wisdom in our work,

Your love in our pain

And your peace in our hearts.

Send your blessing on all those who care for the sick, the lonely and those who mourn.

O God, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially, we pray for the good estate of the Catholic Church; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; [* especially those for whom our prayers are desired]; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen. (Source: BCP 2004, p99)

Some Bible verses which speak of prayer

John 16:23-24

Jesus said “I tell you the truth, my father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete".

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer, while they are still speaking I will hear” says the Lord.

Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

From the Book of Common Prayer 2004

- Intercessions from the celebration of Healing and wholeness. p 459.

- Daily prayer structures p139 -144.

Other ideas for prayer

  • Pray for wisdom for the Rector and the Curate as they minister into situations of illness and bereavement.
  • For the families & circle of friends of the individuals on the prayer list.
  • For the nurses, doctors, social workers and other professionals as they seek to care for the situation.
  • Pray that the peace of God would be sustain the individual and that they would find God ministering to them in the circumstances they currently find themselves in at this time.
  • Read the healing of the paralytic (Luke 5:17-26) and reflect on people bringing the man into the presence of God.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Northern Ireland hits the global headlines

How Depressing!

European Nationals being forced out of homes by thugs across Belfast. These stories have hit headlines around the world.

As Christians we are called to love our neighbour. Something needs to be done.

Some headlines

Police defend Romanian response

BBC News - ‎29 minutes ago‎
Police have defended their response to a spate of attacks on Romanians living in Belfast. In the latest incident, the bathroom window of a Romanian family's home, on the Upper Newtownards Road, was smashed at about 2300 BST on Wednesday. ...

Belfast Romanians moved to secret location after more attacks - ‎38 minutes ago‎
Romanians leave a Belfast leisure centre to spend the night at an undisclosed location. Photograph: Cathal Mcnaughton/Reuters Racist attacks against Romanians in Northern Ireland have shifted from south to east Belfast, after the bathroom of a Romanian ...

Romanians flee 'racist' N. Ireland attacks

CNN International - ‎17 hours ago‎
LONDON, England (CNN) -- More than 100 Romanians fled their homes Tuesday night in Belfast, Northern Ireland, following what politicians called "racist attacks and intimidation." A Romanian woman and her child are escorted by police in Belfast on ...

Romanians hit by racist attacks in Northern Ireland 'want to go home'

Times Online - ‎17 hours ago‎
More than 100 Romanians were moved to emergency accommodation in Belfast last night after a racist gang attacked homes in the university area of the city. One of the attackers was said to be brandishing a gun. The immigrants had to be moved after a ...

Racist attacks force over 100 Romanians to take shelter in church

Times Online - ‎18 hours ago‎
More than 100 Romanians were sheltering in a church hall today after fleeing their homes in Belfast because of racist attacks. Around 20 families were helped by police to evacuate their homes in the Lisburn Road area of south Belfast and seek safety ...

further racist attack against Romanians in Belfast - ‎2 hours ago‎
A group of Romanians has again been attacked in Northern Ireland as politicians are due to meet to discuss racist offences against immigrants. In the latest incident, the home of a Romanian family came under attack in east Belfast at about 11pm on ...

Romanian Gypsies attacked in NIreland

The Associated Press - ‎15 hours ago‎
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — The thugs used bricks and bottles to drive more than 100 Romanian Gypsies from their homes in a wave of attacks. On Wednesday, the victims were sheltering in a community center after a church plucked them off a Belfast ...

Racist attacks in Belfast send Roma fleeing homes

The Associated Press - ‎18 hours ago‎
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Racist thugs armed with bricks and bottles forced more than 100 Romanian Gypsies from their Belfast homes in a wave of attacks that sent them fleeing to the safety of a nearby church. Community leaders in Belfast on ...

Romanians driven from home in Northern Ireland

ABC Online - ‎9 hours ago‎
More than 100 Romanian immigrants have been driven from their homes in Northern Ireland by what police have labelled racist attacks and intimidation. Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has called it a shameful episode for ...

Community condemns 'racist thugs'

BBC News - ‎20 hours ago‎
Politicians and community leaders have been reacting to the racist attacks in Belfast which led Romanian families to flee their homes. I hope the authorities are able to take all the action necessary to protect them. We need a collective effort to face ...

Racist attacks 'not orchestrated'

BBC News - ‎Jun 16, 2009‎
There is no evidence to suggest a series of attacks on Romanian families in south Belfast was orchestrated, police have said. PSNI Chief Inspector Robert Murdie was speaking after youths attacked an anti-racist demonstration on Monday. ...

Racist gang attack family's home

BBC News - ‎Jun 15, 2009‎
A Romanian family has been targeted in a series of racist attacks in south Belfast. A gang smashed windows and terrorised pregnant women and children in attacks on two houses on Belgravia and Wellesley avenues. Police have said they are investigating ...

Racist attacks drive Roma out of their Belfast homes

Financial Times - ‎38 minutes ago‎
By John Murray Brown in Dublin Romanian gypsy families in Northern Ireland have been forced to leave their homes after racist attacks that are being blamed on rightwing elements of the pro-British loyalist community. About 100 people, who local ...

PM condemns Romanian hate attacks

BBC News - ‎Jun 16, 2009‎
More than 100 Romanian people who fled their homes in south Belfast have been moved to a leisure centre. The group of about 20 families spent Tuesday night in a church hall after a spate of racist attacks on their homes. Police have said they do not ...

Fear of an uncertain future for Romanian immigrants

Belfast Telegraph - ‎9 hours ago‎
Yesterday, on what was a surreal day, the 115 Romanians forced from their homes in south Belfast by racists first sought sanctuary in a church hall, then a leisure centre, before finally being taken by bus to a refuge in the Queen's University area. ...

Belfast Romanians rehoused after race attacks - ‎14 hours ago‎
Romanian people arrive at a Belfast city leisure centre, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP Romanian families forced to flee their homes in Belfast because of racist attacks have been temporarily rehoused, but many said they wanted to ...

Shameful scenes as Romanians flee homes

Belfast Telegraph - ‎9 hours ago‎
By Lesley-Anne Henry and Lisa Smyth More than 100 Romanian immigrants who fled their south Belfast homes have been moved to temporary accommodation following a violent hate campaign which has shamed Northern Ireland. Shortly before 6pm last night, ...

Romanian immigrants were left in trauma

Belfast Telegraph - ‎9 hours ago‎
But now dozens of Romanian families who set up home in Belfast are desperate to flee those new lives. At the City Church on University Avenue where they had spent the night sleeping in a hall, there were chaotic scenes as the 115 people packed up their ...

Romanians get sanctuary in Belfast church

United Press International - ‎Jun 16, 2009‎
BELFAST, Northern Ireland, June 16 (UPI) -- A group of Romanian families received shelter in a Belfast church Tuesday after a series of attacks and said they want to leave Northern Ireland. The families, more than 100 people, first tried turning one ...

Romanian families find sanctuary from Belfast race hate – for now

Scotsman - ‎9 hours ago‎
By Stephen mcginty THEY were stoned, menaced by gunmen and faced the threat of a child's throat being cut. The Romanians of Belfast – forced to flee their homes in the wake of racist attacks that shocked Britain – were temporarily rehoused by the ...

Belfast racists force Romanians to hide in church

AFP - ‎19 hours ago‎
BELFAST (AFP) — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday condemned a wave of racist attacks in Northern Ireland which forced more than 100 Romanians to flee their homes and shelter in a church hall. The families, including one with a ...

NIreland church harbors victims of racist attacks

The Associated Press - ‎Jun 17, 2009‎
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — More than a 100 Romanian immigrants were taking refuge Wednesday after fleeing their Belfast homes and spending the night in a church following racist attacks. Northern Ireland police helped around 20 families leave ...

Romanians want to "go home" after racist attacks (News Feature)

Monsters and - ‎16 hours ago‎
By Anna Tomforde Jun 17, 2009, 15:45 GMT London - 'I don't feel safe here any more. I just want to go home now,' said Maria, a young Romanian mother, clutching her child in a blanket, outside Belfast City church where she had found sanctuary from ...

Racist Attacks on Romanian Gypsies in Belfast

Romani in UK - ‎1 hour ago‎
Newspapers in The United Kingdom and all over Europe have recently written about the terrified people who fled their homes in Belfast and been

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The next stage of the service... Congregation participation

once we have promised By the help of God to do those things which are stipulated in the service The bishop then presents us ..."The candidates" to the people gathered then asks

Is it therefore your will that they should be ordained?

Will you uphold them in this ministry?

This is a crucial part of the service of ordination ... as we recognise the church as the whole body of Christ. As ordinands, soon to be deacons we cannot do ministry by ourselves it without the upholding of those around us. It has to be the prayer of all of us to pray for each other. When we look at the epistles Paul is continually thanking God for those who were supporting him in his ministry.

The Bishop then goes on to say

"Because none of us can bear the weight of this ministry in our own strength, but only by the grace and power of God, let us pray earnestly for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on these persons. Let us pray also that God will each day enlarge and enlighten their understanding of the Scriptures, so that they may grow stronger and more mature in their ministry, as they fashion their lives and the lives of the people they serve on the word of God."

As the old saying goes ... "never was a truer word spoken"

By ourselves, its all just good intentions, in my own strength ... mmm... nah.

It has to be by the power of the Holy Spirit, right from day one, whatever I do, whatever I say needs to be guided by God's word ... to be perfectly honest without it ... I mightest well pack bags and go home. Does that mean I'll always get it right? no way hozay. But it does mean I will try, I will learn. It is recognised in the ordination service that we do not know it all - it is a growing thing. Experiences, conversations, encounters with people, sunday mornings ... All contribute to growing stronger and more mature in ministry.

As we come to this section in the service .... Let's pray for the church, pray for the deacons that we would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the things for which we are commissioned. This has to be the work of the whole church.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Bit more on the ordination promises

Below is a continuation on my wee series of blog entries on the run up to ordination on Sunday 21st June. I realise that there are people who are not sure what happens at a church of Ireland ordination so I thought as I think about these things I would put them up for all to read.

The bishop asks those to be ordained

Do you believe and accept the holy Scriptures as revealing all things necessary
for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?
Answer I do.

Do you believe and accept the doctrine of the Christian faith as the
Church of Ireland has received it?
Answer I do.

In your ministry will you expound the Scriptures and teach that doctrine?
Answer By the help of God, I will.

Will you accept the discipline of this Church and give due respect to
those set over you in the Lord?
Answer By the help of God, I will
Will you be diligent in prayer, in reading holy Scripture, and in all studies
that will deepen your faith and fit you to uphold the truth of the Gospel?
Answer By the help of God, I will.

Will you strive to fashion your own life and your family relationships
according to the way of Christ?
Answer By the help of God, I will.

Will you be faithful in visiting the sick, in caring for the poor and needy,
and in helping the oppressed?
Answer By the help of God, I will.

Will you promote unity, peace, and love among all Christian people, and
especially among those whom you serve?
Answer By the help of God, I will.

Will you then, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, continually stir up the
gift of God that is in you, to make Christ known to all people?
Answer By the help of God, I will.

These questions and answers form the basis of the commitment which deacons make, which also are the basic issues for all Christian ministry to which all Christians are called to.

I suppose at the minute for me the challenge is how do I/we who are being ordained hold these things together with the other influences which come from societial norms - TV, Internet, Political Correctness advocates. How are we to be ambassadors for Christ in a culture which too quickly underminds and forgets the things of the Gospel.

The putting into place of daily prayer times, times of study the Bible and reading books, times of building relationships, pastoral visiting all have to be important as we begin this new phase of life. Alongside this is the times of meetings, of admin, of emails, telephone calls, of diaries and of filing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ordination in Killyshandra

Last night,

Mum & Dad and I headed in the car from Belfast down the M1 through lots of wee towns and Villages to Cavan and then to Kilmore Cathedral. It was for Ali's Ordination. Sitting in the Cathedral of Kilmore one got a sense the vows we are going to be taking in just over a weeks time. A couple of the worship songs and readings last night really struck me as so appropriate to what ordination is all about

Take for example the solo which Simon sang

This is going to take my every breath
But i know it’s true:
there’s nothing to fear
In what You’ve called me to

To live a life that honors You
Humble, obedient and true
Holy in all I say and do
This is what You’ve called me to

To faithfully follow in Your ways
Living this life with eyes of faith
In every moment bringing praise
This is what You’ve called me to

You are with me, in each step that I take
You are close, You never let me go
I have seen it’s true, there’s nothing to fear
In what You’ve called me to

You will be my strength
As I live this life all for Your glory
You will be everything I need

Eoghan Heaslip & Neil Bennetts Copyright
© 2008 Thankyou Music/Trinity Publishing/

May God Bless Ali (Killyshandra) & Ruth W (Waterford) as they begin their ministry in the south. Prayers with them at this time.


Ordination Season

In writting this blog, I am doing so in order simply to record what has happened in the last week - I have said my farewell's in Seapatrick Parish
- Took a trip down with some others to waterford for Ruth's Ordindation
- Headed up to Coleraine for a trainning event
- Back down to Kilmore for Alison's Ordination.

These Ordinations are getting a bit close to home now. I think something which might be of use on the blog is to explain a little about the ordination service as we have it in the Book of Common Prayer and about the vows I will be taking sunday week.

Over the next couple of days I hope to be able to look at the Declarations & The ordination prayer which basically boil down to the outline of the job description of a Deacon in the church of God.

The service is similar in structure to the other services in the prayer book
  • The gathering of God's People
  • Proclaiming and Recieving the Word
  • - The Rite of Ordination
  • Celebrating at the Lord's Table
  • Going out as God's People

The role of the deacon is outlined by the bishop

"Deacons in the Church of God serve in the name of Christ, and so remind the whole chruch that serving others is at the heart of all ministry".

Special responsiblity

  • Those who are in need are cared for with compassion and humility
  • Strengthen the faithful
  • search out the careless and indifferent
  • Minister to the sick, the needy, the poor and those in trouble

When called upon deacons may

  • Baptize
  • preach
  • Give instruction in the faith

Deacons assist the bishop and priest under whom they serve

When people are gathered for worship

  • Deacons are authorized to read the Gospel
  • Lead the people in intercession
  • Distribute the bread and wine of Holy Communion

So that's the basic job description of a deacon ... quite a lot to keep me busy then in the years which lie ahead. More on ordination in the next while!