Issue 130 “UNION NEWS” January 2021

 

Dear Parishioners,

New Year 2021

The new year has commenced in a challenging way.  The rapid spread of the virus with its’ challenging consequences has certainly had an impact on almost every aspect of our lives.  The pressure on the health services is now very intense and we remember with gratitude all the health workers who are providing such an invaluable service in very demanding circumstances.  We all have a responsibility to follow the Public Health guidelines as they have been presented and hopefully our compliance, with others, will bring about an easing of the pressure on the health services.  The hope the vaccine brings is something we should all welcome and, in time, the benefit of the vaccination will be felt.  However, for now, there is no certainty as to when this will be and, as a result, Parish activity will be restricted to online activity and contact by telephone and email. The abiding promise that God’s light and hope is never overtaken by the darkness that may surround us  should always give us confidence and trust in His love for us.

 

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This month each year is when the churches gather for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  The physical gatherings will not be held this year but I do hope that we will have an opportunity through our prayer to pray that Christ’s wish that we should all be one will be evidenced through the life and witness of the Christian churches.  The Week of Prayer begins on 18th January and continues until 25th January when we remember the Conversion of St. Paul.  In the Mullingar area we are very blessed with the close relationship there is between all the churches in Christian Voices Together.  As the year progresses, we hope it will be possible, if circumstances allow, for us to give expression to this cooperation and friendship by the holding of a special occasion to celebrate our unity which we find through our faith in Christ.

 

Sunday Moments

For the last number of weeks, I have broadcasted a short devotional Service online each Sunday.  I will continue to do this during the current restrictions and I would warmly welcome you to look in each Sunday, on either the website or on Facebook.

 

Zoom Meeting

During the pandemic a number of events have been held on Zoom and have been very successful.  I, myself, have participated in many of these and it has been a way to keep in contact with people and also ensure that different activities continue.  In the light of this, I thought I would organise a weekly Zoom meeting that would provide an opportunity for Biblical reflection, prayer and shared conversation.  If anyone would like to join me at the Zoom meeting, I would be delighted to hear from you.  Anyone who is interested should send me an email and I will arrange to send an invitation for

the first meeting which I hope it will be possible to organise in the next couple of weeks.  Please Email  info@mullingarunionofparishes.net

 All Saints’ National School

As you know, all schools are closed at the moment but during their closure children and their families are being invited to participate in online classes with their respective teachers.  The Principal and teachers in All Saints’ School began this process last Monday, 11th January.  The response from both children and parents has been very encouraging and I would like to thank the Principal and the teachers and staff for all the good work they have done in making the preparations and in providing the classes.

Enrolment for All Saints’ National School

All Saints’ is accepting applications for enrolment for school year 2021-2022 from 22nd January to the 5th February. Please contact the school for an enrolment pack at allsaintsns@gmail.com We look forward to hearing from you.

 

A Special Thank You

I would like to say a special “thank you” to all the parishioners for their generous support in recent months, which has been very much appreciated indeed.  I would also like to thank our church wardens, Arthur O’Toole, William Kilbey, Arie Gorrisen, Richard Tansley, David Miller, Violet Medforth, Annie O’Leary and Billy Small, for the meticulous way they have managed the Covid19 precautions in the churches.  In addition, I would like to pay a special tribute to our Honorary Treasurer, John Hales, for his very fine work at this trying time for all parishes, and also to our Honorary Secretary, Richard Williamson, for his support.  We have also been blessed by the work of our glebe wardens, Mark Potterton and Christopher Manzira, and I thank them for all the work they do in the Parish.

 

A Prayer for Reflection

Wilfrid Owens, who was one of the leading poets and also a soldier in the First World War, repeated a phrase in his poetry, “nothing happens”.  The repetition of this phrase was intended by him to focus on the misery felt in the war by the soldiers waiting overnight in the trenches.   Although nothing was happening and there was no fighting there was still a danger and his words resonated with that feeling.  As I thought on these words I felt there was a pertinence for many of us in the pandemic.  There is a sense of uneasy anticipation that we could succumb to the virus and face the challenge in coping with its’ consequences.  I would like to feel that this would inspire us to redouble our commitment to abide by the guidelines we have been given and also to know that, as Christians, we have the assurance of knowing that God is with us and that devoting some time each day in our daily living to prayer can be both comforting and strengthening.  In these moments of prayer we are speaking to One who is near and not far off, whose love is all around us and who knows our every need.  Amen.  I pray that God will keep you safe and well and we all look forward to an end of the pandemic. No one needs to feel they are left to cope on their own. Support is just a phone call away

 

I would again like to sincerely invite anyone in need of any support to please not hesitate to contact me.  I will be delighted to support you in whatever way I can. Telephone – 0877870985.

 

With God’s blessings,

 

Revd. Alastair Graham 087-7870985

 

 

 

Message from our Treasurer

 

Firstly I would like to wish you all a very Happy and Safe New Year.  In these trying times I want to thank you for your continued support to the Mullingar Union of Parishes.  The Gift Day Appeal has been well supported in a time when there are so many other calls on people’s finances. The Raffle was a great success and congratulations to all the winners!  A big thank you to Jean Kilmartin in organising the Raffle and all those who generously donated prizes for the raffle, sold and bought tickets.

 

Your ongoing support for 2021 will be gratefully appreciated.  There are many ways one can support the Parish financially. 

  • Set up a Standing Order to the Parish Bank Account (details on website on donations page and detailed below).
  • By Participating in our envelope scheme, which can be collected from our Church Wardens. 
  • On our parish website you can transfer to the Parish through our secure paypal portal. 
  • Or a donation by post. 

 

If a person gives over €250 in a tax year the parish could benefit with a tax rebate from Revenue.  The amount of the rebate depends on the tax band a person is on.

Any questions please give me a call

 

The Parish Bank details are listed below if you want to transfer direct to the Parish Account:

 

Account              Mullingar Union of Parishes:

IBAN                  IE74 BOFI 9018 5315 7250 71

BIC                     BOFIIE2D

 

If you would like to discuss anything to do with the Parish’s finances with me, I would be more than pleased to assist you.

 

Kind regards,

John W. Hales

Honorary Treasurer

 

I have been requested to reprint this poem:

 

The Great Realisation by Tomas Roberts

It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty,

back before we understood why hindsight is 20/20.

You see the people came up with Companies to trade across all lands

but they swelled and got much bigger than ever we had planned.

We had always had our wants but now things go so quick,

we could have everything we dreamed of, today, or with a click.

We noticed families had stopped talking, that didn’t mean they never spoke,

but the meaning must have melted and the work/life balance broke.

The children’s eyes grew squarer and every toddler had a phone,

they filtered out the imperfections but amidst the noise they felt alone.

And every day the skies grew thicker till we couldn’t see the stars,

so we flew in planes to find them and down below we filled our cars.

We’d drive around all day in circles, we’d forgotten how to run,

we swapped the grass for tarmac, shrunk the parks till there were none.

We filled the sea with plastic because our waste was never capped,

until each day when we went fishing we pulled them out already wrapped.

And while we drank and smoked and gambled, our leaders taught us that it’s best not to upset the Lobbies, more convenient to die,

But then in 2020 a new virus came our way, the governments reacted and told us all to hide away.

But while we were hidden amidst the fear and all the while,

the people dusted off their instincts, they remembered how to smile,

They started clapping to say ‘thank you’ and calling up their mums,

and while the car keys gathered dust they would look forward to their runs,

And with the skies less full of voyagers the earth began to breathe,

and the beaches bore new wildlife that scuttled off in to the seas,

Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking,

we’d grown so used to bad news but some good news was in the making.

And so, when we found the cure and were allowed to go outside,

we all preferred the world we found to the one we left behind.

Old habits became extinct and they made up for the new,

and every act of kindness was now given its’ due.

But why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?

Well, sometimes you’ve got to get sick my boy before you start feeling better.

Now lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things that you can do

And who knows if you dream hard enough maybe some will come true.

We now call it The Great Realisation and since then there have been many,

but that’s the story of how it started and why hindsight is 20/20.

 

 

Issue 129 “UNION NEWS”December 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Christmas and the Re-Opening of Churches

After considerable representations to the government by church leaders, including the church leaders in Mullingar, the churches have been permitted to open again in time for Christmas.  We are all delighted with this decision.  In our representation I made the very strong case that, for parishioners, going to church was a very essential part of their Christmas.  I do hope that will be reflected in the numbers who attend our Services this year.  As you will see from the “Union Notes” there will be a full range of Christmas Services and all the Christmas music and carols will be played from recordings made by our Parish Choir.   However, under the restrictions it is only possible to have 50 parishioners at a Service, except where added space is available.  So it is essential that parishioners make contact beforehand to indicate which Services they wish to attend.  All the church Services will be held in All Saints’ Mullingar and St. Etchen’s Killucan.

If you wish to come to a church Service in All Saints’ please contact Arthur O’Toole at 087-9733233 (email armot3@outlook.com)  and if you wish to attend Killucan please contact Jean Kilmartin on 044-9375144.

 

Advent Reflections

In our preparations for Christmas, I will be giving an Advent Biblical Reflection on the following Wednesdays at 11.00 a.m. in All Saints’ – Wednesday 9th, 16th and 23rd December.

 

The church will be open for private prayer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m. in All Saints’.

Parish Gift Day

I would like to thank everyone very much indeed for their generous gifts to the Parish  this year.  As our Honorary Treasurer has reminded us in his letter, the Parish has been significantly challenged financially due to the Covid 19 pandemic and any gifts you are able to make will be very gratefully appreciated.

Advent, Christmas and Epiphany – Church Services

Sunday 6th Dec.   All Saints’            10.00 a.m.            Advent Holy Communion

Killucan               11.30 a.m.            Advent Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 13th Dec. All Saints’           9.00 a.m.              Advent Holy Communion

11.00 a.m.            Christingle Family Service

Killucan               5.00 p.m.              Christingle Family Service

 

Sunday 20th Dec. All Saints’           10.00 a.m.            Advent Holy Communion

Killucan               11.30 a.m.            Parish Carol Service

All Saints’           7.00 p.m.              Candlelit Carol Service

 

Christmas Eve

24th December     All Saints’           10.00 a.m.            Holy Communion

11.00 p.m.            Midnight Candlelit Christmas

Service

Christmas Day

25th December     All Saints’           9.00 a.m.              Holy Communion

10.30 a.m.            Christmas Family Service

Killucan               12.00 noon           Christmas Festival Holy

Communion

St. Stephen’s Day

26th Dec.               All Saints’           10.00 a.m.            Holy Communion

 

Sunday 27th Dec. All Saints’           10.00 a.m.            Holy Communion

 

Holy Innocents Day

Monday 28th        All Saints             10.00 a.m.            Holy Communion

 

New Year’s Day

Friday 1st Jan.      All Saints             11.00 a.m.            Holy Communion

 

Sunday 3rd Jan.    All Saints             11.00 a.m.            Epiphany Carol Service

 

We are providing a wide range of church Service options to enable everyone to attend church over the Christmas and New Year period.

 

 

Christmas Raffle

The Raffle will be drawn on Tuesday 15th December and in the Union Notes you will see the wide range of prizes which have been donated.  I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and Jean Kilmartin for all her organisation and hard work. I am sure there will be many more cards to be returned by parishioners.  Please return the cards to Jean Kilmartin or leave them in the Rectory postbox or give them to one of the churchwardens by Saturday 12th December at the latest.  Sincere thanks is due to those who have already returned the cards.  Please support our Christmas Raffle if you have not already done so.

 

Congratulations

At the recent Diocesan Synod, Mark Potterton was elected Lay Honorary Secretary of the Diocese of Meath and Kildare.  This is a wonderful recognition of Mark’s amazing commitment to the Church of Ireland which, in this Parish we benefit so richly from,  and has now been recognised throughout the Diocese.  We wish Mark well with his new and important responsibilities.

 

 

Remembrance Tree – Killucan

Sue and Brendan have again presented Killucan Parish with a lovely Remembrance Tree.  This thoughtful gift provides the opportunity for parishioners to hang a card on the tree with the names of those they wish to be remembered at Christmas.  At the Christmas Day Service the names on the cards will all be read out.  I would again like to thank Sue and Brendan for this sensitive and most thoughtful initiative which we greatly appreciate.

 

 

Confirmation

Due to the Corona virus, the Confirmation this year had to be postponed.  However, the Bishop has now confirmed that the Confirmation for next year will be held in All Saints’ on Sunday 24th October and I hope to start meeting with all the candidates in early February next year.  For those who are considering Confirmation, I would like to remind them and their parents that Confirmation is a very important time in their Christian lives and, in their preparation, I would expect the young people to attend church on Sunday mornings, as of course all Christians are urged to keep the Lord’s Day holy.   I would invite those who would like to be confirmed to let me know their intention before the end of January.

 

 

Bereavement

I know you will all want to offer your deepest sympathy to our much loved parishioner Mavis Murray following the sad death of Mavis’s sister Elizabeth in New Zealand.  Elizabeth had not been well in recent years but managed to make a trip to Ireland last year when Mavis and all the family were able to enjoy her company during her visit.  We all hope that Mavis will be comforted by her lovely memories of Elizabeth and in knowing that God’s promises are true and that Elizabeth, who bore her illness with such courage and dignity, will rest in peace and rise in glory.

 

 

All Saints’ School

I would like to both thank and congratulate the Principal, teachers and staff of All Saints’ School who have worked so hard to ensure that this term has gone exceptionally well and the children have benefited so much from being able to attend school each day.  I would also like to thank all the parents for their support and co-operation with all the restrictions that have been necessary due to the pandemic.  We hope that the teachers, staff, children and parents will have a very enjoyable and blessed Christmas.

Christmas Greetings

Olive and I would like to wish everyone in the Parish a very holy and blessed Christmas.  This time last year none of us could have imagined the challenge we were all going to face due to the onset of the Corona virus last March.  However, we have all coped with the challenge that the pandemic presented and I think everyone is to be warmly congratulated on the changes they made to their lifestyles to comply with the restrictions.  We would personally like to thank everyone in the Parish for their support and encouragement and good work.

 

We also remember those who have found life financially difficult due to the pandemic and we sincerely hope that in the coming year their fortunes in this regard will improve.  We should also recognise the real difficulties the pandemic has caused for young people at all levels and the sacrifices that they have had to make, which run so much against the grain of their life as teenagers and young adults.  Not only have young people been brave, but they have shown a lovely spirit of acceptance, even though they have been deprived in so many ways by being denied the fullness of their social life either through sports, music activities, college life and, of course, having the opportunity to meet with all their friends.

 

In the Parish, for those who have succumbed to the virus, we continue to remember you in prayer.  We also sadly remember those who passed away during the last year who we miss so much.  We think of their families who, in suffering their bereavement, will naturally feel a sense of sadness this Christmas.  During the pandemic a great many people stepped up to the plate to provide necessary services, through the health services, community and voluntary services and business to help those in need.  All those who were involved in this good work deserve our warm applause and sincere thanks.

 

At Christmas we remember that “God is with us” and we “do not need to be afraid”.  Certainly God’s loving presence has been both a comfort and strength to so many of us during these trying months and having hope in Him gives us confidence for the future.  As we approach the New Year we hope the pandemic will pass, but as life returns to normal I sincerely hope that the realisations we have all gained from living through the pandemic will encourage each of us to focus on the true priorities in life.    May we all seek to shape our lives and the life of the world in the way that God always intended.

 

Do enjoy your Christmas and keep safe and well.  May God continue to bless you and those whom you love and may I again wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas and New Year.

 

Revd. Canon Alastair Graham

 

 

Jesus is the reason for the season

Issue 128 “UNION NEWS” November 2020

Dear Parishioners,

The Providence of God

While we have benefited from the expertise and experience of the medical profession and academic scientists during the pandemic, Christians also draw strength and comfort from the providence of God.  We firmly believe that God, rather than being absent from His world, intervenes in His existence and offers care and protection, and provides the confidence for all of us to know there is a power beyond human experience that we can all trust and have hope in.  Prayer, therefore, is a wonderful blessing as it enables us to share a loving relationship with God.  The reading of the Bible provides us with much strength, wisdom and consolation.

Prayer in Church

The churches will remain open this month to enable parishioners to find time for prayer and reflection and to experience the comfort of God’s presence and the hope of His gospel.  All Saints’, Killucan and Kilbixy are open each Sunday:

All Saints’        between            10.00 a.m.-12.00 p.m.,

Killucan           between            11.30 a.m. -12.15 p.m.

Kilbixy             between            4.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.

It is lovely to see parishioners gathering to pray every Sunday and, while we are not permitted to hold a Service, the playing of sacred music provides an inspiring backdrop to our private prayer.  In addition to the Sunday opening of the churches, All Saints’ is also open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week and the opening times can be found in these Union Notes.

Remembrance Sunday – Sunday 8th November

Remembrance Sunday is always an important time in the Parish and we hold the annual Service of Remembrance in All Saints’ which is always so well attended.  This year, due to the restrictions, we will not be permitted to hold a Service.  However, at 11.00 a.m. in All Saints’ those who are in church for prayer will be invited to stand for the two minute Silence and for the laying of a wreath.  In Killucan, at 12.00 noon, the two minute Silence will be observed, and in Kilbixy in the afternoon the two minute Silence will be observed at 4.30 p.m.  I warmly commend each of these occasions to you.

Parish Gift Day – Sunday 29th November

For the last number of years we have held the Parish Gift Day on Advent Sunday.  This year we will continue to offer prayers for the Parish on Sunday 29th November and the Honorary Treasurer, John Hales, will be writing to all parishioners before Parish Gift Day Sunday.  This has been a very challenging year financially for the Parish and many parishioners have been very generous in their support which is greatly appreciated.  I am very conscious of the financial pressures placed on many parishioners due to the pandemic, but if parishioners are in a position to support the Parish their gifts will be warmly welcomed as, throughout the pandemic, we have done our very best to keep the churches open and a momentum in the Parish.

November Prayer Promise

Christian Voices Together, which comprises the leaders of the different Christian faith communities in Mullingar, has launched a November Prayer Promise.  During November the Christian leaders will pray daily for your prayer requests.  All you have to do is send an email to CVTPrayerPromise@gmail.com.  As Christian leaders we offer our sincere support to everyone at this challenging time, with the assurance of knowing that “the Lord is near to us”.

Harvest Thanksgivings

We were very fortunate to be able to hold our Harvest Thanksgivings in Killucan and Almoritia on Sunday 4th October.  Unfortunately, due to the introduction of the new restrictions, the Harvest Festival to be held in All Saints’ on 11th October had to be cancelled.   However, on Friday 16th October we were able to hold four short Harvest Services for the children in All Saints’ School which were very enjoyable.  This year as our Harvest gift to the community we were able to give a good quantity of non-perishable food items to the very worthy work at TEAM which provides shelter for those suffering from domestic violence.  I would like to thank everyone for their gifts.

Lighten Our Darkness

The young leaders held a Zoom meeting on Friday 30th October which went very well.  The young leaders are continuing to keep the work of their Project alive and have some very interesting plans for over the Christmas school holidays.  More details of their plans will be given in the December issue of the Union Notes.

Diocesan Synod

The Bishop and members of the Diocesan Council have decided to hold the Diocesan Synod by Zoom on Saturday 21st November.  This will be a very ambitious undertaking and we commend our Bishop for her commitment to ensure that this important Diocesan event is held despite the impact of the pandemic.

 

Christmas Raffle

Every year we run a raffle at the Mayfair and it has always been both enjoyable and well supported.  In the light of the absence of the Mayfair this year, the organisers thought it could be very worthwhile and very enjoyable to hold a Christmas Raffle.  Raffle cards are included with these Union Notes and if you require additional cards please contact Jean Kilmartin at 044-9375144.  We hope there will be a good response.  All the prizes have a lovely Christmas theme and, to those who are successful in the raffle, the prizes will certainly brighten Christmas this year.

 

Bereavements

The ashes of the late Frank Small were buried in the family plot in Almoritia on Sunday 1st November. We pray that Frank will rest in peace and rise in glory.  We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Mary, his children Mark and Vicky, his brother Billy, his sister Marie, his grandchildren and the wider family and circle of friends.

We also offer our deepest sympathy to Mignone and John Duggan following the sad passing of Mignone’s mother, Mignone,  in Cavan General Hospital.  Mignone’s mother had been unwell for some time but bore her illness with enormous courage and grace.  She was deeply loved and admired by her loving husband, Wilson, her eight children, her ten adoring grandchildren, her remaining siblings and all members of the family.  Mignone was a person of great faith, and we pray that, now she has departed this life, she will rest in peace in heaven in the care of her heavenly Father and will rise in glory.  We trust that Mignone, John, Jane, Graham and Erica will be comforted by their lovely memories of her and by knowing that God’s promises are true, that death is not an end but an entrance to eternal life.

We pray that both Frank and Mignone are resting in heavenly peace.

 

Church Opening Times for Prayer

Sundays           10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon            All Saints’ Mullingar

11.30 a.m.                                St. Etchen’s Killucan

4.00 p.m.                                  Kilbixy

Monday            10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon            All Saints’ Mullingar

Wednesday       12.00 noon – 2.00 p.m.              All Saints’ Mullingar

Friday               1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.                All Saints’ Mullingar

 

“Our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee”

St. Augustine

 

 

A Scripture Reading

You might like to read these words of Scripture I found helpful in my recent Bible reading: Ephesians 6, verses 10-18:

 

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And 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 Lord’s people.

 

 

A Prayer

Blessed Lord who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, help us to hear them to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that through patience and the comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life which you have given us in our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

October 2020 – News Update

Dear Parishioners,

Due to the recent Government restrictions the holding of Church Services has been postponed for the moment. The details of the Church Services in the October Union Notes will not now apply

However, God’s providence is still something that is very important to many people and a source of great strength, comfort and inspiration.  For centuries Christians have believed that God does intervene in the life of His people and provides loves, support and protection to those in need.  This is borne out through the prayers of so many people who truly value the opportunity of coming into the Lord’s Church and presence in times of need, to pray that His intervention and His love will make a difference, not only to individual lives but to the lives of the wider community and world.

God’s peace is a precious gift.  By coming to Him in prayer we can know His peace for our stress, anxiety and worry – a peace that passes all understanding.

While we will not be holding formal Church Services at the moment we are pleased to let you know that the churches will be open for private prayer on Sundays and during the week.  I warmly invite parishioners, their families and neighbours to avail of this.  Sitting in the sacredness of the churches in our Parish, listening to sacred music and offering our own prayers provides a very peaceful and comforting time.

During the restrictions I will conduct a short Service online every Sunday morning which I entitle “Sunday Moment’s in God’s Presence”.

The postage for this leaflet has been very kindly paid for.

I wish everyone well in our current circumstances and pray that you will remain safe and healthy.

Revd. Alastair Graham

 

Church Opening Times for Prayer  

Sundays           10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon            All Saints’ Mullingar

11.30 a.m.                                St. Etchen’s Killucan

4.00 p.m.                                  Kilbixy

Monday            10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon            All Saints’ Mullingar

Wednesday    12.00 noon – 2.00 p.m.              All Saints’ Mullingar

Friday               1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.                All Saints’ Mullingar

“Our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee”

St. Augustine

Lighten Our Darkness

The young leaders got a wonderful surprise recently when a handwritten letter arrived for them from Sir David Attenborough, on his personal writing paper.  In his letter to the young leaders Sir David said he was delighted to hear of their Initiative and warmly congratulated them, wishing them every encouragement and support with the very important work they are undertaking.

Sir David’s endorsement is also supported by Bishop Pat Storey who, along with Sir David, offers her congratulations and looks forward to seeing the presentation in All Saints’ on Sunday 7th March 2021

CHRISTMAS RAFFLE

 The Select Vestry hope to organise a big Christmas Raffle to help support the Parish finances due to the cancellation of the Annual Mayfair fundraiser which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Details of the Christmas Raffle will be given in the November Union Notes.  We hope parishioners will generously support the Raffle this year.

For your Daily Prayer

Prayers

Lord, we come to you in the assurance that you are present with us now, we do not have to seek your presence, we are daily living in your presence.  Make us aware of it, make it real to us and help us in these moments of prayer to know that we are speaking to one who is near and not far off, whose love is all around us and who knows our every need.  Amen.

Remember in mercy our Father those who are passing through illness and especially of whom we are now thinking in our prayers.  Bless all that is being done for their good and surround them with your healing love and power, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.   Amen.

We continue to thank God for the dedication and compassion shown by so many who in their work support and care for those who are suffering during the pandemic.

 MULLINGAR UNION OF PARISHES

 

‘The Lord is my shepherd.’

Psalm 23

Issue 127  “UNION NEWS” October 2020

MULLINGAR UNION OF PARISHES

Issue 127                    “UNION NEWS”                           October 2020

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

Keeping Focused

As we continue our journey through the pandemic it is so important that all of us keep our focus on just doing the “right things” in terms of our personal hygiene and contact with others.  There is no doubt that this pandemic will eventually come to an end but, as we journey towards the “finishing line”, we must not lose our concentration or our personal responsibility to do all that we can in supporting all the efforts to keep everyone safe and well.

For Christians, of course, there is an added dimension.  We know we are not alone on this journey and that God is with us.  We have the lovely story in St. John’s Gospel, Chapter 20, when Mary Magdalene, feeling at a very low point following the death of Jesus, was suddenly strengthened and encouraged when she met Jesus and went to the disciples with the news “I have seen the Lord”.  Through our prayer and worship we, too, experience the presence of the Lord which is a comfort, strength and consolation in these challenging times.  Christians are people of hope and it is so important that we remain hopeful as well as being responsible.

 

Harvest Festivals

At this time of year parishes hold Harvest Services to give thanks to God for, yet again, crowning the year with His goodness by giving us the fruits of the earth in their season.  This month there will be three Harvest Services, each held in the Open Air which, we hope, will be very well supported.  The services will be held as follows:

Sunday 4th October

11.30 a.m.    Killucan      Outside the Parish Hall on the Mullingar Road.

Sunday 4th October

3.30 p.m.     Almoritia     In the Church Grounds

Sunday 11th October

11.00 a.m.   All Saints’    At the rear of the church

The Service in All Saints’ will be conducted by the young people from the Lighten Our Darkness initiative.  Due to the pandemic the churches will not be decorated for Harvest this year but we invite people to bring gifts of fruit, flowers and vegetables with them to the Harvest Service, which they will be asked to take home afterwards.  At each of the Services we will have the opportunity to hear the familiar Harvest hymns.

 

Bible Study- 10.30 a.m. Saturday 17th October – All Saints’

Open for Prayer – All Saints’ Wednesdays 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th Oct – 12noon to 2p.m

Healing Service

Sunday 18th October is St. Luke’s Day.  As we know, St. Luke was a physician and, in celebrating St. Luke’s Day, we remember God’s gift of healing and the importance of the healing ministry in the Church.  There will be a special Healing Services in All Saints’ at 10.00 a.m.

 

Church Attendance

FOLLOWING LEVEL 3 GOVERMENT ADVISORY THERE WILL BE NO CHURCH SERVICES FROM MIDNIGHT 6th October for 3 weeks we will update as this progresses.

I warmly invite parishioners to come to church.  You will find that in the church you will feel completely safe, and the guidelines are adhered to.  I am pleased to say that this month we will start having monthly Services in both Almoritia and Kilbixy, in addition to the Services in All Saints’ and Killucan.

 

Ecumenical Prayer Initiative

I am currently in discussion with the leaders of the other Christian churches in the Mullingar area to discuss the holding of a special Christian Prayer Initiative.  I will announce further details when the arrangements are finalised.

 

Family Services

On Sunday 25th October, at Services in All Saints’ and Killucan, we will invite parents to bring children to church for a short Prayer Service.  This is experimental but, I hope, it may set a nice pattern to enable children to attend church.

 

All Saints’ Patronal Festival

This year All Saints’ Day falls on Sunday 1st November.  Each year we have a special celebration to mark the Patronal Festival.  This year the Service will be at 11.00 a.m. and will be conducted by the young people from the Lighten Our Darkness initiative.  Given the significance of their initiative the Service will be a United Service for all the churches in the Union, and I do hope that the Service will be well attended.  Further details will be provided in the November Union Notes.

 

Parish Website and Facebook – www.mullingarunionofparishes.net.

I warmly commend both the website and the Facebook to you.  You will not only find news of our Parish but also news of other Parishes and Dioceses that will be of interest to you.

 

General Easter Vestry

The General Easter Vestry Service on Sunday 20th September went very well and I would like to congratulate those who have been appointed and elected to Office in the Parish.  I would also like to again thank those who have given such service to the Parish, particularly during these last few months.  I hope we can look forward to the next year with confidence and hope.

Bereavement –We offer our deepest sympathy to Patrick and Caroline Pilkington. Patrick’s mother passed away peacefully following an illness she bore with courage and dignity. Patrick and his family provided a wonderful prayerful and loving presence for their mother which I know was a great comfort to her as was the close loving presence of Almighty God. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

 

Daily Reflection

Last month I included some comforting words and prayers which I hope you had the opportunity to use.  This month I am including on the back page, “The Great Realisation” by Tomas Roberts and I hope you will take some time to use the reflection as a time of discernment. I would again like to thank you for your support and I hope you will all keep safe and well.  As you know, I am always available if needed and I will look forward to hearing from you.

 

With God’s blessings,

Rev. Alastair Graham, Rector

087-7870985

 

 

CHURCH SERVICES THIS MONTH

           

Sunday 4th October

All Saints’        10.00 a.m.        Holy Communion (said), Rector

Killucan           11.30 a.m.        Harvest Thanksgiving Service

(Venue – Outside the Parish Hall)

Almoritia            3.30 p.m.        Harvest Thanksgiving Service

(Venue – Church grounds)

Sunday 11th October

All Saints’        11.00 a.m.        Harvest Thanksgiving Service

(Venue – Church grounds)

 

Sunday 18th October

All Saints’        10.00 a.m.        Healing Prayer Service

Killucan           11.30 a.m.        Children and Family Service

Kilbixy                4.p.m.             Evening Prayer

 

Sunday 25th October

All Saints’          9.30 a.m.        Holy Communion

11.00 a.m.        Children and Family Service

Killucan           11.30 a.m.        Morning Prayer- Richard Tansley

 

 

 

The Great Realisation by Tomas Roberts

 

It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty,

back before we understood why hindsight is 20/20.

You see the people came up with Companies to trade across all lands

but they swelled and got much bigger than ever we had planned.

We had always had our wants but now things go so quick,

we could have everything we dreamed of, today, or with a click.

We noticed families had stopped talking, that didn’t mean they never spoke,

but the meaning must have melted and the work/life balance broke.

The children’s eyes grew squarer and every toddler had a phone,

they filtered out the imperfections but amidst the noise they felt alone.

And every day the skies grew thicker till we couldn’t see the stars,

so we flew in planes to find them and down below we filled our cars.

We’d drive around all day in circles, we’d forgotten how to run,

we swapped the grass for tarmac, shrunk the parks till there were none.

We filled the sea with plastic because our waste was never capped,

until each day when we went fishing we pulled them out already wrapped.

And while we drank and smoked and gambled, our leaders taught us that it’s best not to upset the Lobbies, more convenient to die,

But then in 2020 a new virus came our way, the governments reacted and told us all to hide away.

But while we were hidden amidst the fear and all the while,

the people dusted off their instincts, they remembered how to smile,

They started clapping to say ‘thank you’ and calling up their mums,

and while the car keys gathered dust they would look forward to their runs,

And with the skies less full of voyagers the earth began to breathe,

and the beaches bore new wildlife that scuttled off in to the seas,

Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking,

we’d grown so used to bad news but some good news was in the making.

And so, when we found the cure and were allowed to go outside,

we all preferred the world we found to the one we left behind.

Old habits became extinct and they made up for the new,

and every act of kindness was now given its’ due.

But why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?

Well, sometimes you’ve got to get sick my boy before you start feeling better.

Now lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things that you can do

And who knows if you dream hard enough maybe some will come true.

We now call it The Great Realisation and since then there have been many,

but that’s the story of how it started and why hindsight is 20/20.

 

I pray you will keep well and safe.

Thought For The Week 24/09/2020

Thought for the Week

Each year in September, the Church of Ireland appoints the second Sunday as a time for special prayers for vocations to the Church.   One of the very well known passages of Scripture is found in Matthew Chapter 4 when Jesus calls the first disciples, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John.  They, of course, were fishermen beside the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus asked them to follow him and they did.

Why did they respond?  Indeed, the same can be said today.  Why is it that people respond to the call of Jesus and follow Him?  Often Jesus’s call comes slowly.  It grows over a period of time until it can no longer be ignored.  For some others, of course, it comes dramatically as it did for the first disciples.  Part of the answer is that Jesus himself had such astonished magnetism that when we encounter his love we find ourselves drawn into his presence and inspired by his holy spirit.

Simon Peter never imagined when he decided to follow Jesus that he would end up with a huge church in Rome dedicated to his memory.  Andrew didn’t suppose that whole countries such as Scotland, Greece,and Russia would regard him as their patron saint.

But it wasn’t just Jesus’s magnetism that drew people.  Historians all agree that the reason people in the ancient world travelled from near and far to be with Jesus was because of his remarkable healings.  He really did have remarkable powers of healing and these healings were signs of the new thing that God was doing through Jesus – bringing God’s healing rule.

The first disciples found themselves at the very centre of bustling crowds.  Like the early disciples, we are called to serve and to minister to people.  Those called by the Lord are ambassadors of healing, showing the difference God’s rule makes and how His healing facilitates the restoration of our relationship with Him.

We see God’s healing power working individually in our lives, healing us of that which harms us.  We see God’s healing power melting the hostility that often dwells between people of different race, colour and creed.  We see God’s healing power enabling nature to recover its’ greatness when people realise that their role is not to plunder God’s earth but to treat it with respect and love and to admire its’ diversity.

So, as we this month remember those called to serve God through ministry, and how we ourselves as Christians are called to serve and show God’s healing power through our lives and witness, we can draw strength from our prayerful discernment as we remember the words of Frances Havergal’s lovely hymn “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee, take my moments and my days and let them flow in ceaseless praise”.

 

Thought For The Week 17/09/2020

Thought for the Week

There will be dismay among many people now that it appears the number of people affected by the corona virus is rising again with the subsequent restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus in the country.  While this setback is disappointing, it does remind us of the need for everyone to take personal responsibility for their own hygiene and to encourage others to do likewise.  If we all behave responsibly we will be supporting the common good and helping to repress the spread of the virus.

 

Christians, of course, can also draw comfort and inspiration from God’s love and grace.  The psalmist, in Psalm 46, reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its’ waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”  Through our prayerful relationship with God we can be confident in knowing that, as the book of Deuteronomy says, “underneath are the everlasting arms”.  So, while we need to be and should be careful, we do not need to be afraid because we are blessed with God’s protection and His love.

 

The prophet Isaiah summed it up so well when he said “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41, v 10.

 

“May God be gracious to us, bless us and make His face shine on us” Psalm 67 and may you keep well and safe in your daily life.

Thought for the Week 09/09/2020

Thought for the Week

Last Sunday in church we read some words of Scripture from Matthew 18, where Jesus speaks of the bedrock of principles in dealing with reconciliation.  Despite the dominance of Covid19 in the media, the result of larger scale acts of human conflict have not been suppressed.  We’ve seen the community violence in the cities of the U.S., political repression and the attempt to crush the integrity of elections.  We have also become aware of domestic violence, shattered families and feuds between neighbours and neighbourhoods.  Human endeavour struggles to secure reconciliation in these situations but, sadly, so often without lasting success.

Christian faith offers real hope.  We learn of this hope through the pages of the Bible. The story of humanity begins in the Bible with the break in the relationship between people and God.  It is followed immediately by human hostility as seen in the story of Cain and Abel.  The Bible makes clear that only when our relationship is restored with God can relationships with people be healed.  Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God makes all humanity his friends through Christ.

The antibiotic for the infection of human conflict is forgiveness not revenge.  The Bible shows how when we repent of our mistakes and sin, we turn from the past to God, His loving forgiveness awaits us. We enter a new life as forgiven people with the grace and power to forgive others.

The fruit of reconciliation is peace.  Reconciliation means peace with God, peace between men and women and between communities and nations.  Those who were enemies now found themselves members of the same family – God’s family.  The enmity that divided them is unimportant compared with the relationship with God which now unites them.  St. Paul calls upon us to be reconciled to God and to participate in the ministry of reconciliation.

I hope you are encouraged by knowing that there is a path through human conflict to reconciliation and peace.

Alastair Graham

All Saints’ Church Mullingar

Good News.  Good News. 

We warmly welcome Luke Hawkins, the new chaplain of Wilson’s Hospital School to the Parish and to Westmeath, and also his delightful wife Esther.  Luke and Esther bring an invaluable teaching experience from their time as teachers in England and also share a faith and love that is both inspiring and endearing.   We hope they will both be as happy in Westmeath as we will be having them among us.

Union Notes September 2020

 

MULLINGAR UNION OF PARISHES

 

Issue 126                    “UNION NEWS”                       September 2020

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

Return to Church

We were happily able to open the churches again for worship on Sunday 5th July.  The Services since then have gone very well and those who have attended have, I hope, felt safe and uplifted by being able to again worship Almighty God in church.  I warmly commend the Services to all parishioners, young and old.

At the General Vestry Service I will give details of the Services that we hope to hold over the coming weeks.  Like other activities in the community, it is very important that parishioners find a way to support the church.

In our Parish we can all draw strength from God’s love and protection and from the support we offer each other.  Together we stand and under God’s love we will overcome adversity.

September

Normally September heralds the reopening of many Parish organisations after the summer break.  Due to the ongoing pandemic this will not be happening in the way we normally expect.  Little by little we hope to be able to continue the momentum of witnessing to God’s love and grace, always keeping in mind the medical advice concerning the Corona virus.  In that regard, we would continue to urge everyone to take personal responsibility for their own hygiene and to encourage others to do likewise.  If we all behave responsibly, we will be supporting the common good and helping to repress the spread of the virus.

I would again like to express our deep appreciation to all those in the Health Service who have so courageously and compassionately provided the much-needed care for those who have succumbed to the virus.

 General Easter Vestry

Following a consultation with the Diocese, a General Easter Vestry Service will be held in All Saints’ Parish church on Sunday 20th September at 11.00 a.m.  This is always a very important occasion in the Parish and I am sure, as always, it will be well supported.

All Saints’ National School

In accordance with the government’s guidelines, the School re-opened on Thursday 27th August and the daily life of the School is going exceptionally well.  We warmly welcome all the new children who have just started attending school and we hope their school experience will be both enjoyable and beneficial for them.  I would also like to thank the Principal, teachers and staff for all the good work they undertook to prepare the School for the re-opening and to all the parents and the Board of Management for their kind cooperation with all the protocols and procedures.  It is a delight to hear the voices of the children in the church precincts and we hope that everything will go well in the life of the School this school year.

 Students at Secondary School and College

We also offer all those attending Secondary School and Third Level Colleges, and all the teaching staff, our best wishes for the academic year.  We pray that the academic year will proceed without disruption.

Harvest Festivals

Each year the Harvest Thanksgiving Services are greatly enjoyed by parishioners.  This year, complying with the guidelines, I hope it will be possible to hold Harvest Thanksgiving Services in the Parish and times and dates will be given in the October issue of the Union Notes.

Bereavement

Following the sad death of Peter McGill, we offer our deepest sympathy to Sheila and their children Rachel, Clare and David, and all the grandchildren, family, and their many friends.  We pray that Sheila and the family will be comforted by their wonderful memories of Peter.   Peter passed away peacefully after a long illness borne with such courage and dignity.  Peter, of course, was the highly respected and much-loved surgeon in Mullingar Hospital for many, many years and was also highly regarded by everyone in the community and in the societies and organisations in which he was involved.  Peter was also a devoted husband to Sheila and a deeply loved father, grandfather, and dear friend.  We pray that Peter, now in the fuller presence of God, may rest in peace.

Lighten Our Darkness

The amazing group of young people working on this project spent a lot of their time during the summer months developing the project and researching a lot of the facts and details that will be an integral part of the programme moving forward.  From September, in addition to their Prayer Ministry, they will become more involved in the worship of God in the Parish.  I would invite everyone to continue to pray for the good work the Holy Spirit is doing among the young people, both enhancing and enriching their faith and understanding of the Bible.

Vocation Sunday

On Sunday 13th September special prayers will be said in all churches in the Church of Ireland as we remember those who are responding to God’s call to a vocation in the church, and also for all those who may feel that God is calling them to ministry in the church.  This is a significant Christian calling and as Diocesan Director of Ordinands I will be very happy to meet with anyone who might like to discuss a call to ministry with me.

Parish Website Address – www.mullingarunionofparishes.net.

You may like to keep in touch with the Parish through the website.

Rev. Alastair Graham, Rector

087-7870985

Some comforting words to support each day

 Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

The psalmist wrote, “I lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence comes my help, my  help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, the Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life, the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forever more”

Prayers

 The Presence of God

Lord, we come to you in the assurance that you are present with us now, we do not have to seek your presence, we are daily living in your presence.  Make us aware of it, make it real to us and help us in these moments of prayer to know that we are speaking to one who is near and not far off, whose love is all around us and who knows our every need.  Amen.

We lift our hearts and minds in prayer in the faith of God the Father who loves us, in the name of God the Son who forever lives to intercede for us, in the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to aid our weakness.  Hear us in your mercy O God this day and always.  Amen.

Remember in mercy our Father those who are passing through illness and especially of whom we are now thinking in our prayers.  Bless all that is being done for their good and surround them with your healing love and power, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.   Amen.

May the God of peace who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him and may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit be with you now and always.

We pray that everyone in the Parish will keep safe and well.

 

Union Notes July 2020

 

Corona Virus Pandemic

  “The Lord is my shepherd”

Psalm 23

 

Dear Parishioners,

Return to In-Church Worship

We are all delighted to know that, from Monday 29th June, Parish churches reopen for public worship and we look forward to welcoming you back to church.   Our last Service before the pandemic was midday prayers in All Saints’ on Monday 16th March.  That was 16 weeks ago and so it will be very nice to open the church for worship from this Sunday 5th July.  In response to national guidelines the Church of Ireland has drawn up protocols which we will observe on our return to church and details of these are in the Union Notes.  The Select Vestry will be very grateful if parishioners would follow the protocols and guidance of the churchwardens.  Initially we have been given permission to open two churches for worship – All Saints’ Mullingar and St. Etchen’s Killucan.  The Service in Mullingar will be at 10.00 a.m. and in Killucan at 11.30 a.m. every Sunday.

Online Services

While the churches were closed for public worship we were so blessed to be able to provide online Services every Sunday and Wednesday and a Friday school assembly during term time.  I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Services – the readers, those who led the prayers, the Choir and those who provided the floral arrangements each week.  We also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Lorraine Hales who prepared the presentations for the online Services.  She did a truly wonderful job and enabled everyone to still have a church connection while the churches were closed.

Virtual Coffee Mornings

Each Thursday in All Saints’ Church Hall we gather together for coffee and conversation to raise money for local charities.  Arthur and Marion O’Toole are fantastic hosts – Arthur’s “Tasty Treats” will always leave you coming back for more.

With the Church closed these charities are missing out – so recently virtual coffee mornings have been held in the form of an online Zoom Meeting and Facebook chats.  I would like to thank those who participated in the virtual coffee mornings and also to those who have contributed so generously to the Go Fund me campaign  https://www.gofundme.com/manage/allsaintscofeeforcharity

The Zoom Coffee Mornings will continue for the moment and details can be found on the Parish website.

Lighten Our Darkness

The Bishop sent a special message of thanks and encouragement to all the young people who undertook the Candle Prayer Initiative for 102 days.  We will continue to pray for those who have succumbed to the corona virus and those who compassionately are responding to help.  However, the Group Prayer Initiative came to an end after 102 days but individually the young people will continue to offer their own prayers.

 

Christians Supporting the Common Good

In the June issue of the Union Notes I encouraged everyone to take personal responsibility for complying with the hygiene guidance we are now so familiar with.  I would urge everyone to continue “being hygienic”.  As we know, the Christian faith strongly encourages us to think of others as well as ourselves and so there is an added imperative to keep up our “hygienic habits” to ensure that we are part of helping the common good and the welfare of all people.  In our church Services we will continue every Sunday to remember those suffering from Covid19 in both our own country and in the wider world.

 

Select Vestry

The Select Vestry met on Monday 29th June and approved the protocols for in-church worship.  The Select Vestry will meet again on Monday 27th July at 7.30 p.m.

 

 County Westmeath

This is the third week since the onset of the pandemic that there are no cases of Covid19 in the county.   Let us hope that through the good efforts of others and ourselves this will continue.

I do hope you are all keeping well and safe and if I can be of any assistance or help to you in any way please do not hesitate to contact me at the Rectory – 044 9348376.

With kind regards and with God’s blessings,

Rev. Alastair Graham

Rector

 

Return to In-Church Worship Protocols

We ask all parishioners to follow these protocols on returning to church.

  • On entering church parishioners are asked to go to their seats or pews as requested by the churchwardens.  In All Saints’, families will sit together in the Gallery where possible.
  • Parishioners are asked to be flexible in the use of seats and pews.  Parishioners are asked to arrive before the Service.  The Service Sheet will be placed on the seats and, in All Saints’, seats must not be moved.
  • Prayer Books and Hymnals will not be used.
  • There will be no singing at present but organ music is permitted.
  • Tissues will be provided if required.
  • Hand sanitizer is provided and parishioners are requested to use this on entrance and exit.
  • Safe distancing both inside and outside the church is required.  Little movement should take place in church.
  • If you intend to wear a mask please bring your own mask.
  • Holy Communion.  The clergy will wear shields and sanitize their hands before and after Communion.  Parishioners are asked to stand for Communion and are also asked to neither kneel nor queue.
  • Please avoid bottlenecks as parishioners exit the church.
  • Fresh flowers will not be used at present.
  • Churchwardens will keep the names of attendees for 3 weeks for social tracing purposes.
  • Outside the church, after the Service, people are asked to observe social distancing in meeting each other.

 

The Church of Ireland authorities have asked churchwardens to take on the important role of overseeing the protocols and I am sure you will give them your full co-operation and support.  I would like to thank the churchwardens for generously agreeing to undertake this role.

We look forward to welcoming you back to church.

Prayer has been a wonderful source of strength to all of us during these very challenging weeks and months and we will continue to have a very strong focus of prayer as we now return to the worship of Almighty God in church.