Today we continue with Fr Martin Magill’s reflections on ‘ecumenical tithing’, featuring his experience at Glengormley Presbyterian Church
Fr Martin Magill at Glengormley Presbyterian Church
Owing to the assistance of a neighbouring priest, I was free from commitments to my parish on Sunday 5th May which freed me to join a congregation for morning worship. I chose to attend Glengormley Presbyterian Church (GPC). I received a very warm welcome at the door of the church where two women were greeting worshippers as they entered – I could hear them calling people by name. In the porch one of my friends Paul Symonds was already there – he worships most Sundays in GPC – and he introduced me to a number of people. The church was almost full being made up of people from a wide spectrum of ages. The service began with the minister, Rev David Brice reading the announcements – this appealed very much to me because it meant the service would not be interrupted at all for notices. After an opening hymn, David led us in prayer – I liked his reference to current events to make the connection between worship and daily life. David then spoke to the children and shared a thought with them before inviting them to attend the Sunday club.
The scripture passage was 2 Peter 3:8-13 which was read by one of the congregation. We then had a reflection on the passing of time from a member of the praise group – I found this especially helpful – she talked about trusting God’s plan and trusting God’s timing. This was followed by two praise hymns which had been chosen to tie in with the scripture. In his sermon which lasted just under 20 minutes David made three points on his theme of “how we can be put right with God?” which he had cleverly tied in with three words beginning with the letter “R” – re-entry, redemption and restoration. During his sermon he talked about how Jesus Christ “contaminated” human darkness with his light. At the end of the service, I joined a sizeable number of people who stayed on for tea/coffee and refreshments in the refurbished vestibule. I had a number of conversations with members of the congregation and was able to make connections with people we knew in common. All told, It was a nourishing experience of church.
(Image from www.churches-uk-ireland.org)