4 Corners Festival – Weekly Feature on Faith Activism: St Oliver Plunkett/ St Joseph’s/ St John’s Ecumenical Group

meet-weave.jpgThis week’s featured organisation from the 4 Corners Networking events is the ecumenical group from St Oliver Plunkett, St Joseph’s and St John’s parishes. The description of their activities was written by Sally Brennan. Her description demonstrates the variety of activities such groups can engage in, building relationships as they do so.

St Oliver Plunkett/St Joseph’s/St John’s Ecumenical Group

Contact:  Sally Brennan, sallybrennan@ntlworld.com

In early 2012 Fr Martin Magill (then St Oliver Plunkett Parish Priest) talked of an Alpha course which was a way of exploring our Christian faith through Scripture, questions and discussion.

In January 2013 twenty five parishioners from St Oliver Plunkett, West Belfast, St Joseph’s, Hannahstown and St John’s Church of Ireland, Stoneyford came together to find out what it was all about.

The Alpha course met every Tuesday evening for ten weeks with a week-end half way through the course.

The venue was the Ballymac Hotel, Stoneyford, where we shared a meal (just as Jesus often did) and viewed a video, by Nicky Gumbel, which dealt with various aspects of Christian faith and scripture.  After a coffee break we split into two groups for questions, answers and discussion.  Everyone participated in these sessions, and discussions were very lively and informative. This was an excellent course where we shared views, learned from each other and discovered how much we had in common where our faith was concerned.  We had a follow-up reunion to assess the results of the course.

Feedback was extremely positive and most of the participants were keen to keep in touch.

In September 2013 the three parishes came together again to read and study St Mark’s Gospel, with Pauline and Michael guiding us.  This was over a four week period with each parish alternatively hosting the meetings. A group of us attended St John’s, Stoneyford Harvest Thanksgiving Service where we were made very welcome and were entertained afterwards in their Parish hall. Stoneyford also attended Hannahstown Heritage Society gathering in December.

Throughout these meetings we have been encouraged by the support and guidance of the clergy of the three parishes and the parish Sisters.  We have also forged new friendships and realise that while we may tread different paths we have the same ultimate goal.

(Image from the 4 Corners Networking event by artist Patrick Sanders)

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