Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing – A Visit to Fitzroy Presbyterian

fitzroySome time ago I blogged about ‘ecumenical tithing,’ a concept written about by Fr Michael Hurley, founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics. I defined it as:

a commitment for Christians to pledge to spend a significant percentage of their time in worship and service with Christians from a tradition other than their own.

Fr Martin Magill, the priest at St Oliver Plunkett’s parish in Lenadoon, Belfast, has committed to this practice. He usually attends the Sunday evening service of another denomination and posts regular, short reflections about it on Facebook. I’ve enjoyed reading his reflections over the past while, so with his permission I will be posting them as “guest posts” on this blog on Mondays.

The experiences and the topics Fr Martin will share will of course vary, and over time I hope this can open to others the riches and diversity that exists within our Christian traditions.

Visit to Fitzroy Presbyterian – Discussion on Depression and the Church

Last night I went to a talk in Fitzroy on the issue of depression which was led by one of the congregation, Richard Anderson, who is a psychiatrist. After Rev Steve Stockman prayed we had the input on depression. In language suited to people who had no training in the subject Richard covered a range of topics within the issue of depression.

I found it helpful when he referred to resources that can be of help including references to some books dealing with the subject. He gave examples of Biblical figures who were affected by depression including Elijah, Job, Jeremiah and Jonah. He made it very clear that some Christians today also suffer/ed from depression. He suggested helpful things that can be done to help people recover.

I found some of the questions afterwards very helpful including one about how we as a society help to prevent young people developing depression in the first place and the role that education plays in this. There was also a question from a member of the congregation about the value of the Presbyterian church using a greater range of the psalms – he pointed to the example of the Benedictine monks in Rostrevor singing all the psalms – in this way giving a greater access to the various emotions contained in the psalms.

In other words when we come to church, it should not always be about joy or happiness or peace but a range of feelings. One of the advantages in going regularly to the same church is the opportunity to talk to some of the folk who also attend regularly – I experienced the usual warm welcome from folk.

(Image of Fitzroy Presbyterian from Rev Steve Stockman’s blog)

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