Fr Martin Magill joined Hope International Christian Fellowship on Great Victoria Street in Belfast for his ecumenical tithing this Sunday evening. He found some common ground in prayers for those in mission, and a commitment to the Belfast Street Pastors.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Hope International
This weekend, I worshipped with Hope International – which I noted from the external signage described it as an Apostolic Church. The Facebook page referred to it as a Christian Fellowship Pentecostal Church. I had heard about this place of worship from a person on Facebook and thought it would be good to experience the worship for myself.
My first memory of the church was one of the members putting out his hand to welcome me. Very soon I met the senior Pastor, David Patterson and we got into conversation. I discovered we had a common connection with Street Pastors: he chairs the Belfast Street Pastors and I am keen to see Street Pastors be set up in the north of the city. I learned that the Apostolic Church came out of the Welsh Revival.
The service began with a number of hymns. There was a particular focus on Mission in the service and the speaker, Norman, who led the service spoke about different countries where the Apostolic church was working. The service was taken up with prayers and commentary on the work of mission. The display on the overhead referred to the centenary of the Church coming up next year. In my conversation afterwards with David, he explained to me that once a month a service focusses on some country or countries where missionary work was going on. The advantage of this was to highlight these places that are often in the news and yet some of us are unsure where they are.
Norman highlighted a school in Pakistan which they had supported financially. We were invited to break into small groups and to pray in thanksgiving for the people God had called into mission. In my prayer, I chose to pray for Laura and Stephen Coulter who were presently in Kathmandu in Nepal.
The service ended with hymns and I then chatted to a number of people within the congregation over a cup of tea. I was made very welcome by all to whom I spoke.