This week Fr Martin Magill remained in his own parish on Sunday evening as Sacred Heart hosted the annual local ecumenical service for Pentecost. In one of her first public functions, it was attended by the new Lord Mayor, Nichola Mallon. While the service itself seems to have been nourishing and appreciated by all, the ideas for possible ecumenical/cross-community collaboration discussed during refreshments after the event hold even further promise.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Pentecost Sunday Service 2014
This weekend it was the turn of Sacred Heart Parish to host a service for churches in BT14 for Pentecost. Each year these churches take it in turn to organise a service at Advent, the week of prayer for Christian Unity in January, Holy Week and Pentecost.
The Pentecost service had been devised by Breige O’Hare from Well.com based at Carlisle Circus in North Belfast. We were joined by Councillor Nichola Mallon, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, who grew up in the area. She had become First Citizen of Belfast on the previous Monday, making the service one of the first public functions she had attended in her new role.
There were people from Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Methodist and Moravian churches present in Sacred Heart church. The Irish Churches Peace Project was represented by Laura Coulter.
The service itself consisted of singing and silence, scripture and reflection and representatives from the denominations present all took part.
In her reflection before reading the gospel passage, Breige took the theme of having a “hand in God’s plan”. She encouraged us to consider what this would mean for us in this area as individuals worshipping in North Belfast and how we might live this out in our daily lives.
The singing was led by Sacred Heart Folk Group with very good participation from the congregation.
During the refreshments afterwards, a number of ideas emerged.
In one conversation involving a parishioner, Rosemary, and Breige O’Hare, I heard the following : Rosemary suggested (rightly I believe) it would be a good idea to set up a “hospitality committee” for the parish centre. In the spirit of her address, Breige suggested it would be good to approach some of the local churches for volunteers as well Sacred Heart parishioners.
In another conversation, I heard about the plans for a week in August from Embrace Ballysillan, as well as what they had been doing in previous years. John from the project had been talking to some of the young people present at the Pentecost service to ask if they would be interested. The idea would be to make a summer scheme organised by the churches in Ballysillan more available and in particular to young people in Sacred Heart Parish.
A “5th something”
In a conversation with Moravian minister, Rev Paul Holdsworth, I heard Paul suggest we need to build on the energy generated by the Pentecost service as well as the other services. He suggested it was too long to wait until December and the Advent Carol Service. We need a “5th something”. That seems an excellent idea to me.
(Image: Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon with Sacred Heart parishioners Terence and Margaret McMackin)