Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Shankill Methodist Church
The service began with Rev Jim Rea welcoming everyone, including visitors, to the church. This was then followed by the minister, Rev Colin Duncan making an appeal for for jam jars for “Young Life”. We then sang 3 hymns and these were followed by prayer.
Rev Jim Rea then interviewed Colin and his wife Brenda. Jim asked about their background. We heard about how Colin and Brenda met each other through scouting. Brenda acknowledged some of the difficulties which they both faced growing up.
* they were married almost 40 years.
* about their work and how they moved to Northern Ireland in 1994
* Colin shared about taking 3 books to sea with him: the Bible, a book by William Barclay and Burns poetry.
We also heard about their faith journey and how they were drawn to the Methodist Church including friendship evangelism – the power of personal invitation.
Brenda said she recognised that if Colin came to church, it would be life changing. Brenda talked about finding her spiritual home in the Methodist Church, while Colin acknowledged resisting going to church. He talked about feeling at home in the Methodist Church, and spoke about becoming aware of the Lord’s presence going from head to heart.
We then heard about their time in Northern Ireland – living in Bangor and their involvement in a local Methodist church there. Colin shared about his sense of calling. He said he felt the Lord pointed ahead of him – from one step to the next. He talked about making the decision to leave settled work to move into ministry. Ministry was fulfilling and challenging and he felt he was doing what God wanted.
Brenda also talked about her work as a chaplain in the Royal Victoria Hospital. She spoke about the value of making a difference. She talked about praying to the Holy Spirit to give her the right words to speak into someone’s faith journey.
Jim Rea then told us that research completed in the area within the last few years indicated only 1% of people in the greater Shankill area were church going. Jim acknowledged the challenge of ministering in the area – there is massive estrangement between church and community.
Colin talked about God preparing them for the ministry in the Shankill and the desire to bring light into the darkness of people’s lives. He acknowledged the value of small numbers of people involved in doing small things.
Jim spoke about Remembrance Sunday and the secular side of the day – remembering without God. Brenda spoke about how we are all searching, including people in paramilitary organisations. Nobody is beyond redemption.
Jim asked Colin to share a Bible reading and Colin chose to read John 1:1-14.
We then had a moment of silent prayer for Colin and Brenda before a final hymn after the offering.