This week Fr Martin Magill returned to the early morning communion service at St George’s in Belfast, where he encountered a neighbour from his own parish and appreciated the congregation’s wide-ranging prayers.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: St George’s Parish Church, Belfast
I returned to St George’s Church in High Street this weekend (Fifth Sunday before Advent) for 8.30am Eucharist. (I was going to the Down and Connor Autumn Clergy Conference later in the day and was not able to worship in the evening time.) I received a very warm welcome from a member of the congregation who happens to live within the parish where I am presently the parish priest.
The rector, Fr Brian Stewart officiated at the Eucharist, Order 2 from the Book of Common Prayer. The readings came from the Common Lectionary, which was very helpful as I would be hearing the same readings again at Mass later in the morning.
In the prayer section of the service, we prayed for the Church, the World, the suffering and we remembered the dead. I was struck as I have been when I worship in the Anglican tradition by the systematic way the Anglican Communion at different levels is remembered in prayer. Each week, a national church is prayed for as well as the link diocese which for Connor diocese is N. Zambia. We also prayed for the university chaplains. I don’t ever remember praying for the chaplains in any church service to which I have been. The prayers also included those affected by Ebola virus. I resonated very strongly with the prayers for our local politicians that they would “work together”. I have a sense that most within the faith community would respond with a very loud AMEN to that one.
I followed my usual practice and received a blessing from Fr Brian at the time Holy Communion was distributed.
At the end of the service after a brief conversation with Fr Brian I joined my neighbour from North Belfast for breakfast.