This week Fr Martin Magill returned to St George’s Church of Ireland in Belfast, where he attended an early morning service and connected with some of the clergy and parishioners. His visit alerts us to the church choir’s preparations for the International Day of Peace on 21 September.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: St George’s, High Street, Belfast
As I had a family commitment on the Sunday evening, I opted to worship in St George’s Church of Ireland on High Street, Belfast, at their early morning communion service. I was warmly greeted by Billy, who is a member of the congregation but lives in Sacred Heart Parish.
We celebrated Holy Communion, rite two from the Book of Common Prayer for the feast of St Bartholomew. The scripture readings were for the feast day and the service was celebrated by Fr Brian Stewart, the rector of St George’s. I followed my usual pattern, in line with the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church and went up for a blessing when it came to communion.
Afterwards, I had the opportunity to talk to Fr Brian. We chatted about arrangements for the choir which is being established for the International Day of Peace on Sunday 21st September. The choir will be rehearsing in St George’s on the Sundays beforehand.
I was then invited for breakfast by Billy which turned out to be a wide ranging conversation which I think will open up new possibilities.
Some reflections on the experience:
I continued to pray for the day when all the followers of Jesus will receive his body and blood together. I wonder what progress has been made on the issue of inter-communion at the highest theological levels of the Church?
St George’s is a beautiful church in the heart of the city, a real oasis of peace. I wonder how many people know of it?
The church makes a particularly good use of icons and it encourages me to think about how to incorporate icons within the parish churches in Sacred Heart Parish.