This week Fr Martin Magill returned to Woodvale Presbyterian Church for his ecumenical tithing. I was intrigued that he took two women from his parish along, who had made friends with someone with the Woodvale congregation through Facebook. They had the chance to meet in “real life” and worship together as fellow Christians.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Woodvale Presbyterian Church
This weekend I was joined for ecumenical tithing by Marie from Sacred Heart Parish and her friend Cathy. I chose to attend Woodvale Presbyterian Church this weekend to allow Marie to meet one of the Woodvale congregation in “real life”; they had been corresponding with each other on Facebook. The opportunity to communicate with others across the denominations is one of the positive benefits of social media, which we followed up with real time encounter. There was a very warm welcome for us as we entered the church. As I looked around the church, I saw a number of people whose names I could remember from previous visits.
The service began with a call to worship with some verses taken from the psalms. After this we sang the first hymn: “We love the place O God.” This was followed by the minister, Rev Ken Doherty, leading with the opening prayer, which included a high degree of thankfulness. We then sang: “Stand up and bless”. One of the congregation then read the scripture, Galatians 1 beginning at verse 11 and continuing to the end of chapter 2. After the reading we then had the announcements read by another member of the congregation. This was followed by the offering and we sang the next hymn: “break now the bread of life for me”.
Ken’s sermon was based on the reading from Galatians. He focussed on the human tendency of avoiding controversy and reminded us that controversy is part of life. He pointed out we need controversy sometimes – we need challenges, otherwise there is the danger of church people becoming comfortable. We get used to routine and it makes it difficult to get used to change. Ken pointed out that Galatians has a lot of controversy based around three people Paul, Titus and Peter. He then gave the background of each person. As I listened to the sermon, I realised that some of the issues faced by the three people were still relevant to us in church today, reminding me of the relevance of the scriptures to daily life. We closed with a final hymn: “to him we come Jesus Christ our Lord”.