Last week a new series started on this blog, based on the experiences of ‘ecumenical tithing’ by Fr Martin Magill, priest at St Oliver Plunkett’s parish in Lenadoon, Belfast. Each Sunday evening, Fr Magill visits a church from a tradition other than his own.
This week we continue with Fr Magill’s visit to Christian Fellowship Church (CFC) in Belfast.
Visit to CFC – Learning about Everyday Faith with Daniel Guglielmucci
Last night I returned again to CFC (Belfast) accompanied by a parishioner. We were welcomed by young people on the way in and in the space outside the worship area we were offered tea/coffee/juice. The service began promptly at 7pm – with a variety of hymns and prayers lasting about 45 minutes – I enjoyed the first few hymns but found this singing went on too long for me.
The senior pastor Andy McCourt introduced the preacher called Daniel Guglielmucci –an Italian Australian. Danny in the course of his 47 minute sermon shared key events in his ministry journey over the last few years. I regret not taking a book with me to note some of his lines – he talked about Sunday/Monday church – we raise our hands up to God on a Sunday and our hands out to others on a Monday. He quoted from Exodus 3 – the experience for Moses of being faithful to “everyday” looking after the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, then “one day” and “suddenly” encountering God. Danny invited us to believe that if we are faithful in our everyday lives then we too could experience a “one day” and a “suddenly”. He suggested it was very important for Christians to journal which would make it easier for us to recognise God’s patterns at work in our lives. Danny’s sermon included two shortish video clips of two people impacted by the work of his church in Australia. I was surprised that during the service no scripture passage was read though Danny referred to various pieces of scripture throughout his sermon.
At the end of the service, Andy the senior pastor listed the options for us of where we might go within the building. Once again the evening worship which was full drew a mostly young congregation. Clearly what CFC is doing is appealing to a group of people many of the larger churches find it difficult to reach.