This week Fr Martin Magill returned to Woodvale Presbyterian Church for his weekly ‘ecumenical tithing.’ Fr Magill highlights how this visit gave him a chance to reconnect with people he had met before, as well as providing him with plenty to reflect on heading in to the New Year.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Woodvale Presbyterian Church
One of the advantages of going back to the same churches is getting to know people. So it was very good to meet people I hadn’t seen for some time.
This was the last service of the year. We began with a verse from Ps 150 before singing the first hymn, “Immortal invisible in light inaccessible,” which was was followed by prayer. It was led by the minister Rev Ken Doherty and had the theme of thanksgiving. The next hymn was “the king of love my shepherd is”.
We then had a scripture reading from Deuteronomy 8:1-14 read by Ben, a younger member of the congregation.
This was followed by a video of a group called The Durochers singing the hymn: “Speak O Lord” and included the line: “that the light of Christ might be seen today in our acts of love and our deeds of faith”. After it Ken called for 2014 to be a year of music in the church and imagined a number of them putting their musical talents at the disposal of the church for the worship of God.
In the prayer which followed, Ken prayed for the family of a local neighbour whose son in law was killed in an accident on Christmas Eve. He also prayed for the Haass-O’Sullivan talks (both people were present for the recent carol service). There was also a prayer for the area.
After the offering and another hymn, “Great is thy faithfulness,” Ken reflected on the year past, which he connected to how The Lord had brought the children of Israel after 40 years in the desert to a new place.
Ken reminded us how God wanted his people to remember: the word is often used in the book of Deuteronomy, indeed it was mandatory for all the people .
Ken then asked the question: what do we remember at the end of the year and the beginning of a new year? He suggested taking time to remember to:
- Rejoice (for what God had done for us)
- Repent (on looking back over the last year)
- Receive (God’s grace for what lies ahead)
Ken recommended reading the book of Deuteronomy as part of our preparation for the next year; as well as to take time in a quiet place with one’s own thoughts to remember to rejoice, repent, receive.
The service ended with a final hymn and I enjoyed time to chat to members of the congregation.