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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Aghavea Harvest

It's Harvest time in Aghavea - and the kids ad adults responded brilliantly to the challenge of making Veggie people and animals.  The church has been decorated superbly, and looks (and smells) fantastic.

We give thanks to God for his eternal provision of our food, our clothing, our families - and most of all for his free gift of Salvation!

Praise be to God!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Settling in

One thing I ask from the Lordthis only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord  all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  Psalm 27:4

We are now entering what I refer to as the second stage of settling in at the rectory.  We've moved in, and put our furniture in roughly the rooms where we thought they'd fit and suit - and now that we've been here for almost ten weeks, we've started to realise that our initial thoughts might need to be revisited.  In particular, we soon discovered that our snakes and lizards needed to be brought back out so that we could see them better, so we have had to rearrange our furniture to bring them out into the open.  I assume that this isn't the only change we will make - who knows where half of our furniture will end up!

We all do this with all aspects of our lives.  We start out with a routine that seems to work, but gradually make changes to find-tune it to make it work for ourselves as circumstances change.  Sometimes the changes are gradual, but sometimes they can involve a system shock, like moving home or job, or coping with a sudden illness or death.  We sometimes do it subconsciously, sometimes forcing ourselves to become accustomed to the change.  Some changes are easy, others more difficult.

Sometimes we need to consider our spiritual lives, to check if our routine still works for us. We need to be sure that we haven't unconsciously changed our routine and lost our connection with God.  We could make ourselves so busy that we've forgotten to read our Bible passages, or that we've gone a day or two without speaking to God in our prayers.

In our verse from Psalm 27 - David prays that he will continue to keep his connection with God - and this was something that he sought after.  We should take our lead from David - and be constant in our prayers to ask God to keep us near him.  We often take it for granted that we will always be in a relationship with God, and after the first excitement of our relationship - as we start the second stage of settling - we need to start looking carefully at our relationship to ensure that it continues to survive and thrive.

What do we ask of God?  To we take assumptions, and sometimes take our relationship for granted?  Do we need to make conscious changes our spiritual routine to make sure we remain connected?

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Back to school

"Back to school" - the words children dread!  It means a return to early mornings, packed lunches, and playgrounds - and the inevitable routine of study and homework!  To the parents, it means a return to the school runs, more traffic, and cleaning and ironing clothes, trying to remember how to spell certain words (is it i before e, or e before i?), and tricky maths problems again.

For some of our young people it means a new chapter - starting in a new school, college or university.  It may signal a long year facing exams next year, or for some of our younger kids, it may even mean Transfer tests in November.  Children seem to be under more and more pressure to perform each year, and feel that they must succeed at all costs - and we need to assure them that they should just t=do their best, and expect nothing more of them.

Even in our Church life, "Back to school" signals the end of the summer period.  For our own parish in Aghavea, it signals the re-start of the various organisations - Bowls, GFS, Sunday School, Mothers' Union, Bible Study, to name but a few.  As these organisations start back, please take a moment to pray for the different leaders and members.  Each organisation needs a lot of effort in maintaining the momentum, and we should always be thankful of the skill and dedication required to keep each one alive and growing.

We wish the different organisations well this year - and welcome any who would like to join us on the different adventures ahead.  All the news will be included in our service sheet each week.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Raising more than money

We've had a busy few weeks throughout July.  While other parishes may take that time to "put their feet up", Aghavea parish has been hosting events to raise money towards the restoration of our church.

We had a very successful time at the Twelfth Celebrations in Brookeborough, raising almost £4000, and then we had an extremely enjoyable sponsored walk, which has raised almost £1500.  We are looking forward to bag packing in Asda on 11th August from 10am to 6pm, and hope that we can raise another significant amount then too!

Whilst it's important for us to raise these terrific amounts of money towards a very significant project that we will be undertaking soon, there's something much more important underlying everything we do.  Each event gives us the opportunity to fellowship together outside a traditional church setting, getting to know each other better. This is so important for any Christian community, and a fantastic chance for the new rector to get to know his congregation so much quicker!

While I am personally delighted in the amounts of money that we've raised, I am far more encouraged by the teams of people who have turned up to help in any way - and we would all welcome everyone who will come and join us in the future!

The team of walkers and ladies who prepared the refreshments on the evening of the Sponsored Walk

Friday, 27 July 2018


Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us

My Verse for the Day this morning reminded me that we do not work in isolation, but rather as part of a team.  That team was very evident recently when a group of men and women gathered at the parish halt carefully pore over the plans for the renovation of the church building.  They carefully considered the individual plans, and the details in the small print, as well as the large plans - and they thought about the different ways it would affect the building.

As we started, we reminded ourselves that we were simply the latest guardians of the building in the parish - and that we were preparing the way for the future.  We gave thanks for the many generations of worshippers that had gathered in the church throughout the years in the parish, and we prayed that we would leave the building in a good condition for generations to come.

Although this is the specific case for our church building - it's actually the case for our faith.  We are called to serve the Gospel at this time, but we are surrounded by the prayers and examples of all who have loved and served God at any time, both before Jesus and afterwards.  We stand on their example, and try to leave the Kingdom closer than when we arrived.

We can all experience events, but we can only be witnesses if we actually tell others about what we've seen!  I hope we can all be witnesses for God, by experiencing Him and telling all those about what he has done for us.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Summer camp

1 Timothy 4:12 
"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

Dear Mom and Dad, 
Our leader, Mr. Cobb, told us all to write an email to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried about us. We are OK. 

Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Oh yes, please call Chad's mother and tell her he is OK. He can't write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search and rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn't been for all the lightning. 
Our leader Mr. Cobb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him but it was during all the shouting at the fire, so he probably didn't hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn't burn, but one of our tents did. Also, some of our clothes are unrecognizable. Johnny is going to look weird until his hair grows back. 
We will be home on Saturday if Mr. Cobb gets the bus fixed. It wasn't his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked ok when we left. Mr. Cobb said that with a bus that old you must expect something to break down; that's probably why he can't get insurance on it. We think it's a neat bus. He doesn't care if we get it dirty, and if it's hot, sometimes he lets us hang out the windows. It gets really hot in there now since the highway patrolman stopped and asked us to close all the windows.  
Mr. Cobb is a neat guy. Don't worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he was teaching Terry how to drive. But he only let him drive on the mountain roads where there wasn't any traffic. All we ever saw up there were huge logging trucks. 
This morning all the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Mr. Cobb wouldn't let me because I can't swim, and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Mr. Cobb doesn't get crabby like some other leaders we've had. He didn't even get mad about us forgetting our life jackets.   
Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Also, when Wade and I threw up Mr. Cobb said it probably was just a touch of food poisoning from eating leftovers. He said they got sick that way with the food they ate in prison. I'm so glad he got out and became our leader. He said he figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time.  
I have to go now. We are going into town to buy some day old specially priced chicken for dinner. Don't worry about anything. We are fine. 
Love, Amber

I’m sure this wouldn’t happen nowadays!!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Burgers, salads and hotdogs!

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16

We've just experienced the Twelfth celebrations in Brookeborough.  It was a day of  colour, noise, and people from all over our little corner of the Province.  It was a very good-natured and peaceful event, which was enjoyed by folks from every part of the village.  In short - this is everything that is good and true about our society, in that we can come together in peace, and share our culture.  There was a distinct absence of the violence that dogged the celebrations in other parts of the country.

It was also a day of burgers, hotdogs, salads and queues!  The weather was almost perfect for the day, which brought large amounts of supporters along to our beautiful village.  They needed to be fed, and many of the local churches took the opportunity to extend a hand of friendship, fellowship and food in the attempt to raise some much needed funds for the different projects.

Aghavea was no different in that respect - catering in the local Orange Hall, and serving burgers and hotdogs in probably the best site in the middle of the village.  While we were trying to raise funds for our Building Project, it was my prayer that we were doing more than just that.  Had we raised a single pound in profit, I would have considered it a success if we were able to reach out to those in particular need at a particular time.  In our case it was feeding the hungry, providing for the thirsty - yet we also had the chance to reach out a hand of friendship and love to those whom we served.

Jesus asked his disciples to feed the multitudes at one stage.  They had followed Jesus out into the fields and hills, far away from the towns and villages.  They were hungry, and few had prepared for the long day.  The disciples were horrified when Jesus asked them to feed the 5000 men, women and children!  Where would we find food at this hour?  How would we pay for it?  Yet Jesus had a plan!

OK, so we had no miracles today.  We used the burgers and sausages that we had already brought along with us.  We had taken bookings for the "sit-down" meals.  We were prepared in advance - yet that makes no difference.  We were working on behalf of the church - which means we were working on behalf of God.  We fed the people, and offered the same experience to the disciples that day - namely, here's the physical food, but the spiritual food is much more important!

I would like to thank all those who helped out today in any way - those who cooked, those who served, those who tidied up, those who gave donations, those who helped prepare the halls and stall, those who came along and allowed us to fellowship with you in any small but wonderful way.  I hope you enjoyed the hard work just as much as I did.  I hope this enthuses you to do more, just as it did for me!

Jesus still asks his church to feed his people - not just physically but also spiritually.  Let's get cracking on this together!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

New beginnings

Lamentations 3:22
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness

I wonder if you've ever experienced a moment when you found yourself wishing that you could stay there forever.  Possibly seeing your children being born; a fantastic experience that you've had on holiday; holding a loved one's hand as they are ill or dying; a time when you thought you could live in that instance forever.

Unfortunately that is not possible for us in our human terms.  Time moves on inexorably.  There's nothing we can do to stop it.  Each of us gets older at the same pace, although I've spoken to a few that would try to debate that fact!  Each day brings its own challenges and opportunities; some we take, so we leave, so we try to deal with - and each day we move on to the next.

In our lives, we allow some days to pass just like the last one, but with a different outfit.  We think that each day is the same as the rest, as we get caught in a rut of our own making.  We can look at our work lives, our family lives, our own particular set of circumstances, and simply think that it's the same as ever.  We can get lost in our own lives, losing focus of where we are, where we're going, and even who we are.  As the rut gets more travelled along, it simply gets deeper, and we wonder how we will ever get out.

I recently had the privilege of leading a funeral for a very close friend, and I used the above passage as my text.  My friend had always had a positive outlook on life, and seemed to never find himself in that rut of "sameness".  He always looked at each day as an opportunity to do something different.  That's not to say that he was an adventurer!  He worked on his farm all his life, and to the outside world it would look like his work was never done.  As soon as he finished on job, another was crying out for attention.  As one season ended, another began immediately.  He always looked at each day as if it was a completely different experience.

That's how we should look at God's love.  We have gotten used to having God's grace in our lives, and we sometimes become jaded into thinking that we've "seen it all before".  That's not what the Bible teaches us - God's grace and mercies are brand new ever single day!  That means that each new day we should experience God's grace in a new way, unlike anything we've experienced before!  It's no wonder that the author exclaimed "great is your faithfulness"!

We need to experience God in a new way - not to fall into a rut of sameness with God.  God wants and offers a new relationship every day - start accepting it with a new enthusiasm each day!

Great is your faithfulness

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Scripture Fulfilled: The Suffering Servant

Last night was Good Friday, the final night of our Scripture Fulfilled series for Holy Week. We focused on what is perhaps the clearest prophecy of the cross in the whole of the Old Testament - Isaiah 53.

Scripture Fulfilled - The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

Friday, 14 April 2017

Scripture Fulfilled: The Substitute

Last night we gathered around the Lord's Table to rejoice in the Lord's provision for us - his body broken and blood shed for us. Rev Colin preached from Genesis 22, the offering of Isaac, to show how the Lord provides the substitute for us.

Scripture Fulfilled - The Substitute (Genesis 22)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Scripture Fulfilled: The Suffering Saviour

Throughout this week we're seeing how the crucifixion of Jesus was promised, predicted and prophesied in the Old Testament. Last night in Brookeborough Methodist Church we heard from the suffering Saviour, in the words of Psalm 22.

Scripture Fulfilled - The Suffering Saviour (Psalm 22).

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Scripture Fulfilled: The Passover

This Holy Week we're seeing how the Old Testament scriptures point us to the cross of the Lord Jesus. Last night, Rev Colin preached from Exodus 12 on Christ our Passover.

Scripture Fulfilled - The Passover (Exodus 12)

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Scripture Fulfilled: The Serpent Crusher

Our special series for Holy Week began last night in Brookeborough Methodist Church. In Scripture Fulfilled we are seeing how the Old Testament scriptures are fulfilled in the cross of Christ. Here's the first sermon, if you would like to listen again, or catch up on what you've missed:

Scripture Fulfilled - The Serpent Crusher (Genesis 3:15)

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Notices: Sunday 9th April 2017

11am Morning Prayer & Sunday School
7pm REVIVE Cafe Church hosted by SNATCH - speaker: Mr Simon Henry (CIYD)

Next Sunday:
16th April 2017
6.30am Easter Dawn Service followed by breakfast
11am Easter Family Celebration

This Week:
Monday 10th
8pm Scripture Fulfilled - Genesis 3 - Brookeborough Methodist

Tuesday 11th
8pm Scripture Fulfilled - Exodus 12 - Aghavea Church

Wednesday 12th
8pm Scripture Fulfilled - Psalm 22 - Brookeborough Methodist

Thursday 13th
8pm Scripture Fulfilled - Genesis 22 - Aghavea Church

Good Friday 14th
8pm Scripture Fulfilled - Isaiah 53 - Brookeborough Methodist

Coming Up:
Wednesday 19th
8pm Easter General Vestry - Church Hall

Saturday 29th
Clay Pigeon Shoot in aid of the Building Fund - Deerpark

Friday 5th May
GFS Diocesan Service

Friday 12th May
MU Diocesan Service - Enniskillen Cathedral

Scripture Fulfilled

How does the crucifixion of Jesus fulfil the
promises and prophecies of the Old Testament?
Mon 10th April - Genesis 3 - Brookeborough Methodist
Tue 11th April - Exodus 12 - Aghavea Church
Wed 12th April - Psalm 22 - Brookeborough Methodist
Thur 13th April - Genesis 22 - Aghavea Church
Good Friday 14th April - Isaiah 53 - Brookeborough Methodist
Services begin at 8pm each evening.

Dawn Service
Easter Sunday 16th April
6.30am at Aghavea Hall car park followed by breakfast.
A sign up sheet is available in the porch for catering purposes.

Brookeborough War Memorial Project
Brookeborough Development Association are helping to conserve the War Memorial. You are invited to the following event:
Saturday 29th April at 4pm: Sponsored walk at Blessingbourne & BBQ at FMT RBL.

Clay Pigeon Shoot
Saturday 29th April 2017. Deerpark, Brookeborough.
Proceeds in aid of Aghavea Church Repair Fund. More details to follow.

Bible in One Year
9th 1 Kgs 20-22, Ps 100
10th 2 Kgs 1-3, Ps 101
11th 2 Kgs 4-7, Ps 102
12th 2 Kgs 8-11, Ps 103
13th 2 Kgs 12-14, Ps 104
14th 2 Kgs 15-17, Ps 105
15th 2 Kgs 18-19, Ps 106
16th 2 Kgs 20-22, Ps 107
17th 2 Kgs 23-25, Ps 108

Prayer Diary Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Sun 9th Tonight’s Revive Cafe Church - for all who will take part
Mon 10th Those who are housebound, as the Home Communions begin
Tue 11th Myrtle and the choir as they lead our praise
Wed 12th The Watson family, sharing the good news of Easter in Sweden
Thur 13th Pray that we would grow in love for one another
Fri 14th Give thanks for the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross
Sat 15th Pray for our Dawn Service tomorrow - for joy-filled celebrations
Sun 16th Give thanks that Jesus is alive and has defeated death for us!