Rector’s Letter – Autumn 2019

Dear Friends

As In Focus goes to print, I hope that you are all having a relaxing summer. In our Parish, we have had a busy month of June with a really enjoyable Children’s Day Service and our Parish Summer Fayre. Both speak well of the great sense of community that marks life in Donaghadee Parish. Our Summer Fayre is not only an important fund-raising event but is also a chance to welcome the wider community into the Church Halls and to the Church community. It was a brilliant day – thank you to all who made it happen!

Children’s Day also provided an opportunity to celebrate the work of our Sunday School and to recognize our children – not just as the Church of tomorrow – but as the Church of today. They are an important part of the congregation and, as I often comment in services and in our magazine, that growing faith in a new generation is a command of Jesus (Matthew 28) and also a great privilege. Parents who have had children baptised in our Parish have not just a duty but also a responsibility (through the promises they made in baptism) to bring them to Sunday School and join in worship at Church. Maybe for you this September is a fresh opportunity to renew that commitment!

One of the more unusual events which took place in our Parish during June was the Church and Graveyard Tours. Church volunteers, along with local historians and an amateur dramatics company, spent a weekend showing groups around the Parish Church and graveyard, unpacking a little of the wonderful history both above and below the ground!

Our graveyard is well maintained by a great team of volunteers – so being able to host the community for history walks gave us a chance to let people enjoy this beautiful space as well as learn something of the lives of those interned in it. From plague, shipwreck to politics, the graveyard has a fascinating history. The lives of those from the past still speak to new generations!

Churches are, I think, communities of living history. Worship has taken place on the site of Donaghadee Parish Church for many centuries, each generation faithfully telling the message of Jesus Christ’s redeeming love to a fresh generation. Our task today is not just to maintain the building but also to continue to make disciples. A disciple of Jesus is one who has decided to follow him and to take on his ideals and priorities – to become like him!

As the Baptism service reminds us:

Christ claims you for his own. Receive the sign of the cross.

Live as a disciple of Christ, fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.

Confess Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, look for his coming in glory.

IAN R GAMBLE