As I write the introduction for this edition of In Focus, we have been blessed with a glorious spell of sunny weather here in Donaghadee. What a change from those storms of February. The devastation of which could be seen along the seafront and round to the Commons; the shore was awash with debris – seaweed and huge piles of stones – testimony to the power of the waves on our coastline. Down the Ards Peninsula the coast road has suffered damage and I’m sure many, like us at the rectory, have had a few slates down.
Our own weather problems are small in comparison to the devastation in parts of England where homes, businesses and livestock have all been affected, it will take the land many months to recover. We indeed are truly blessed here in Donaghadee – it is a safe and beautiful place we live. Elsewhere in the world many are undergoing pain and disruption in their lives. Ukraine is going through a huge political and military upheaval and the people of our link Diocese of Maridi South Sudan have also been exposed to further conflict after a few years of calm.
Bishop Justin of Maridi Diocese has asked the people of the Diocese of Down and Dromore to remember the conflict in his country in their prayers. Here in Donaghadee Parish we continue to make preparations for our 2015 Mission. Currently the Select Vestry are asking: What shape will this mission take for our congregation? The Bishops’ proposed visitation, due at the end of March, has been postponed until 9th April; due to commitments he has in England.
Please pray for the Select Vestry as we seek to develop a mission plan. As part of Mission 2015, the Diocese have asked that 2014 be a year of 24/7 prayer; we in Donaghadee will play our part with three days of continuous prayer from 23rd – 25th April. During this time the church will be opened for prayer. The format will be based upon services from the Book of Common Prayer (Morning Prayer, Litany, Evening Prayer and Compline) with space in between for private prayer. Please put the dates in your diary and do sign up for a slot. If you would like to help then please have a word with me.
Finally, if you use a computer, have you been on Donaghadee Parish revamped web site? It is still a work in progress but as the weeks go on we hope to add more content to the site. I hope Parish organisations will take the opportunity to post forthcoming events on the web or send in updates of events they have run. The site also gives details of worship at the Parish, along with links to the Diocese and further afield.
It can be found at:- Donaghadee.down.anglican.org
I finish with a prayer from the American Prayer Book that speaks of mission:
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honour of your Name. Amen.
This prayer encompasses all that Jesus has done for us; we journey through these days of Lent to Good Friday – a place of pain and sorrow – but also the gateway to a joyful Easter. God’s world with all it’s devastation, pain and suffering needs the message of victory and healing that comes through Christ’s Cross and which we celebrate in his glorious resurrection on Easter Day. Inside are details of services Sunday by Sunday and also for Holy Week. Attendance IS a great sign of commitment to a walk with Jesus. The hymn writer said:
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Your friend and Rector
IAN R GAMBLE