Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As most of you are now aware all gatherings at Cullybackey Methodist Church, including Sunday Worship have ceased until further notice. This is due to directives given by the Methodist Church in Ireland who are following government advice.
In Acts chapter 4, after hearing about their brothers being persecuted for their faith, a tiny group of believers began their prayer to God with these words, “Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against His anointed one.” Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilot met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and your will decided beforehand should happen.”
The evil one was using wicked nations and rulers to hinder the work of God in the time of Jesus, but his scheming served only to bring about the day when salvation was accomplished for all at Calvary.
As God was sovereign then He is sovereign now. Make no mistake the evil one is at work in our day. He is using this virus to hinder the advancement of the gospel though the church of Jesus Christ, but his scheming and plotting is in vain. What he intends for evil God intends for good.
It is our fervent belief as a church leadership that God has a plan to bring great good out of these events that He has allowed to befall us. We will emerge from this trial with a stronger faith and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, if we commit ourselves to seeking His will and to asking Him to give us the grace we need to walk in it.
At this moment our entire focus is on maintaining our fellowship, witness and prayer life while we are physically apart and also on caring for one another and our community. As we seek 1st God’s kingdom by prioritising these things He will undertake for all our needs as a church.
Below are a list of the initial measures we have taken in the areas of worship, prayer, fellowship and caring for one another:
We suggest that each Sunday morning at 11.30 you go to the cullybackeymethodist.co.uk web site or facebook page, listen to the sermon posted for that date and take time to pray for the church family and particularly that God would be at work in our community in this time of National crisis. If you do not have internet or access to facebook then please ring me and request a CD of the sermons. (contact details given at the end of the letter) These will be delivered to you each week. We will experience the power of God’s Spirit as we continue to worship Him together in this way.
We normally meet for corporate prayer on Wednesday evenings at 8pm. It would be a good discipline to set that hour aside in our own homes to unite our hearts in prayer. We have set up a Whats app group on which weekly prayer points will be shared to aid us in our time of prayer. If you have a smartphone and would like to join it, please contact Hazel Baird via text and she will add you (07790735705). If you are not on Whats app, but would like the prayer points please contact me or Sylvia Kennedy (25880214) and they will be given to you. Sylvia will also be proactively contacting those of our regular prayer meeting attenders who do not have smartphones. As we pray together in this way we will be sustained and united by God’s presence and we will see Him do mighty things.
As people are encouraged not to socialise we are very aware that those who live on their own may feel very isolated. We are creating a small team of people who are available to make a weekly telephone call to any who would like to chat. Of- course this is something that we can all do without being asked. This offer is to ensure that those for whom we have no telephone number are not overlooked. To avail of it please contact me.
Caring for one another and our community
Already, younger members of the congregation have been getting in touch to ask how they can help. If you need local shopping done, prescriptions collected, dogs walked or bins put out etc. we are creating a team of people to do this. Simply ring me or our team coordinator Fiona Ross (07762121621) and we will arrange for a team member to contact with you. We will need your telephone number in order for them to do this.
You will understand that the church helper will not go into your home, but will give you the items on your doorstep, this is to protect you from risk of infection. If you are aware of a neighbour or friend who needs this type of support, but is not a member of our church or any church please feel free to offer this help to them and make contact on their behalf.
Also if you sense God leading you to join our team of helpers please contact Fiona and she will add you to it. The larger the team is the wider we can cast our net and the more people we can serve.
Together with God’s help we will be there for one another and we will build our church in these uncertain times
Blessings in Christ
Rev Philip Gallagher
028 2588 0271, 07703804481, firstname.lastname@example.org