St Mary’s Church, Macosquin
Parish of Camus-
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.
Looking Back -
An Easter Reflection
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John12:24
Why are eggs associated with Easter? The resurrection of Jesus is not about him being resuscitated and brought back to life as skilful paramedics are often able to do with a casualty whose heart has stopped beating.
A better way to think of Resurrection is ‘transformation. That’s why eggs are a good illustration of the meaning of Easter. The contents of a hard and lifeless shell are totally changed. The yellow and white liquid inside becomes alive with feathers and a beating heart and eventually a ‘cheep’. The liquid goo becomes a chicken, a crow, a swallow, even a turtle, or an alligator.
Another Easter symbol is the seed, or acorn. You can look at a seed and never imagine what potential it may turn out to have. Similarly with a caterpillar and butterfly. These are resurrection symbols because they become something else, unforeseen and beautiful. And yet there is always continuity: the egg becomes a chicken; an acorn becomes an oak tree; a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. A single grain of corn becomes a stalk which carries a hundred new seeds of corn.
There are also human resurrection symbols: addicts recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism, former terrorists becoming what they may have lost hope of ever being. They are the same persons, but transformed; they have new life, new hopes, and new possibilities. Another resurrection symbol might be a teenager becoming an adult: he or she is the same, but different with new beauties and potential in maturity.
The resurrection is an invitation to look around to see transformation, to see what is evil being changed, what is immature becoming adult; what appears inert like an egg or seed sprouting life. But for the Christian the resurrection has a still richer meaning.
In the resurrection appearances, Jesus was not initially recognised by those who loved him, or who were his close associates and disciples. The exception seems to be the Beloved Disciple who had special insight.. The others did come to faith by meeting with him and listening to him, one even by touching him. But for all, faith was necessary to identify Jesus. The Risen Jesus was the same person, but outwardly his appearance was different.
Christ is risen, and he has promised to take us with him.. Human life is good, but sooner or later, it will end. The resurrection gives hope and meaning to our existence here and a future promise. In our weakness we will after death be raised in glory. Again there is continuity: it is I (not just my body) that I hope will be raised.
St. Paul writes: So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body (1Corinthians 15:42 44).
Dedication of new Lighting 4th December
For more than two years concern about the safety and condition of the church light fittings was a dominant agenda item at Select Vestry meetings. The need to replace them with more effective and economical lights was an urgent priority. Glebewarden Sandy Reynolds researched our requirements and made visits with other vestry members to churches which had recently improved and modernised their own lighting.
Our new lights were installed and dedicated in time for our Christmas Services.
Not only do they provide much better illumination for the congregation, with a mixture of uplighters and dimmable downlighters, the effect of warm light and shadow has enhanced the beauty of the church and its timber ceiling.
A good job well done by the Select Vestry!
Regular worshippers will remember that on each of the four Sundays in November they were asked to complete a census form which was issued in every Church of Ireland parish church. When the returns have been analysed the General Synod will be able to assess trends in church attendance, the viability of some churches, the future requirements for ordained clergy and much more.
It was clear from our own census figures that the majority of our worshippers are female. In November very few men in the 25 -
On a more positive note, our weekly attendance is consistently high and despite the number of deaths in the past three years, has remained so. This shows that we have been joined by new worshipping families and is encouraging news.
Installation of new Dean St Columb’s Cathedral
However, because urgent remedial building and electrical work was needed for the Deanery, the date of the new Dean’s installation service had to be deferred until temporary accommodation could be arranged for him and his family. The Installation has now been arranged for Tuesday 28th March at 8.00pm. The Rector and some members of our congregation plan to attend this important occasion in the Mother Church of our Diocese.
Senior citizens’ Lunches January -
The popularity of our Wednesday Lunch Programme during the winter months is remarkable with almost 40 senior citizens attending each week to enjoy a good main course, dessert and a short address by a visiting speaker. Others who have been ill have a meal delivered to their door later that afternoon. Our volunteer cooks and helpers really enjoy the camaraderie in the kitchen and giving so much pleasure to the people who come. The last lunch of this session will be on Wednesday 29th March
Annual General Vestry Meeting -
This is the Meeting which all adult parishioners are encouraged to attend and to play their part, particularly in the appointment of Churchwardens. Glebewardens and other Select Vestry members who serve for one year at a time as the church management committee . The Church of Ireland website has a section ‘Parish Resources’. There is a subsection ‘Parish Handbook’ which outlines the responsibilities of Churchwardens, Glebewardens and Select Vestry members.
2017 is a Triennial year when we also have to appoint Synod Members and Parochial Nominators who will be in post until the Annual General Vestry Meeting in 2020. Synod Members play an important role in the Diocese and the most able are elected to serve on the Diocesan committees which oversee a wide range of Diocesan business . Some are also appointed to represent the Diocese on the General Synod.
Parochial Nominators are the people whose wisdom and judgement is trusted by the General Vestry of a parish. They will be responsible for finding the person they feel most suitable to be the next Rector.
An Annual General Vestry Meeting begins with a Scripture Reading and prayer, followed by apologies for absence which must include a written agreement by an absentee to accept nomination to serve in any specific role if elected. The Rector then presents his report on the work of the Select Vestry and other notable happenings in the parish during the previous year and outlines plans for the current year.
The audited accounts and Financial Report for 2016 are then presented by the Treasurer, discussed and received by the meeting.
Annual General Vestry Meeting continued
The final item in the Agenda is the Appointment of the various Church Officers .
All parishioners over 18 years of age who live within, or outside the parish and have completed a General Vestry membership form are eligible to stand for election, or to vote for candidates.
However, eligibility is not the only criterion. The people elected need to be committed, willing to fulfill their responsibilities, using whatever gifts or skills they can offer, and have a genuine calling to play their part and work closely as a team for the development of the church, and the maintenance of its property. The Church of Ireland website has as a Resources section which outlines the responsibilities of Select Vestry members, wardens, glebewardens and other officers.
During the Palm Sunday Service the newly appointed team of Churchwardens. Glebewardens, other Vestry Members, Synod Representatives and Parochial Nominators will be commissioned for their respective roles
Holy Week Services
The word ‘Holy’ has several meanings ‘special’, ‘different,’ ‘healthy’, ‘wholesome’ and ‘godly’. Our Holy Week services at 7.00pm every evening from Palm Sunday to Good Friday reflect all of those meanings as we reflect on the mental and physical suffering of Jesus and especially the significance of his death on the cross on Good Friday.
This year, some of the addresses at our evening services will be given by visiting clergy who will speak on the following themes, Courage, Discipline, Loyalty, Integrity, Selfless Commitment and Respect for Others.
These are not only the core Values and Standards of the British Army, they are also challenging aspects of every Christian’s witness.
The Gospel readings we hear in Holy Week illustrate the presence or absence of these characteristics in the behaviour of the characters who were involved in the events which culminated with the death of Jesus on a cross
Once again we will have a Sunrise Communion Service at 6.30am on Easter morning. This takes place at Camus cemetery, and begins with the ceremonial lighting of the Paschal Fire on the site of the first Christian settlement in this area. It was a monastic community established by monks of St Comgall, the founder of Bangor Abbey.
There will be a Bacon Roll Breakfast afterwards.
If you haven’t been before and are unsure of the location, follow the Kilrea road along the bank of the River Bann from Castleroe for about one mile.
You will see Camus House and the cemetery wall on the hill to your right.
Come and join us for a wonderful sunrise celebration of the Resurrection this Easter.
Other Services in the church on Easter Day
9.00am Holy Communion -
10.30am ‘Let there be light’ A Festal Eucharist with the ceremonial lighting of the Paschal candle, and a variety of traditional and modern music led by the choir.
During this 10.30am service there will be an Egg Decorating Competition for children and a Chocolate Easter Egg Hunt around the Church afterwards
Decorating the Church for Easter
After the long Lenten season during which there are no flowers, we celebrate the Resurrection in a blaze of floral colour in the church.,
Contributions of spring flowers and greenery will be welcome but donors are asked to assist with the decoration of the windows and other areas of the church from 10.00am on the Saturday morning. You don’t need to be a talented flower arranger to help!
In every parish of our Diocese, during the coming months Select Vestries will be forming a five year plan for the development of the mission and ministry of their church.. Treasurers and Parish Finance Teams will be making a careful analysis of their church’s income and expenditure and drawing up budgets which will explain to parishioners most of the major future expenses, and also how their Select Vestry plans to meet the cost.
Diocesan year of Generosity continued
Regular worshippers know that a collection is taken at every service, but some people are not aware that this is their church’s principal, and in some cases, only source of regular income; nor do they realise how much it costs to maintain a church, and pay the stipend, national insurance and pension contributions of their rector, or of the many other ways that the weekly collection is spent.
The Diocesan Office will provide each Select Vestry with sample leaflets to adapt to their own situation which will explain these matters. They will also show the important roles the church plays in the lives of its members and the wider community.
This is partly to acknowledge the generosity in every congregation and to thank the parishioners but also to ensure that people are aware of how vital their support is.
In October three sermons will be delivered in all churches on the subject of Christian Stewardship with the theme, ‘Abundant Living -
In some cases it is hoped they will decide to give a little more.
However, Christian Stewardship is not just about the amount of money people give to their church. It is also about how we use our time and our talents to further God’s work by our practical involvement, as members of a Christian community, in the activities of the church, and also in other ways, in an even wider community.
Charities Commission Registration
However, there is a condition. We have to submit audited annual accounts to the Charities Commission in a particular format by October every year. This is a demanding responsibility of the Select Vestry and a Finance Team has been appointed to assist the Treasurer with the management of our budget and accounts, and in the preparation of the audited annual electronic ‘on-
The Late George Blair
‘I sign you with the sign of the cross to show that you must not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner against sin, the world and the devil, and so continue Christ’s faithful soldier and servant until your life’s end.’ Those words which are spoken at every baptism were fulfilled in the life of George Blair. Baptised in St Mary’s Church in Macosquin in 1926, he had distinguished war-
He was indeed a faithful soldier and servant of Christ all his days. George was regarded by many as an elder statesman of St Marys’s Macosquin and was highly regarded by all who knew him.
We are grateful to George’s son Nicholas for the gift of £5,000 to Parish Funds to honour his father’s wishes. The Select Vestry will hold the donation in trust until a suitable memorial project has been decided.
St Mary’s Church and its ministry to young adults
During their recent research visit to St Andrew’s Church in Hertford at the end of January, Lorna Doherty and Ian Mills were struck by the number of young couples and young adults in the congregation. In Macosquin, we also have young couples who worship regularly in our church, some with infants or older children, and. a growing number of single people in their 20s, 30s and early 40s. They come to one of our three services on Wednesdays, or Sundays, but few ever meet any who attend a different service.
Many of our older members enjoy one another’s company, not only in church, but at other times, and have become good friends. Some even go on short holidays together. This year we will try to nurture similar friendships among the younger adults within and beyond the church building, and develop our identity as ‘A church for all ages’.
Activities for young adults
We are planning ‘Meet and Greet’ parties and other social events to introduce our younger adults to each other, to give them the opportunity of telling us what they would like us to do for them, and suggest activities which might build them into a new, young and lively community of faith and friendship in the church.
All Age W worship
There was an enthusiastic response to our first informal ‘All Age Service’ which was held in the Upper Hall to launch the Sunday Club year last September, and we do want to hold more. One objective of such services is to attract whole families and particularly mums or dads who seldom come to church, involving them in the preparation of the dramas, readings, prayers, activities, and music, and in the food which is served afterwards.
The Mothers’ Union has an exciting programme for 2017. Particularly memorable was the recent talk by Sister Perpetua a visiting nun from Londonderry, who spoke about her faith within a religious community. She was an inspiring speaker with a vibrant infectious faith, and the committee has been asked to invite her to lead a Quiet Day.
In addition to the events advertised on the programme an Area Service for North Sperrin Branches of the Mothers’ Union was held in Maghera on 27th March and this was followed by a fork supper funded by the Bishop. Mrs Good, the Diocesan President is also inviting young women to the See House to discuss the vision and activities of the Mothers’ Union and the benefits of membership with them.
Mothering Sunday 26th March
On Mothering Sunday this year members of the Mothers’ Union and a number of Sunday Club children took part in the readings, drama and prayers in our Family Service which celebrated motherhood and the important role that The Mothers’ Union plays in other countries, where many young mothers have little understanding of their role at the heart of family life. A special collection was received for the Mothers’ Union Overseas Fund and the service also included the enrolment of Joy White as a new member of the Mothers Union.
Recent additions to the Parish Website
Alfie Hunter has added fascinating, historical material to the Parish Website.
New additions include Stanley White’s story of the Old Rectory and an article found on the Internet, which gives an account of the founding of the Gurkha Regiment by General Frederick Young. He was the son of The Revd Gardiner Young, the Rector, from 1787 -
Frederick Young left Macosquin as a boy soldier and was attached to the East India Company. He was captured by hostile tribesmen in Nepal. Kept prisoner for more than a year, he learned the language and customs of his captors, who were so impressed by his bravery, that when they released him, they told him they would follow him anywhere . It was a time when Nepal and Great Britain were developing a political alliance and the formation of a Nepalese regiment with British leadership helped to cement that alliance. The Gurkha Regiment has played an important war-
After a long military career abroad, during which he also established tea and sugar plantations in Nepal, Frederick Young eventually returned to County Donegal and his family home on the Innishowen Peninsula.
He said, ‘ I left Ireland just one man; when I returned I had 3,000.’
To see the full accounts of these stories and much more information about our parish, visit our website regularly :www.camus-
Facebook See ‘Camus connections’
Many of our parishioners -
We are indebted to Jill Oliver who updates our Facebook information regularly when people send her information . If you wish to promote parish activities, or have photographs and stories about recent events, please forward them to Jill.
Spring is here
The graveyard grass is growing again and Gordon Kennedy’s team of volunteers have resumed their weekly task of keeping the church grounds mowed and strimmed. There are four areas in the churchyard and ideally there should be four teams of two people who share the responsibility of one area between them.
We provide mowers, strimmers and fuel and another volunteer takes away the bags of grass to be recycled, but the number of helpers has dwindled. Anyone willing to help should speak with Gordon Kennedy
An attractive feature between the church and Mary Pat’s Bar is the allotment area. Kenny Campbell oversees the allocation of plots and several parishioners enjoy preparing their patch of ground, sowing seeds, caring for the plants during the growing season and sharing the harvest. It is a healthy outdoor activity and our allotment holders enjoy the camaraderie of the gardens and the fruits of their labour.
We have a few plots to allocate and Kenny would be delighted to hear of potential new allotment holders. We have garden implements, spades, forks, trowels and a wheelbarrow in the shed, which you can use.
All we ask is that if you take on a plot, you try to keep it weed-
Miscellaneous DIY jobs in and around the church
The replacement of a light bulb, a roll of toilet paper, changing the vacuum cleaner bag, tightening a door handle, touching up some paintwork; even cleaning windows are jobs we do at home.
The church is our spiritual home and as members we should all be willing to play our part.
If you are a DIY person and can help the church in these ways, please speak with a churchwarden, or glebewarden, who will contact you when there is a task for you.
Churchwardens and Sidespersons
In liaison with the Rector, the Churchwardens are generally responsible for the day to day functioning of the parish. They are responsible to the Select Vestry and diocesan Bishop for overseeing the Glebewardens in the maintenance of church property, heating and lighting, and for helping with the smooth running of the church.
Churchwardens are also responsible for organising a quinquennial inspection of buildings by the Rural Dean and Diocesan Architect, and are required to keep detailed records of all property, professional inspections, alterations and repairs. They have regular meetings with the Rector and are members of the Select Vestry
They also have responsibilities in connection with services and for keeping order in the church.
Most people who come to a church service are unaware of what goes on behind the scenes in the hour before the arrive, during the service, and after they leave.
The Churchwardens are responsible for ensuring that the church is warm and lit, the amplification is functioning, the bell is rung, and that everything which will be required is in place and that the lesson readers and people leading prayers, assisting with the collection, or serving refreshments are present, and in the right position at the right time, so that the service flows without interruption .
When the service is over, the churchwardens make sure that the hymn boards are cleared, everything ie put away and secured , that the heating and lighting are switched off and that the number of worshippers and communicants are recorded in the Preacher’s book in the Parish Office.
To assist them we have a rota of sidespersons whose duty is to perform most of these tasks on their behalf. With their help to relieve them of many such responsibilities, the Churchwardens are free to carry out their main duty. This is to welcome visitors and speak with all the individuals who make up the congregation, to respond to any emergencies and above all to be the eyes and ears of the Rector and the Select Vestry during the service.
With two services every Sunday, one on Wednesday, funerals and weddings and other special services throughout the year., we place considerable demands on our Churchwardens, and after Easter we are going to ease their burden considerably.
The newly appointed wardens will share their duties with a rota of deputy wardens.
Visit to St Andrew’s Church in Hertford
An important part of training for ministry is the time that ordinands spend on placement in several very different parishes. They see a variety of styles of leadership and ways that clergy and laity fulfil their mission and ministry. To broaden their own experience, Lorna Doherty and Ian Mills spent a weekend with the clergy and leadership team of a Church in Hertford. St Andrew’s is a town centre church similar to St Patrick’s in Coleraine and the Rector is also responsible for a smaller suburban church nearby.
Lorna and Ian ‘s mission was to learn as much as they could about the way that the church engages with people, its ministry to visitors and regular worshippers, particularly young adults and children, the forms of worship which are used, the range of parish activities, the different ways that the church reaches out in mission to attract new members, and its role in the local school. They also spent time with the people who are involved in parish administration and finances .
St Andrew’s has a similar number of parishioners to us and Ian and Lorna were enthused by the deep and prayerful commitment to Jesus Christ of its leading members who do not just worship on a Sunday. The people they met are not ashamed, or embarrassed to proclaim Christ Faith influences and inspires every aspect of their life at home, their relationships with their friends, and their work. It is a praying church in which faith and action go side by side. Like St. Mary’s, Macosquin, the church building is a home from home for many of them and is the place where they spend much of their time during the week. The church serves senior citizens’ lunches, has chair aerobic sessions for the elderly infirm, supports needy refugees and immigrants and has an extensive programme for children. To play their part in the church’s mission and to develop the bonds of fellowship in the parish. some members regularly use their own homes for Bible study, or prayer group meetings.
The church’s annual income is also similar to our own and the parish uses its resources to employ a part-
On their return Lorna and Ian presented a detailed, very useful report of their visit to the Select Vestry, which will help us develop our own vision and ministry for the Parish of Camus-
Christian Aid Week 14th -
The dreadful famine in Somalia and the plight of emaciated, starving children has touched many hearts world-
Christian Aid Week this year is 14th -
Throughout October we will be collecting again on behalf of The Bishops’ Appeal Fund. These efforts and the generosity of our supporters help to ensure that funds are readily available for such emergencies.
Janet Kennedy would be grateful for offers to help with the collection. Please speak with your neighbours as well, and encourage them to be generous in their support.
Notes from the Sunday Club -
20th May Sunday Club Fundraiser event,
11th June Sunday Club Children’s Day Service and Prize Giving
17th June Sunday Club Trip
From the Parish Registers
8th March Bella McAfee
10th December 2016 Rose McNeill
22nd December 2016 George Alexander Blair
31st January 2017 Harold (Toby) Speirs
Miscellaneous Parish Information
Church services each month are held as follows:
9.00am Holy Communion every Sunday -
10.30am Holy Communion (1st & 3rd Sunday) Morning prayer (2n,,d 4th & 5th Sunday)
10.30am Sunday Club meets during church services in school term-
The children are also involved in the services on the 4th Sunday
10.00am Holy Communion and prayers for the sick.
The Church is open to visitors every day from 9.00am -
Other parish activities
These are advertised in more detail on the church noticeboard in the entrance foyer and in the weekly Pew Newssheet
10.30am Mothers and Toddlers -
7.30pm Choir Practice ( normally from September -
7.30pm 3rd Tuesday (October -
Meetings are held at intervals during the year and there are some enthusiastic golfers who compete more frequently
Macosquin Women’s Institute 2nd Wednesday 7.30pm in the Minor Hall
Macosquin’s Senior Citizens’ Club last Wednesday 7.30pm in the Upper Hall
To find out more about our church you can:
Visit our website www.camus-
Phone the Rector Canon Mike Roemmele Tel: 07977 239863
Parish Admin Staff -