All Saints' Parish Church                         
Eglantine Road, Lisburn.       
                         

Chairman’s Address at the Easter General Vestry 2019

 

Welcome

2019 is a significant year for me, in that I will be 40 in June. I don’t know if I have

mentioned that, but I would be surprised if I didn’t! On the 9th of July I will have been your Rector for four years. As I said last year, time does pass so quickly when you are enjoying yourself. Since this time last year there have been so many happy and sad times in the

Parish. I have welcomed new members through the sacraments of Holy Baptism, and

Confirmation, I have welcomed new members from other Churches, I have joined together couples in Holy Matrimony, and I have also laid to rest loyal and faithful souls from this Parish. As a Parish Priest, I take my role very seriously, and in all situations, I am in

someway impacted by my duties. However, I cannot imagine a life without my priesthood, and I feel as encouraged now as I was back when I felt the calling in my early life.

 

Thanks 

One thing that I learned as a curate was probably how not to do things. And the other thing I learned was that we as clergy should never take anyone for granted. In fact, if it were not for the faithful vestry, churchwardens and congregation, I would be a disaster. I am not the

person who runs this Parish. It is down to a faithful band of followers who, just like the

disciples, keep the mission going. I am indebted to so many faithful people who are constantly supporting me. I do not want to single individuals out, but I wish to thank those who hold office within the Parish and those who oversee and help with the various organisations. I thank and congratulate the Church Wardens, the Glebe Wardens, the Select Vestry, the

Secretary, the Treasurer, the Sunday School team, the Mothers’ Union, the Bowling Club, the Craft Class, the flower arrangers and those who deliver, the Organist and choir,

 

the caterers and cleaners, the Safeguarding trust team, the Guides and the Congregation.  I value and appreciate each and every person who contributes to the life of All Saints’ and without you so many things would not be possible. The enthusiasm which is shown here encourages me in my vocation and proves how alive this Parish actually is.

 

Worship

One thing that is commented on so often is the quality of worship that people experience here in the Parish. We have so many new faces in the congregation from other churches and the reason they love All Saints’ is because they get what they expect from the Church of Ireland. The Parish has maintained its Church of Ireland ethos, and yes we have now moved towards a ‘Higher’ form of service with the introduction of a Crucifer and Acolytes. This is something that I am proud of as it involves our Confirmation candidates and others within the Parish. As I said last year our worship is inclusive and varied, from family services to morning and evening prayer to our more formal Eucharistic celebrations with choir

procession. That brings me on to the choir. I am so proud of Jonathan and his choir. He works very hard for all our services, and especially for Christmas, Holy Week, Easter and Harvest.  And indeed, any other special services, Jonathan puts so much effort into all that he does. Jonathan has encouraged the choir; he has pushed them and he has supported them. And once again this year singing in Latin!

In terms of worship I have noted that the number of people receiving Communion has

increased. We are part of the wonderful Holy Catholic Church, whose main service is the Eucharist, the Holy Communion, the sacrament which Christ himself ordained, and the

service which should be our central focus.

We should be so proud of our children, and family services (which I sometimes dread) are an opportunity to see how well educated our children are. I am often astounded by answers I get from the wee ones. I want to say a special thank you to our teachers who obviously are directing their pupils in such a Christian way. And, of course to their parents who are bringing them up within the faith of the Church.

Also, in talking about our young people I want to congratulate the Guides and Rainbows – an organisation which is going from strength to strength. 

We are blessed here in the Parish with so many talented people. We have the flower class, the craft class and many others who help me organise social functions. Our study group has also grown, and it has opened many windows in the faith of those who attend week by week. This year we have been studying the Gospel of St Mark and I always look forward to hearing the opinions of others regarding their beliefs.

Each year we have to give an account to RCB in Dublin with numbers attending the Parish. I am delighted that the number of people attending All Saints’ has increased, and I have not stolen anyone. The new members who are here, are here because they have been

welcomed.

The main festivals of the Church have been very well attended, and especially over the

Holy Week and Easter period of this year. Attendance in general is to be commended, but most importantly dedication is vital, and I am encouraged to know how much my people support this Parish.

 

Functions

This year we had many successful events in the Parish. We had the table quiz, the Ceilidh and the Country Concert. These events are not always about raising money. They are social events where we want to bring everyone together and to meet one another outside of a Church environment. One of the highlights for me was most definitely the Ceilidh. I was slightly worried if anyone would turn up – but they did and such a good night was had by all. I thank everyone involved in the table quiz, and for all who helped at the country

concert.

 

Vision

In our vision for the future I need your help. I would like suggestions and your input. We have been so successful this year. We have had students from the theological institute who have trained here and most proudly we have produced a candidate – Martin Steele for the ordained ministry. We should be proud that Martin will be representing All Saints’ in the theological college and I ask that we pray for him during his time there.

While I am here in All Saints’ I will continue to pray for you each and every day, and I

appreciate your prayers for me. As your Rector I will be faithful to you and continue to build up the Parish. I end with this prayer.

 

Heavenly Father,

We thank you

for the opportunity to gather tonight.

May everything we do

begin with your inspiration

and continue with your help.

We ask your guidance throughout this meeting,

that all of our thoughts and actions

would reflect your holy will,

and that you would grant us the grace

to love you and our neighbours more perfectly.

We pray in Jesus name. Amen.