Pioneering a new community in Killicomaine
A parish situated on one of the oldest recorded sites of Christianity in Ireland, dating back to the early sixth century, is pioneering new ways to share faith with people who live in their local area.
Down and Dromore Diocesan Evangelist Jim Fleming has been employed by Seagoe parish to pioneer a new Christian community in Killicomaine, Craigavon. Jim’s deployment is part of the diocese’s church-planting initiative.
Pictured (from left): Jim Fleming, Sarah O’Hare, Brendan O’Hare and Helena Elliott (Photo: Vicky Hilary)
Jim, who is part-time in the role, has been working out of Killicomaine Community Centre and St Patrick’s Church in Killicomaine since August 2017. He is working hard to build relationships with people in the area. “One of the most encouraging developments has been that I now have five volunteers working alongside me in the CAP Jobs Club,” says Jim.
You never know you need something until you need it.
Do you ever look at the bill for your car insurance and wonder, “Why am I paying out all this money every month?” Especially if you’ve never made a claim on it. Then something happens – you have a prang in the car or it gets broken into. If that happens everything looks a lot clearer. As you think about the repair bill, you remember you are insured. Then the thought appears: “So that is why I pay the insurance every month.”
When we take out insurance we are thinking (or hoping) “it will never happen to us”. If we thought otherwise we would probably never leave the house, go on holiday or do any of the myriad of things we insure ourselves against. Even though it costs us money, when we buy insurance there is at least the hope we will never need it.
It is always easier to talk about things we think, or at least hope, will never happen to us. This is no less the case when considering something as important as abortion. In the debate around the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution we form an opinion on the issue, with most of us hoping that the issue will never have an impact on us. That doesn’t mean we don’t or shouldn’t have a view on it – it is simply that we may not be personally impacted by the issue.
There are difficult truths to keep in tension. Until a painful event happens to us, we can
hardly imagine what it is like to experience such a thing. Most of us never plan on facing a crisis pregnancy, in whatever way that may manifest itself. Unless such a thing happens to us we can only imagine what it is like. We may never really know what it is like to be in that situation – but others will.
Unless we have been personally confronted with abortion we can only imagine what it is like – we are talking about something that we can only imagine. We may never really know what it is like to be in that situation – but others do.
In another sense, as Ireland considers the Eighth Amendment, no matter what side we stand on we are all talking about something that can never happen to any of us – by the fact that we are here, that we were born. We can never imagine what it would have been like not to have had the chance of life – such a thing is beyond our comprehension because we are here now.
The Irish people are being asked to vote yes or no to the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. The wording will include: “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies.” Such provision, we are told, will include abortion being freely available up until 12 weeks.
We will never know what it is like to never have had the chance to have life – but if the Eighth Amendment is repealed others will.
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Letters to the Editor
Trump’s decision on Jerusalem
IN REPLY to Colin Nevin’s recent letters regarding Israel, here are his 12 points, followed by the real situation.
Israel has never been the aggressor: In 1956 Israel conspired with France and Britain and invaded Egypt.
Israel has never engaged in terrorism: The explosion at the King David Hotel was an act of terror aimed at the Palestinian Police Force (which, incidentally, had several Church of Ireland members).
Jewish terrorists assassinated the United Nations Swedish diplomat, Count Bernadotte. Israel armed and trained those in Lebanon who engaged in mass murder at a Palestinian refugee camp there.
The British Empire prospered because Britain never persecuted the Jews: In the 1290s England was the first country in Europe to expel the Jews.
The Jewish people have a right to return to their homeland: If we accept this logic then the Americas, Australia and New Zealand must be returned to their original peoples, while the Highlands must be peopled by the descendants of the Clearances and Ulster by the descendants of those who left in 1607.
The Balfour Declaration granted a Jewish state in Palestine: Britain administered Palestine on behalf of the League of Nations; it was not Britain’s to give. Britain administered Palestine due largely to Lawrence of Arabia and his Arab allies, who had been told they would form an Arab state.
Britain had, prior to Balfour, recognised the call for a Jewish state, but wished to locate this in Uganda. Balfour’s declaration was political opportunism in order to attract American Jews and cause them to drop their opposition to the USA entering the war (they did not want to be on the same side as Czarist Russia with its history of pogroms).
The Arabs moved into Palestine when the Diaspora occurred: The Roman expulsions happened in the late first and early second centuries A.D. The Arabs did not enter Palestine until the seventh century.
Palestine should be called Israel, its historical Jewish name: Places alter their names, witness Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and others. Palestine was Canaan before Israel.
The nations will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or otherwise God will deprive them of rain: A TD in a Dail debate declared, “The Man Above” decided the weather. The TD and Colin have this belief in common but the Bible also tell us that “he sends the rain on the just and the unjust”.
The Arab population of Israel has high standards of living: 22% of Israel’s population live below the poverty line of $2,500 a year. The Arabs are 24% of the population. Is there a connection? Average income in Israel is over $30,000 yet the poorest 10% of the population (Arab) have less than 2% of thatcountry’sincome.
All of Palestine is rightly Jewish: Over a quarter of a million Jewish settlers live on Arab lands in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights (where 48 Irish UN soldiers have been killed). The UN does not recognise Israel as the legal occupier of these lands.
‘Shalom’ means not just ‘peace’ but ‘wholeness’, meaning the unity of Jerusalem and there can be no peace without such unity: Would Colin support a claim that there can be no peace in Ireland until this island is one? To pray for the peace of Jerusalem is not to desire the victory of Jew nor Arab.
The Jewish people returned to their homeland after the Holocaust: Jews began moving to Palestine in the late 19th century, although great numbers did arrive in 1945-47. The Jewish people were subject to the horrors of the Third Reich but so too were the Roma, another race without a land of their own (28,000 of whom perished in Bosnia alone).
No one suggested that the Roma be given a state in India, which Britain was also dividing at the time, even though they came from the sub-continent 900 years previously. The point is that the terrible suffering of the Jews did not give them a moral right to establish a state in a land that they had been largely absent from for 1,700 years and to expel that land’s inhabitants.
We should pray for the Christians of Palestine, living in the midst of Muslim extremists, their lands occupied by Jewish settlers and their hospitals destroyed by Israeli forces.
Drogheda Co. Louth
MUCH HAS been said and written about the late Dr Billy Graham. My letter is merely a “snapshot memory” of a 50s primary school pupil who attended the Haringey Crusade, outside London, with my parents on three evenings.
The following Sunday my father, a Church of Ireland rector, gave his evening sermon the title ‘Three Nights at Haringey’. How my mother enjoyed hearing George Beverley Shea sing – a particular favourite, ‘I’m following Jesus!’
Yes, I remember Dr Graham preaching with his Bible in his hand. Yes, I remember the wonderful atmosphere in the auditorium. But my most vivid memory is of the return journey to London each evening by Tube. The atmosphere on those trains was amazing. We all sang and the all-time favourite was ‘Blessed assurance Jesus is mine!’ – ‘The Haringey Way’, where the last line of the last chorus was held out thus … “Praising my Saviour all-the- day-long!” Such a wonderful memory!
Ballymena Co. Antrim
CONFESSION. THE HEALING OF THE SOUL Author: Peter Tyler Publisher: Bloomsbury; pp.179
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