Below is a sample of the May edition of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Magazine, which includes the Table of Contents and the Editorial.
If you would like to subscribe please forward your subscriptions to The Business Manager, Neil Brown, 53 Tullygarvan Road, Ballygowan, Newtownards, BT23 6NB. Annual subscription £16 (£18 overseas).
Letter to the Editor
A Prayer for Earth Day
Article: A Reasonable Faith?
Reflection: Some Thought on Doubting Thomas Book
Review: The Vast Enquiring Soul
News of the Churches
Children's Corner with bonus colouring pages
Obituary: Rev Ivan McKnight
Article: The Hymns We Sang Together
Video Reflections and Meditations:
A Prayer and Meditation from Rev Dr David Steers
A Prayer and Meditation from Rev Simon Henning
A Reflection from Rev Chris Wilson
A Reflection on Holy Week from Rev Colin Campbell
An Easter Sunday Service from Rev Mike O'Sullivan
Orders of Service for Worship at Home
Daily Reflections for Worship at Home
Online Ministry (Back Page)
Cover Photo: Many of our younger members across the denomination having been painting, colouring, crafting and Lego-building rainbows to share as a sign of hope throughout their communities during this time of lockdown. This month's cover brings blessings from and to our Moira congregation, and many other NSPCI rainbows can be viewed on Facebook.
I would like to thank those who have sent articles, letters and reflections for inclusion —I hope it has helped you feel connected to your church and the denomination in these unprecedented times.
I am aware that some of you will be receiving this month's edition of the magazine alongside last month's, and potentially next month's too — just another little symptom of the changed reality we find ourselves in. My sister always described me as 'an area of high entropy', in that chaos seemed to surround me. It was in part a dig at the mess of my room, or the fact that I was always doing lots of things at once rather than having a focused, logical routine (my sister teaches Science, I teach English Language and Literature, there were bound to be domestic issues growing up) but also, it was a reference to my ability to stay calm — or at least project calm — in the midst of the storm. Currently, the little eye of my personal hurricane seems a little tighter than usual; chaos is barely a breath away. Perhaps you feel the same. It is impossible to plan beyond a day, or even an hour, if you are juggling working from home, with schooling from home, with keeping a home where more time is spent keeping at home. We are living in TS Eliot's lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock' in measuring out our lives 'in coffee spoons'. It becomes so important then, to find that eye within the storm. The place of peace, and silence. When I think of that space, I think of Jesus. Jesus, surrounded by thousands of hungry people at twilight, calmly reminding the disciples that they could rise to the challenge and feed those who depended on them. Jesus, sitting serenely among the fish-scales in Peter's boat after the miraculous catch of fish. Jesus sleeping through the storm, or sitting in a home as the roof is broken through to accommodate a paralysed man. Jesus walking on water in the' midst of a squall, or walking, whip in hand out of the chaos he had wrought in the temple courts. He was no stranger to chaos, by all accounts. Yet, tellingly, he was no stranger to peace; no stranger to the spirit of God that rests upon the water, and has been there since creation's dawn. If he needed peace, he found it, through meditation on scripture and conversation with his father. The Prince of Peace was Man of Prayer.
You will find many prayers in this issue. There are meditations from some of our congregations, and messages from our clergy. Many of our congregations have walked out onto the stormy sea of social media, often for the first time. Be patient with them, and with our social media team. Like Peter, we may sink a little, but we trust Jesus to take our hand, and use us for the good of those around us by displaying our diversity and dependence on Christ.
I hope they help you find a space to worship God in your own way, and in your own situation. For those of us who don't utilise social media, I have noted down the text of some of what is 'on offer', and I will continue to do so, with my colleagues' permission.
You will also find daily thoughts or devotionals to take you through to the next issue. I can't claim credit for them, they are gathered from various sources in print and online, carefully keeping below copyright infringement level!! If any of you dear readers have a book of reflections that you have found particularly useful, please do share it.
For now, I ask that you would pray for our congregations. Pray for our healthcare workers, farmers, food production workers, store workers. Pray for protection, strength and grace. Pray for our families: for patience and resilience; for our individuals that they would not feel abandoned or alone. Pray for those in hospital, and all those who grieve. Pray for resolution, for rational thought and behaviour, for regard for one another.
Stay strong and safe, precious people of God. Thank you for your selfless acts of sacrifice. Remember, if looking out at the hurricane wall of chaos surrounding you is dizzying and overwhelming, look up. That perfect patch of blue sky is your promise: the rainbow is on the way.