CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM THE IRISH MISSION PASTORAL TEAM
18th December 2017
As 2017 winds down and many churches and members begin to relax into a much needed lull in activity, the pastors of the Irish Mission would like to wish you a Merry Christmas.
We hope that you will experience peace and joy over this festive season, hopefully with family or loved ones that are special to you. The pastors of the mission would like to say a big thank you for your faithfulness during the year. Thank you for your support and love for the Church and for your Saviour!
Pastor Dan Serb writes in the latest Messenger magazine:
There is one dimension of ministry and life, on blessing - one of the greatest - which I have seen a work lately within the lives and ministries of both pastors and members in the Irish Mission. I do not claim that this is unique to our Mission (and praise the Lord that it isn't), or that this alone makes this field so special and blessed, but I acknowledge it as an indispensable trait of Christian character and missionary proficiency. It is what I call all-inclusiveness. I am not talking about unity in diversity only, or multiculturalism, but an attitude whereby we truly make room for others, allowing each and every church contributor to bring their own unique gift as an enabling and holy sacrifice on the altar of service.
In Africa this is called ubuntu - meaning that each one of us is what he or she is because of the care, influence and contribution of others. 'I am because you are' -- this is a saying which probably best describes ubuntu; and in our church community this is evident.
It is my privilege every Sabbath to visit a different church, and wherever I go this aspect of service and fellowship blesses my soul. It isn't an artificial, forced or somehow tolerated reality; it is truly a blessed willingness to work alongside one another and let the Spirit of God bring us together while we 'bring in the sheaves'. It is achieved by embracing each other's uniqueness. As I travel, I witness this in the way our congregants worship, the items of music rendered, the differing styles of sermon delivery and, of course, the very appetising lunches served.
Our church is truly Adventist, and there is but one unifying and peculiar message preached, but this is mostly achieved through an all-inclusiveness defined by recognising each other's uniqueness. What do I mean by that?
Have you noticed how each day is different from the next? Even if you seem to be doing the same thing day after day, there are many ways in which that thing can be done, different people you can do it with or for, and a multitude of reasons why you do it.
Furthermore, each person we meet will affect us differently. Even though some may be very predictable in their actions, we have the freedom of reacting to those same acts in different ways each time. One doesn't have to try too hard to be different. Each of us is an individual walking the same old path of human existence. We're not the fist to cry, or to celebrate, or to succeed, or to fail; but at least we're doing it a little differently from anyone else.
We are all undeniably human, with so much in common, but at the same time each one of us is unique. God, in His infinite wisdom created us this way. The moment we give up on our uniqueness - the moment we stop being our very peculiar selves - our family and colleagues start longing, the neighbourhood becomes poorer and the world duller. And, I would suggest, our ministry suffers.
So, for the year ahead, together with my best wishes, I invite you all to celebrate this blessed opportunity to see God work wonders through His people by embracing and affirming all-inclusiveness, wherever we may find ourselves in His kingdom.
Young people from the Dublin Ranelagh Church participates in the inauguration of the Ranelagh Christmas Tree
Members from Larne, Coleraine, Derry/Londonderry, and Banbridge met together on 9 December for a combined Carol Service.
Children from the Balinacrow church sold home-made arts, crafts, confectionery at Christmas markets this year to raise money for a local children's charity.
Members of the Belfast church raised more than £600 at a carol service which was donated to The Storehouse food bank in the city.
Note on the photo at the beginning of this article: The photo of the pastoral team was taken at a year-end function on 10 December. Unfortunately two of our staff - Pastor Tony O'Rourke and Pastor Curtis Samuel had other commitments and they were not included in the picture.
[Dan Serb, Adam Keough, Christian Salcianu, Curtis Samuel, Ben Pontanar, Tony O'Rourke, Weiers Coetser, Lorance Johnston, Heather Haynes, Evelyn Wilson, Marci Neal]