New online class from the CITI: Spirituality for Christian Discipleship

CITI is delighted to announce a new initiative aimed at offering resources for Christian discipleship to lay people. Over four weeks in June, institute staff will offer a one-hour virtual class online.  This four-week course offers resources for your spiritual life and opportunities to learn new practices of Christian discipleship to resource your faith during social distancing.

Weekly meetings through Zoom led by members of CITI’s academic staff will include a presentation and interactive discussion about practices of Christian spirituality and will conclude with an exercise or activity for you to try at home. By gathering, praying and learning with the same group of Christians weekly, you will also receive encouragement and fellowship and offer these gifts to others.

Monday mornings
Beginning 8 June

Email to sign up.

When you sign up, you will be given an easy link to enter the online classroom.  The class is free during Covid–19 restrictions but is limited to 25 participants.

8 June: Knowing God: An Invitation to the Journey of Discipleship
Revd Canon Dr Maurice Elliott

15 June: Spirituality in a time of abstinence: lockdown with Mary Magdalene
Dr Brigid Nichols

22 June: Spirituality and Failure: Seeing Ourselves in a New Light
Revd Dr Patrick McGlinchey

29 June: The Psalms: Biblical Company for the Journey of Faith
Dr Katie Heffelfinger

Please share this with friends, fellow parishioners and neighbours who may be interested.

Run and Plant 380

Over the next few weeks Rev. Alastair Donaldson has committed to running 4.5 miles a day to raise money for Irish Church Missions in Dublin. The idea came after a number of races he had signed up for over the next few months had been cancelled because of the Covid-19 restrictions. So to give himself a challenge he decided to remotely run 380km over the months of May and June excluding Sundays.

If you would like to support him financially or run along with him you can find out more info at:


Soul: An online course from Christianity Explored

From next Tuesday, yKea will be running Soul, an online course aimed at teenagers and young adults exploring what it means to be a Christian. Starting from the 21st April, videos from this course by the same people who created ‘Christianity Explored’ will be shared to the yKEA facebook page ( with an opportunity for young people to ask questions and have them answered.


We hope that this course will be an encouragement to our young people. Helping them to become grounded more deeply, through the Spirit in the truth of the Gospel. If you are interested and would like get a digital copy of the handbook and bible study material, please get in touch with Damian Shorten, our Diocesan Youth and Children’s co-ordinator at

Church Life during the Covid-19 crisis

One of the casualties of the Covid-19 crisis has been the cancellation of church services and activities operative since St. Patrick’s Day until further notice.

Clergy in the Diocese continue their work of prayer, study and care. Each week

they will say Morning or Evening Prayer in our parish churches by themselves

but for all of us. Parish Churches will be open at certain times for private prayer though we need to keep our social distance. The voice of prayer will not be silent.

Daily prayers and readings are provided on the Church of Ireland website for personal or family use.

Each Sunday until we return to communal worship, a diocesan service will be available  on media platforms for us to share in.  A number of our parishes are also streaming Sunday services. Resources for children and young people will also be made available

Details of where to find these services and resources are on this website here

Clergy have been asked by Bishop Ferran to continue pastoral care but largely from a distance. There are many ways in which they and we all can keep in touch.

Folk in hospital, nursing homes and living alone should not be forgotten.

In the event of funeral services only close family members will be in attendance.

That is going to be very difficult for so many people. Memorial services at a later date when the crisis is past will offer some consolation. There is so much uncertainty and things will change on an almost daily basis. Lines from an African hymn point us to our only hope.


Our only hope is in you Jesus, our only hope is you.

From early in the morning to late at night, our only hope is you.



Clerical Appointments 2020

  • The Bishop of Clogher, The Right Reverend John Mc Dowell has been elected Archbishop of Armagh in succession to Archbishop Richard Clarke who retired earlier this year, effective from the 28th of April.
  • Archdeacon George Davison, who served as the rector of Derrylin and Archdeacon of Kilmore, will be consecrated as Bishop of Connor on the 1st of May.
  • Reverend Richard Waller has been appointed rector of the Kildallon group of parishes.
  • Reverend Simon Scott has been appointed minister in charge of the Longford group of parishes.

Both institutions will take place later this year once the Covid-19 emergency is past. Do remember these men in your prayers as theyseek to serve the Lord in these new situations.

Church of Ireland Guidance in relation to Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The following advisory guidelines for the Church of Ireland’s response regarding the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) reflect previous advice provided by the Church as a response to pandemic flu.  The guidelines offer a general framework to parishes, subject to further approval or other advice that may be considered appropriate by the diocesan bishop.

  1. Follow all public health guidance provided by state authorities – the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland ( and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre in the Republic of Ireland (
  2. Physical interaction during services, including the Sign of Peace, should be suspended.  Clergy may choose to give the congregation permission to carry out an alternative Sign of Peace that does not involve hand contact (e.g. a smile, nod or bow) if so wished.  Shaking hands on greeting and departure at religious services/ gatherings should be suspended.  Observe good hand and general hygiene – thorough hand-washing with soap or sanitisers and disposal of tissues.
  3. Stay at home if you feel ill and display influenza-like symptoms.  The symptoms to be aware of in the case of the coronavirus include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, and fever.  Do not come to church services until you feel well.
  4. The Church’s duty of care extends to members of the clergy.  If you have influenza-type symptoms, do not call the clergy for pastoral visitation.  Pastoral support for parishioners who are unable to attend church services should be provided by telephone or online (e.g. Skype).
  5. Everyone administering Holy Communion should wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand gel before beginning.  Holy Communion should be administered only in one kind (bread) and placed into the hands only and not onto the tongue.  Only the celebrant should drink from the chalice.  Holy Communion is normally received in both kinds separately – bread and wine – but may be received in either kind, and those who are incapable of receiving the sacrament are to be assured that they are by faith partakers of the body and blood of Christ and of the benefits He conveys to us by them (Book of Common Prayer, p.440).  Intinction should be avoided.

Ballymachugh Plough Sunday

For the third year in a row, Saint Pauls, Ballymachugh hosted Plough Sunday – our service of thanksgiving and praise for the farming year to come.

It was a wonderful service of prayers and themes following through the farming year – Plough, Sow, Grow, Reap, Praise and Share. We were joined once again by the local Priest, Father Brady, who opened the service for us. We also were privileged to have the service lead mostly by the teenagers and children of our 3 parishes. At the end of the service, everybody took home a bag of seed to remind us that we are all sowers of God’s word into peoples lives, and that we all have equal opportunity to do that through a smile, a generous act, speaking, and general day to day life.

There was a beautiful chorus of music throughout the building as people arrived, through the service, and as people left. We always find such joy as a congregation when someone takes seat at our organ to play songs of worship.

Once again, the Ballymachugh Plough was positioned at the front of the church, symbolising the all the labour in the fields of the locality. This plough was kindly donated to the church for Plough Sunday a couple of years ago by Louis Leahy whose family used to plough the surrounding lands with that very plough. We hope later in the year to have it permanently mounted and displayed in the church grounds.

Following the service, we held our Children Tractor Run. We were blessed with a lovely window of sunshine for the children to drive their tractors down the lane and back again. The children were delighted with their prizes and goody bags following the tractor run.

Despite the weather, the tractors and vintage vehicles came out in numbers to take part in the annual Ballymachugh Tractor run. We were thrilled to see so many beautiful machines lined up through the church carpark.

On behalf of the people of Saint Pauls, Ballymachugh, we wish to extend a big thank you to all involved in the day. To Father Brady who came to join us once again; to Lorna Walker who came for the 2nd year in a row to sit in granny’s old seat and play the organ for us; to the children and teenagers who helped lead the service; to those who cleaned and decorated the church and grounds before and after; to those involved in stewarding, registration, route planning, and general logistics of the day; to those who donated food, baked goods, and goods for the raffle; to those involved in serving tea and coffee; to those who came along to participate in the day; to Tom Michael and team who so valiantly cooked all the food for after the run; to Alan Coote who so kindly came to do the judging of the vehicles once again; and to all who came with a smile on their face to share in the joys of the day.

We hope that for years to come, this event has and will remain an enjoyable experience that brings us all together for fun and fellowship as a community.