The organising group for the recent 'Burns Night' would like to thank all those who attended for their generosity and especialy those who gave donations to the charities even though they were unable to attend. The total raised was £960 and this was divided equally between RUTH and a medical project in Malawi.
Dr Neil Kennedy, a missionary from Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church in Bangor, currently heads up cardiac medical work in Malawi along with a host of other projects, and he has written to thank us for the donation and support. He says,
"although we work in a government hospital where care is free, the drug supply to patients is poor and we often run out of essential medicines. Many of our patients come from far away and cannot afford the transport costs to return for repeat prescriptions - so we like to supply them with 3-4 months supply at a time, something that the hospital pharmacy is unable to do. For instance, I run the only children's heart clinic in the country. Families come from up to 300 miles away. These children would not get the drugs they need to keep them in school and to live a reasonably normal life unless we supplied them with the drugs they cannot get in their local pharmacy. Your gift will allow us to buy enough drugs for that clinic for a year."
If you want to know any more about this work, please speak to Tom Armstrong.
"Mulungu armudalitsen (may God bless you!)"
At Abbots Cross we know how to have a good time...and this certainly was the case on Saturday evening, 30th January 2016, at the Burns' Night celebration. About 100 people from across the generations joined together for a scrumptious dinner, followed by a Scottish musical programme and a Ceilidh. There was even a haggis that was piped in, thanks to Samuel Moore, Joel and Gary O'Rourke. It was a really memorable, and fun evening...a huge thanks to all those who organised the gathering, and a big thanks too to everyone who came along on the night. Almost £1000 was raised for the work of Raising Up The Hurting and the Ekwendeni Mission Hospital in Malawi.
A big thanks to the team of volunteers who led the CAP Job Club at ACPC over the last nine weeks. It was a great encouragement and much appreciated by many in the local community. If you have the opportunity, please pray for those who took part in the course, that they would know God's presence and peace as they seek employment and as they trust Him in all things.
We had a wonderful Coffee Morning on Friday 25th September 2015, to help MacMillan Cancer Support. A huge thanks to the team of volunteers who laid on an incredible spread...and many thanks too to everyone from across the community who came along to support the event. A whopping £853 was raised for MacMillan Cancer Support.
What a week...SPARK Newtownabbey 2015 saw 167 volunteers from 27 different churches, getting together to learn more about what it means to love God with all our lives, and to love those around us in the same way that we have been loved by Him. It was brilliant to see volunteers serving the communities of Rathcoole, Rathfern, Ballyduff, New Mossley, Burnside, Ballyclare and Ballynure. Check out the video above to get a snapshot of all that happened during the week. To see some of the photos taken from the week, visit the SPARK Newtownabbey Facebook page.
The young folks in ROC had a great time at Carnfunnock Country Park on Sunday afternoon 26th April, at their annual ROC BBQ. Although the weather was a little 'iffy' at times, everyone had a great time together. Thanks to all those who came along, and to the leaders of ROC for organising everything.
"Lord, as I stand up from this place, and as I take my first step forward, will You consider that this is a step toward complete obedience to You? I'll call it the Step of Yes." (Brother Andrew, counder of Open Doors)
These powerful words of Brother Andrew were a direct challenge to all of those who came along to the special Open Doors weekend at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church, as we spent time learning more about the challenges faced by brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
Over the course of the weekend, there were a series of events organised for different age groups. These included: a late night coffee bar for teenagers and young adults as we went on a journey across Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt; a special prayer gathering to pray for the persecuted church around the world; the 'God's Smuggler Tour' for Primary School children and their families, finding out more about Brother Andrew and the birth of Open Doors; an all-age family service and then a very special Secret Church service where we worshipped God together in the same way as hidden Christians worship around the world.
Throughout the weekend there was also a Prayer Room set aside to pray for brothers and sisters throughout the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
We were deeply grateful for the work that the staff at Open Doors put in to making this weekend a reality. Many thanks too to everyone who came along. It is our hope and pray that we all will become more intentional in responding to the challenges faced by our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are being persecuted for their faith...and that each of us will obey the call of God on our lives as He uses us to proclaim the great news of Jesus to the world around us, in love and grace.
For more information about Open Doors and the persecuted church, visit the following websites:
It's good to meet together to have a bit of fun from time to time...and fun we definitely had on Saturday evening 28th February 2015 at Abbots Cross. Thanks to Eternity Socials, we enjoyed an evening of ceilidh dancing and party games that involved people from all ages, young and old alike. It was great to see so many there, having a laugh together, and getting to know each other more. A big thank you too to Jane's Kitchens, Broughshane, for providing some tasty supper (Irish stew, wheaten bread, apple tart and cream) and for the ladies who served it.
If you have any ideas of other ways in which we can encourage the church family to have fun and fellowship together, feel free and let us know.
IGNITE was a special one-night-only event for young people and young adults, organised by the SPARK Newtownabbey team. It took place on Sunday 4th January 2015, 8-10pm at Carnmoney Presbyterian Church. It was a great opportunity to come together with young people from across the Borough, to worship God, and to learn more about opportunities to serve in teams, local projects and overseas trips during 2015. There was also an opportunity to learn more about the plans for SPARK Newtownabbey 2015.
It was good to see some of our own young people and young adults come along, and to engage in coversation with a number of the 15 missions agencies that were represented, as they learned about various ways in which we can all serve God both locally and internationally in the year to come.
Thanks to everyone who came along to the Carol Singing at the Four Seasons Care Home and Whiteabbey Hospital on Thursday night, 18th December, and then at Rathfern Social Activity Centre on Friday afternoon, 19th December.
It was great to see so many from different generations across the church family involved, and you can rest assured, everyone was a little more expressive and joyful than the folks in the picture above.
A big thanks to everyone who helped at the TAKE 5 Christmas Special, or who brought their kids along on Wednesday evening, 17th December. We had almost 70 young people who took part at King's Park Primary School, and enjoyed plenty of games, singing, bible stories, drama, quizes and an opportunity to learn more about the King who was born at Christmas.
Please pray for all the children and their families who were part of TAKE 5 - it is our hope that they would come to know Jesus as their Lord, Saviour and Friend!
We had a great night on Sunday evening 7th December 2014 at ACPC, at the annual Senior Citizens' Christmas Dinner. Many of our senior citizens from the church family and from the local community (including friends from Clonmore Nursing Home in Rathcoole) joined together for a mighty turkey dinner (with all the trimmings), followed by a Christmas service in the main hall. It was really good to spend time together, and to remember the true significance of Christmas - the coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
A big thanks to Mary, Lynn, Olive, Wilma, the dish-washers, the young folks who served the meal and everyone who played a part in such a special evening together. We give thanks to God for the opportunity to share these moments together.
On Sunday 12th October the Abbots Cross church family met together for a special Harvest Thanksgiving service at 11am. It was a great opportunity to give thanks to God for His love and goodness to each of us, and to think about the harvest principle of sowing and reaping that Paul mentions in his letter to the Galatians (chapter 6). We had a special Harvest collection, to raise money for PCI's United Appeal Fund.
After the worship service, many folks stayed together and enjoyed a simple bread, cheese and soup lunch. It was a good opportunity to spend time with other church family members, to have fellowship together, and to hear stories from some across PCI who have benefited from the United Appeal funding. A big thanks to all those who helped prepare, serve and clean up after the Sunday lunch. It was really appreciated!
On Friday night 12th September 2014 a crowd of folks from Abbots Cross headed out for an evening of Ten Pin Bowling and Pizza Hut in Glengormley. It was a great night, lots of fun, lots of pizza, and a good opportunity to get caught up with everyone after the summer break. Here's some photos from the evening...
SPARK Newtownabbey took place from 9th-17th August 2014. Over 100 volunteers from churches across Newtownabbey came together to help serve the communities of Rathcoole, Ballyduff and Ballynure. A range of activities took place including community clean ups, gardening support, sports coaching, street parties, kids' clubs, youth drop ins, spending time with senior citizens, and family fun days. A great number of folks from ACPC took part during the SPARK week...here's a short video giving you a little bit of a flavour of what we got up to...
BRAVE ADVENTURES - Standing strong for God
From Monday night 28th July to Friday evening 1st August 2014, 160 young people came along to this Summer's Take 5 Holiday Club at Kings Park Primary School, Newtownabbey. Each night there was lots going on - games, drama, quizzes, memory verses, bible stories, crafts and even a special guest appearance by the latest members of Take 5 - the puppets!
It was a great week when we learnt about Daniel and how he trusted and followed God, through the good times and through the very challenging times. A big thanks to all those who took part in Take 5 and to all the young people for coming along. We hope to see you again very soon!
A big thanks to all those who were able to make it to the North Coast adventure on Saturday 26th July 2014. We had a great afternoon enjoying all that was on offer at Creative Gardens, Galgorm, the Red Sails festival at Portstewart, and then a carvery at Royal Court Portrush. Everyone had a great time and the sun managed to stay shining during the afternoon. A big thanks to Mary Carse for organising a great day away!
As another year of ROC draws to a close, everyone piled into their cars after Sunday morning's service and headed to Carnfunnock Country Park. It was raining at Abbots Cross, but in true fashion (the ROC-ers are a hardy bunch!) they went ahead with their plans. And when they got there, things had thankfully dried up. It turned out to be a great (and dry) afternoon, and the young folks enjoyed the BBQ and making good use of all that was on offer at Carnfunnock Park.
On Saturday night, 10th May 2014, all those in their late teens, twenties and thirties (AKA 'The ENGAGE-ers') got together for some pizza, pudding and party games...yes that's right folks...party games. We went back to our childhood and had a bit of craic doing some weird and wacky team games. The Pizzas and Puddings went down a treat too.
We'll be having a number of ENGAGE nights out over the summer, so stay tuned. The next get together will be on Friday 13th June.
8 cars left the church car park on Friday night 25th April 2014 filled with 38 very excited leaders and girls! We arrived at Castlewellan Castle around 8pm with only a few detours on the way. We went to find out where we would be sleeping (which involved climbing a lot of stairs!) and once rooms were all sorted we headed down to the cellar for some hotdogs. After hotdogs, we went for a walk around the Castle to try and tire some of the girls out before bed. As you may have guessed that mission was completely unsuccessful whenever bedtime rolled around!
On Saturday morning we had a very early wake up call from Mary and then headed down for breakfast. We headed into Newcastle on Saturday morning and then went back up to the Castle to have a time of worship together. We learnt some new songs and Karen told us that the theme for our weekend was God's promises. We learnt about Noah and 2 of the promises that God gave him. This was followed by singing one of our favourite songs in which the chorus reminds us that "the rainbows in the sky are to show that God's promises are true." Late on in the day we all made promise boxes. The idea of the promise box is that on one side of a piece of card you write "God is..." and on the other side you write one or two words to describe the promises that God has given us. Some examples that we thought of were:
God is...greater God is...love God is...always listening God is...in control
God is...immeasurably more God is...our hope
It was pretty amazing and encouraging to see how many promises God has given us in the Bible and how many different ones the girls could think of. I don't think anyone had the same promises in their boxes!
After lunch the sun was shining so we went for a walk around the lake and then had a photo treasure hunt based on Bible verses and the fruits of the Spirit.
We had dinner and then had an Easter egg hunt around the Castle. On Saturday night we got ice-cream and watched Disney's 'Frozen'. Everyone loved it and I think we may have sung along to every word! Not surprisingly everyone fell asleep pretty early on Saturday as we were all exhausted from the night before and the jam packed day that we had.
On Sunday we had Bible class and Karen told us a bit more about God's promises through the life of Abraham. We sang some songs and had a game of Bible swords which got very competitive! Before we left on Sunday we went to the maze and all got extremely lost so it took us a while to find our way out! As you may have guessed, Sunday's car journey home was a lot quieter than Friday's!
I loved learning about God's promises on the weekend. It was great to find out that the theme for Bible class in GB in September will be God's promises, so we all got a little taster for what was in store. I think my favourite part of the weekend was the friendships we all developed. Old friendships were made stronger and it was great to develop new friendships with the girls who would be moving up to our sections in September. I think if you asked anyone who went on the weekend if they would go again, their answer would be yes and I would totally encourage others to come next year!
A huge thank you to everyone who came along to support the Coffee Morning that Megan and Charys O'Rourke, with the help of some adults, organised on Saturday 22nd February at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church. The funds raised from the morning will be sent to the 'Raise the Roof' Choir, which will then go towards helping to build a school in Uganda.
On Wednesday evening, 22nd January 2014 parents, grandparents and youth leaders came together to learn more about various aspects of Social Media. This training was specifically designed to provide practical steps for leaders and parents, enabling them to protect and support healthy relations in the online world.
We looked together at some of the dangers of Social Media, but at the same time stressing that it is something we should embrace and be positive about. Deborah Webster, from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Taking Care Office also used a number of short videos to help convey some of the big issues surrounding how young people use Social Media today.
A number of useful websites were highlighted during the training session, which may be useful for parents and grandparents going forward. These include:
In Abbots Cross we love an excuse for a bit of a party...and New Years Eve is no exception. On 31st December 2013 we had a Secret Agent themed night, full of games, food, craic and a reflection on the year to come. It was a great night for all ages, and provided an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. A big thanks to all those who came along, and to those who organised the event.
Some members of Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church got together to form an impromptu 'choir' to sing carols with Senior Citizens at a Christmas dinner at Rathfern Community Centre on Friday afternoon, 20th December 2013.
It was a great afternoon, and a good opportunity to be part of this special community event. If you're ever passing Rathfern Community Centre, it is well worth popping in to check out the many activities that are run for the local community.
We are blessed in Abbots Cross to have so many people from across the generations, who give of their time to journey with children and young people and to point them to Christ. Our vision for Youth and Children’s Ministry in Abbots Cross is that the church family will be a place where children and young people from all backgrounds become committed followers of Jesus Christ, integrated into a Christian community where they are loved, valued, encouraged, prayed for and equipped for service in the world.
A very simple thing we have been experimenting with over the last year has been to encourage our adults to pray for some of our young people on a regular basis. The PW took up the challenge, and has been coordinating this work over the past 12 months. 26 adults from across the church family are praying regularly for 26 teenagers and young adults. Every three months the young people provide an update on how life is going for them, any answers to prayer, and a couple of specific things they would like prayer for. These updates are then passed on to their prayer partners.
We have been bowled over at how God has been using this simple prayer experiment to bring encouragement, not just to the young folks themselves, but also to those who are praying, and to the families of the children who are being prayed for. It has been great to hear the stories of young people who have felt comforted by knowing that someone is praying for them regularly...and it has been terrific to hear of genuine friendships being developed between prayer partners, bridging the generational divide.
At the beginning of December the PW hosted a night for all the adults praying for young people, and for the young folks themselves. It was a special night where young and old mixed freely, giving thanks for the opportunities to encourage each other in the faith.
Through this simple prayer experiment, which has taken on a life of its own, we have caught a glimpse of the power and beauty of a church family, made up of many generations, praying together, serving together, worshipping together, learning together, having fun together, loving together and all for the sake of God’s glory.
On Saturday 7th September 2013 the heavens opened! The weather forecasters warned us that it would be incredibly wet, and they were right. Now in many other places, with the slightest rain cloud on the horizon, everything would be cancelled...but not so in Abbots Cross. Everyone rolled their sleeves up, got their wellie boots on, opened up their brollies and were determined to keep the Family Fun Day going for the community that they love!
And what a day we had. Those who turned up with cars packed with things to sell, set up their stalls in the church halls. The bouncy castle and bungee run got moved indoors too, much to the delight of the kids that used them. The climbing wall was erected outside and many young people and those young-at-heart enjoyed trying to get to the top in the slippery conditions.
The police and fire services popped round to chat about the work they are doing in the local community. This provided a great opportunity for young and old alike to take a look at the workings of a fire engine and the inside of a police landrover.
Alan Nixon, football coach and ex-Glentoran footballer, called in to lead a penalty-shoot out competition, while some of the young folks at Abbots Cross church tapped into their creative side by painting other's faces!
For those who found their tummies rumbling, there were burgers and hotdogs on sale...milkshakes and crepes made to order...an endless amount of goodies in the tuck shop...and the ladies of the church played a blinder with tea, coffee, wee buns and an incredible cake sale.
And if that wasn't enough, there was a Scavenger Hunt, Colouring Competition and live music throughout the morning. It was a terrific day, despite the weather. It was wonderful to see so many from the local community pop in and get involved in all that was happening. We hope this will be one of many opportunities to serve the local community and to get to know folks more. A huge thank you to everyone who helped in so many ways to make this year's Family Fun Day a really great and memorable time.
"This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
It was great to welcome a crowd of folks in their teens, twenties and thirties to Mark and Gillian's home on Friday night. There was nothing fancy planned other than ordering in a Chinese, having a bit of banter with everyone, enjoying some calorific home made desserts, and for afters trying to cook marshmallows over a roasting hot fire, without burning our eye brows in the process!
It was a good opportunity to get caught up with others, and to make some new friends that were able to come along too. Hopefully there will be more times like this one, where we can enjoy each other's company and encourage each other along the way as well.
Thanks to Lisa and Cathy for organising the night, and for everyone who came along. If you would like to find out more about Engage, and how you can get involved, please get in touch with us - we'd love to hear from you!
During the summer of 2013 we had our annual TAKE 5 Holiday Bible Club at Kings Park Primary School, Newtownabbey. It took place from 29th July to 2nd August, and over 170 young people from across the local community came along. It was a lot of fun, with the young people enjoying doing bible stories, quizzes, memory verses, games, singing, drama and lots more besides! The theme for this year was 'Amazing Treasures.'
We're looking forward to more Take 5 evenings at Kings Park Primary School later this year (during half term, Christmas and then Easter of next year). We look forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions or would like any further information about Take 5, feel free to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org Or submit a Question Form.
Between 20 and 24 young people came along to the Summer Soccer School at Kings Park Primary School, every night from Monday 29th July to Friday 2nd August 2013. Even in the pouring rain on some of the evenings, a team of loyal wannabe-footballers made their way to Kings Park for the coaching sessions!
Alan Nixon, former Glentoran footballer and now full-time coach, encouraged the young people to take part in a range of warm up sessions, football skills development and mini-league play offs. At half time, there was a further coaching session with a difference, when Alan and some of the other coaches shared what it means to believe in an follow Jesus.
It was a great week, with all of the young folks and their coaches thoroughly enjoying the week. There'll be another opportunity to get linked in with Alan Nixon at the Family Fun Day at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church on Saturday 7th September 2013.
On Saturday 27th July 2013 a crowd of folks from Abbots Cross church family ventured to the North Coast. The weather was incredible - it was a real scorcher - which helped everyone to enjoy the beauty of the North Coast even more.
We made a pit stop in Logan's at Cloughmills along the way and then headed to Portstewart for ice-cream. The place was packed and there was a really great atmosphere in the town.
After a little time of topping up our tans, we headed to the Royal Court Hotel just outside Portrush, where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner together overlooking the White Rocks beach.
It was a terrific day and a great opportunity to spend time with others from across the church family. A big thanks to everyone who came along, and especially to Mary Carse who organised the trip.
As the summer heatwave intensified, so too did the competition, as ENGAGE hit the Crazy Golf Course at Dundonald. Move over Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, for quite a few of the folks that came along displayed some great golfing skills as they mastered the course...there were even a few hole-in-ones. McFlurrys all round to celebrate.
A big thanks to Lisa Moore and Cathy Smyth for organising a great night out. The next ENGAGE get together is planned for Friday evening 23rd August 2013. Watch this space for more details.
On Wednesday evening, 3rd July 2013, the church family of Abbots Cross gathered together for a special Congregational meeting to discuss the renovation plans for the main church building. Overwhelming support was given to proceed with the proposed renovation project. This will involve the demolition of the vestibule (the main entrance to the church) and stage, replacing these with a smaller foyer and central entrance into the main church sanctuary. Demolition will also take place at the rear of the building, making way for a spacious social area, an office, multipurpose room and toilets. We are persuaded that these renovations will provide us with more modern facilities, which will be an important investment in the work that will go on here in the years to come.
To find out more about the project as it develops over the next couple of years, have a look at the Renovation Project page that we've set up under the 'About Us' section of the website. Here we hope to provide regular updates on the renovation project, along with some information about how you can support this work.
We firmly believe that a church is about people. Our vision is that our buildings should be used fully and creatively to share the great news of Jesus to everyone across the community, both now and in the generations to come.
On Friday night, 21st June 2013, the heavens opened...but that didn't stop a crowd of people from Abbots Cross gathering together and venturing out on a treasure hunt across the local community. People from all ages came along and were sent out in teams of four or five, following clues that had been cleverly crafted by Ivan Neish.
There was lots of fun had by all, despite the weather...by the end of the treasure hunt folks were glad to get into the dry hall and enjoy some tasty burgers, hotdogs and ice cream served up by Tommy and Karen McWatters and their team of willing helpers.
Congratulations to Jim and Wilma O'Rourke's team who won the treasure hunt, followed a close second by Drew and Jean Marno's team, with Gary O'Rourke's team coming third.
A big thanks to everyone who came along to the make the night a lot of fun. Thanks too to Ivan, Karen and Tommy for all their behind the scenes work - we really appreciated it!
On Friday night 24th May 2013 over seventy folks from Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church booked out the local Sports Bowl for some ten-pin bowling, and then headed over to Glengormley's Pizza Hut, where we tucked in to some tasty pizzas, pastas, salad and ice-cream galore! It was a fun night out for the whole family.
A big thanks to everyone who came, and also to the staff at Glengormley Sports Bowl and Pizza Hut for looking after us so well.
This is the first of hopefully many church family nights out in the months to come. Keep an eye on the Upcoming Events page of the website for details of other social activities that are planned.