Archive | September, 2010

Follow Stevie in Cyprus

28 Sep

Short-term servant and seminal ex-Renwick House centre back Stevie McCollum has started a blog, to chronicle his time working with the church in Cyprus. You can find it here. He posts useful prayer points, and, less usefully, photos of where he puts his toilet paper. But don’t let that put you off, it’s well worth a read.

Renwick 1 Sandmount FC 2

24 Sep

A new season began on Wednesday for Renwick, and with many former greats having moved on to greener pastures, it was an unfamiliar XI which lined up on Pitch 7 at the Dub for this glamour friendly. Looking resplendent in his bright orange keeper kit, new manager James McCullough rang the changes, giving Luke Campbell and Ali McCollum their Renwick debuts. Captain Ben Hanna and Chris Carson found themselves in an unfamiliar pairing at the centre of the defence, with Richard McKelvey at right back. However the centre of midfield had the reassuring presence of Andy McKelvey, who was soon joined by Gavin Blackwell, once he had conveyed Joel Cromie to the match from Central Station. Michael Hawthorne and Phil Aicken initially joined McKelvey in a midfield trio, with Robert Cromie and Ali Rolleston joining Campbell in making up the front three.

As with many new-look teams, Renwick started slowly, and were soon behind. Hanna and Carson were both caught out by a through ball and the Sandmount forward was left with a simple finish past the onrushing McCullough. Sandmount were in the ascendency and one soon became two, with a cheap freekick been given away on the edge of the box. There was no doubting the quality of the strike though, a perfectly placed curler into the top corner. With Cromie junior and Taxiwell now raring to go, Rolleston and Campbell were replaced and these substitutes seemed to revitalise Renwick. Within 5 minutes they had pulled a goal back, Blackwell and Cromie senior exchanging a series of neat passes before the Donegal man’s speculative 30-yard drive beat the keeper and dipped under the crossbar. Renwick spent the remainder of the first half pressing for an equaliser, but bar a few half chances there was little action of note.


The goal

McCullough changed things at HT, switching to a 4-4-2 with the brothers Cromie up front, and Campbell and R. McKelvey traded places at full back. For the majority of the second period, Renwick were well on top, owing largely to the driving midfield play of Blackwell and A. McKelvey. Both Cromies had chances aplenty as they combined well, but both were guilty of profligacy on several occasions. As the half drew on, Renwick couldn’t maintain their frantic tempo and the match largely petered out, bar a few set pieces towards the end. Sandmount rarely threatened in the second half but were more than combative and showed that they could have a good season ahead in the Belfast Superleague.

There were plenty of positives to draw from the performance despite the disappointing defeat. Despite a shaky start, the new centre-back pairing showed definite promise, and sheer volume of chances created offers hope for the rest of the campaign. Add to that the prospect of further new faces becoming available over the next few weeks and things are still looking rosy for the Elmwood outfit at the dawn of a campaign, perhaps even a new era.

Man of the match: Chris Carson – grew quickly into his new role at the heart of the defence, and put in an excellent performance despite early shakiness.

Renwick: McCullough; R McKelvey, Hanna, Carson, McCollum; Hawthorne, A McKelvey, Aicken; Campbell, R Cromie, Rolleston. Subs: J Cromie, Blackwell

Reflections on the Pope’s Visit

23 Sep

Pope Benedict visited Britain last weekend and Pastor David McCullough shared some reflections from the pulpit during Sunday’s Evening Service.

This is also available in the form of the latest blog post at He Rules Over the Nations.

Philip Dunwoody has also posted some thoughts on his blog.

Too Easily Pleased

17 Sep

(HT: All4God)

An important C.S. Lewis quote brought to life through a Desiring God video.

Stranraer GO Team

13 Sep

That’s right folks, GO Team report season continues here on AK. This time, it’s the turn of Stranraer which took place on Saturday 4th September. (see controversial section of comments concerning Committees, Weddings and Bun-Clarification here.)

Once finding out our hastily put together travel arrangements, we found ourselves sitting in the foot-passenger section of Belfast’s Stena Line Port at the early hour of 6.15am. The murky morning didn’t dampen our spirits, and soon there were 7 Team Members, 3 Cooks and a Mr and Mrs Loughridge setting off across the Pond for our days work in Stranraer. I myself was a bit apprehensive, not at the prospect of doing a days work in Scotland, but more at the fact that if I bought the ridiculously over-priced Fry, I may end up seeing it again due to the rocky nature of the journey.

One hour into our crossing, I was told that there was ‘only two hours to go’ until we reached our destination, so of course cards were brought out to pass the time and it wasn’t long before the Team was involved in an intense game of Pitt while Ken worked on the Trinity announcements for the following morning. (Unfortunately there was no opportunity to hi-jack these and make some funny changes.)

Tom and Pete wolfing down their Fry

You think Brenna looks annoyed here? You should have seen Pete when there was no match report in the paper of N.I's 1-0 away win!

A drowsy Tom during Pitt

On arrival at Stranraer, we were whisked away in cars to our HQ for the day, Stranraer’s hall, where we enjoyed a much needed cup of Coffee or Tea and we also met up with the group that came down from Airdre to help out (despite reports that Beth was driving slowly cautiously). Shortly after, we started into our Leaflet Distribution for the day, some of us headed into villages on the outskirts of Stranraer whereas others targeted the centre of the town. The invites were simply inviting the local people to come  to the services along with a short explanation of why they should return to Church.We arrived back to HQ for Lunch and were greeted by glorious smells which meant that there would be no salad sandwiches served but cocktail sausages and potatoes galore.

Although the Distribution was our main ministry of the day, but we also went into one of the Nursing Homes just up the road from the Church in the afternoon. This was an enouraging time of praise as many of the older folks were able to sing along with the Psalms and Ken Nelson spoke for a short while. After this we dusted off the rest of the leaflets in good time, meaning the total for the day was around 800 distributed.

Capturing a rare photo of Beth!

George, the affectionately named 'Crazy Ken' and Bob

The rest of the day consisted of sharing in a time of fellowship with the members of Stranraer, we had tea together and then a short period of Psalm Singing (from the old Psalter…so of course I messed up quite alot) and before we knew it, the time had come to wave goodbye and head back to the Port.

The way home was a sleepy one, after some consumption of food and games of Pitt we were soon back in Belfast and heading our seperate ways. It was strange being on a GO Team for just a day, the main benefit I felt was the opportunity to encourage the people of Stranraer, they clearly loved having us over and it was nice to be over and help them with their outreach. Much prayer is needed for the future of the congregation however, so please remember this work.

Stephen with the condemned chair in the background!

Connor and Stephen cracking jokes about the Pulpit...

Convoy & Stranorlar GO Team

9 Sep

In response to Ali’s gentle-but-amusing jibes in his Derry post about what I’ve been up to, I thought I’d better set the record straight by recounting the 11th Convoy & Stranorlar GO Team. Consider yourself in the loop, dear reader…

Despite the apparently commonly-held belief up North that Donegal is an island, accessible only by ferry or raft, six intrepid adventurers turned up at Glebe Hollow in Stranorlar on August 14th to join everyone’s favourite joint charge for our annual GO week. These troopers were Tom Somerville (foxy-eyed), Eleanor McCollum (running and running), Gavin McCaughan (destroyer of stair rods), Catherine McCullough (tea-pourer par excellence), Sarah Morrison (only came to get her Queen’s Award), and Factor 50 Pete (Pete burns, who knew?). They were joined by a cast of thousands, not least our three cooks Jenny, Helen and Elma, who once again surpassed themselves culinarily, although Rosemary may beg to differ, give the pea-content of the lasagne. Also assisting were many of our two congregations’ young people, and to be fair, the rest of the not-so-young people too. Spearheading this operation was myself, leading in a style I like to think of as being equal parts Tony Blair, Tony Adams, and Tony the Tiger.

Photos courtesy of Catherine, the only person thoughtful enough to bring a camera, although not thoughtful enough to take any pictures of any work being done

After the team arrived on Saturday afternoon and were briefed on the week’s activities, we headed to Longs’ for a congregational BBQ, which was a really great way to start the week, with plenty of banter to be had thanks to Chip’s games in the field, and a meteor shower perfectly visible in the clear Donegal sky. The good weather continued into Sabbath, which was probably the best day of the summer heat-wise, further lifting the spirits of our visitors, already enchanted by their period residence on Stranorlar’s Main Street, shower leak over Pete’s bed notwithstanding. Morning worship on Sabbath was followed by a congregational lunch (we’re big into communal dining in C&S), and an afternoon off to enjoy the sunshine, or indeed, in the case of more elderly participants, the inside of one’s eyelids. We finished off the day with a Psalm sing and prayer time in Convoy.

Monday dawned predictably damp, and we got stuck into the week’s work. After our team Bible study and prayer time, we set about giving out our 3000 4you magazines to homes in Stranorlar, Ballybofey, Convoy, Killygordon and Castlefin. These leaflets are fantastically put-together and faithfully preach the message of salvation, and no church in our denomination would have the resources to create something as good as them. Although they don’t lend themselves to letterboxes. In the afternoons, our activities were varied. We offered our cleaning and general odd-jobbing services to families from the Parent & Toddlers club, and also church members. We went into several homes and cleaned, dusted, hoovered, painted and the like. Daphne, Matthew and I fared much better than anyone else, as we received benefits-in-kind as a means of thanks at one home, including salami from Harrods, among, er, other things! Matthew will get his gift when he turns 18. We also had an afternoon off on Wednesday, consisting once again of a nap for some, and not much else for others. On Thursday, we went to Stephen & Joanne’s home for a seminar on World Missions. The presentation Steve used for this is available here, and is well worth a look. On Friday, we headed back to Longs’ to bake for that evening’s events, more of which later.

Gavlar got flippin’ stuck in

Sadly there are no photos of the alternative top hats Joel and I produced, including one with marshmallow arch and the tallest top hat ever created

From Monday to Wednesday some of the team were involved in a Holiday Bible Club held in Convoy. At least, that was the plan originally, but as numbers swelled to an unprecedented 40 children over the 3 evenings, more of us had to muck in. This was probably the most encouraging aspect of the week, as at previous HBCs there had been a max of around 16 kids, so for 40 to turn out, meaning we had to ask to use extra rooms at the venue was really exciting. Praise God that He brought along so many youngsters and that we were able to preach the Gospel to them!

On the Thursday evening, the congregations hosted a public meeting on local poet (and former Stranorlar RPC member) David Cunningham, and another Stranorlar alumni, Raymond Blair, was the speaker. Despite the lack of enthusiasm for the subject matter from team members, Raymond did a great job of expounding and explaining Cunningham’s works, and the meeting drew in people from the community who perhaps would not have darkened the church’s door otherwise. The highlight was Raymond clearly presenting the message of Christ, and those attending could not have failed to understand its implication. Then on Friday night, something altogether different, as the Agnew family (plus assorted Matthesses (Matthi?) and others!) returned to entertain the congregation and friends with an evening of banjo-centric japery. Just as they did last year, they put on a great show, with an eclectic mix of styles, and successfully overcame the dreadful acoustics in Stranorlar church building. The team’s job was to make and serve supper, and despite Catherine leaving a few people with moist laps, this passed off without major incident.

No-one thought to take photos of this year’s performance, so this is what the Agnews and friends looked like just over a year ago

After we debriefed each evening (with predictable lame jokes), there was a semi-obligatory time of team “bant”, usually taking place just after I went to bed. Activities included being irritated by Rosemary, basking in Pete’s auburn glow, nearly breaking the chandolier in the team house with a stray chair, and fives. Eleanor especially made the most of these times, resulting in her missing of the final Bible study of the week on Friday morning, as she had only been woken twice.

Our final task as a team was to help out at the Mums’ Breakfast on the Saturday morning, setting up tables, chairs and food, and also babysitting the legion of babies and toddlers who came along with their Ma. Brenda Kelso spoke after the meal, and by all accounts it was really challenging to the women present, several of whom bought some of the books that Brenda had brought along, which was a big encouragement. Once this was complete, we headed back to the house to have a quick feedback session, before everyone repaired to popular seafood eatery The John Dory for lunch. Although I wasn’t invited! But I got over it.

A massive thanks to the team, who were a pleasure to lead, and all those who from the congregations who got stuck in as well. All in all, it was a really good week, with some epic craic and true blessings from God. Pray that He would be pleased to continue to work in our congregations and that we would faithfully sow the seeds of His word.

More photos:

Helene gets to experience a rare privilege: Huggable Pete

Ladies’ Captain Rosemary Long, who thoughtfully chucked Catherine out of her room so she could have a double bed all to herself

Watch, watch, WATCH!!! THE CHANDOLIER!!!

Eleanor, definitely not pictured here at Friday morning’s Bible study

The Milford Rejects/Londonderry/Derry/Bready GO Team

8 Sep

Apologies for our recent lack of activity on Another King, most of the writers have had a fairly busy few weeks, James has been touching numerous smelly feet of children whilst having to endure a topsy turvey time of exams/remarks, if you don’t know what Robert’s been up to then you’re clearly out of the loop and Andy remains the only one with a viable excuse as he continues his work placement. Hopefully we will be back to regular business shortly!

So yes, here it is, the GO Team report for whichever of the above titles you find is the most appropriate. I’m fairly sure that most people didn’t even know that there was going to be a GO Team here untill some Prayer Points were sent round, so hopefully i’ll shed some light on the foundation work that was being done this year in the UK’s recently voted City of Culture!

Our week began by gathering where Gateway Christian Fellowship (the official name for the new work in Derry) are meeting for worship, Steven Robinson is heading up this work and he was there to welcome us and we then were led in worship by Andrew Lytle. It was a record number of attendance that week however that was mainly due to Team Members and some visitors from Bready and Faughan. They are meeting monthly in the Junction on Bishop’s Street and there have already been some people come along to the services.

After this, we were treated to our first bout of what proved to be a week of amazing generousity and hospitality from the Bready congregation. The Team enjoyed having a relaxing afternoon, one where Anna got lost on the way to the toilet and also asked if cows are milked on Sundays due to it being a day of rest (this of course opening the floodgates for slagging her for the rest of the week). We enjoyed great food and a lovely walk before being whisked away to the Evening Service and then spent a brief time of fellowship with the Bready congregation. Before we knew it, we were left in the Church by ourselves and we then went about setting a few things up to try and make the place a bit more homely for our weeks stay.

Our days on the Team followed pretty much the same routine, after a quick breakfast and morning devotions, we were straight into our Leaflet Distribution, this was spearheaded by Fergus Marshall and we ventured into areas on both the Waterside and Cityside, distributing a very well put together leaflet that proclaimed the Gospel and advertised Gateway’s upcoming events. Despite some of these areas being quite a distance from Gateway (I quickly realised that my pre-Team thoughts of us going into the Bogside and other closer areas wouldn’t come to pass), let’s hope and pray that many would have read and been really interested in this new work and also hope that in future years, more direct areas could be reached. By the end of the week, we had given out our 5000 leaflets and they seemed well recieved by the communities we went into, we were also very grateful for the support from the willing volunteers from Bready and Faughan that helped each day.

Putting Coffee into her breakfast bowl wasn't a good start to the week for Erin...

Following a quickly devoured lunch which was usually prepared by the girls as Pete and I continued our Table Tennis Championship (he won 17-12 in the end), we gathered for the afternoon Bible Study. Blair took these and there was no repeat of those Gartmore Family Worships or Announcements as they went very well and each Team Member was challenged by them as we chatted about various approaches/techniques to evangelism and how to transfer them into different situations. We also benefitted from a structured prayer time at the end of the Study, a highlight of the day for me.

There was time set aside after the Study for some “practical work”, don’t be fooled, this wasn’t any thing in the community, it was really just a general clean up of Bready Manse! Pete F was able to vent his frustrations as when he was given the task of clipping the hedge, he had some how managed to cut clean through the wire within the first few minutes……his punishment was then to pick ivy out or a predominantly ivy hedge for the rest of the afternoon. The girls also enjoyed having to wipe down garden chairs and tables with what were presumably old pairs of McFarland boxers!

Practical Pete and his punishment

Each evening we were graciously welcomed into one family’s home from the Bready congregation, this was a great time of fellowship among the family as well as some of Bready’s other young people who came along too, also the food was immense and we were stuffed after each course. Pete F’s reputation clearly preceeded him as one evening, a lady commented on “Peter’s good Faughan appetite”….at this point I nearly spat out my mince and potatoes in trying not to laugh.

Following our massive feed, it was quite hard to move and get motivated to head back to the Church for more work. Each evening, we were heading out to areas near Bready Church to carry out some Door-to-Door work, basically giving out invites to some guest services in October where Stuart Olyott is preaching. There were some good conversations had throughout the course of the week, however after chatting during a Bible Study, we decided to draw up a Questionnaire for the last evening to help stimulate conversation and these worked very well in trying to open people up and draw their attention to the advertised Christianity Explored course.

We finished up when it was starting to get dark and then regrouped back in the kitchen at Bready to have a chat about that evenings exploits. Our day was then topped off by some hot chocolate and Evening Devotions which was another highlight for me. After this was finished we generally got quite competitive and played numerous games of Pitt and Dutch Blitz or else used the Hall for some Volleyball, Football or Uni-Hoc before people headed off to their comfy air matresses.

Out for Dinner

The abuse clearly got a bit much for Tish-Bug

We did manage to get two breaks from the routine during the week. Wednesday’s spontaneous evening off was a result of us being so tired and full after a lovely evening meal at the Buchannan’s that we couldn’t move at all, it turned into a great evening of not just team bonding, but also again with the other young people from Bready. We ventured on a short walk down to the Foyle, took a few pictures and then the girls made a horrendous decision to watch ‘Leap Year’, typical predictable rom-com stuff, although it was laughable bad at stages.

On Thursday afternoon, we decided to really get to grips with Stroke City and so we decided to go for a tour of Blair led by Blair around the city walls. It was my first time up there and I loved it, my GCSE History was flooding back to me and made me realise that this was a central part to our Northern Irish heritage and history. The fantastic afternoon was completed by a trip to St. Colum’s Park (a hot spot for new R.P couples apparently as a certain Team member mentioned how much they liked it!), we had a great time on the newly built play parks and then finished off with a game of Ultimate Frisbee.

The Collins'!

Skills Junior

Wearing Erin's out Andy...

Out on the Tour!

Pete was clearly happy to go inside the CoI Cathedral

Peter was still feeling awkward after the 'Hedge Clipper Incident'

Going crazy after playing Frisbee

The team finished with the Congregational BBQ on Friday evening held at the Manse, this meant there was more ‘practical work’ in the afternoon as we prepared an evening of fellowship with the people of Bready. It was a lovely time where we got to share our experiences of the weeks work with most of the folk there, eat great good and also the sunset was glorious so it was a great way to end the week.

Anna giving it stacks!

Pete F's uncomfortable hiding place

Texting 'Tom'?!

Letitia's favourite activity of the week

Most of the Team stayed over untill Saturday for the CY Conference so after some tidying up, we were by ourselves again in the Church, after our last Evening Devotions and Rachel and Letitia’s 1 Billionth Cup of Tea, we headed off to Tescos and McD’s to get some supplies. When we got back, we started into playing the scariest game of Sardines i’ve ever played, those country congregations are properly dark at night! I also witnessed Pete F manage to squeeze himself into the most uncomfortable hiding place leaving the last three people completely clueless as to where we were. After we eventually listened to Anna about her complaining about the dark, we started a game of Twister and played long into the night.

A fantastic team which was completely different from what I had in mind before I arrived. Let’s hope that the foundation work done this year will be building blocks for the GO Committee to work off and may Gateway Christian Fellowship and Bready be advanced from the work that was done.

Team Members:

  • Peter ‘the destroyer’ Fallows
  • Jonny ‘texting Tom’ Collins
  • Alastair ‘So…… was your day?’ McCollum
  • Derek ‘back to school’ Lynch
  • Rachel ‘from Newtownabbey direction’ Weatherup
  • Anna ‘wants a night-light’ Collins
  • Letitia ‘sweetpea’ Magee
  • Erin ‘honey’ McCollum
  • Sharon ‘LONDONderry’ Buchannan