Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

Rev. Stephen Neilly

29 Jun

Former minister of 3rd Portglenone Presbyterian, Rev. Stephen Neilly, applied to become a minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland at Synod earlier this month. It was decided that he would be available for a call from next January. Rev. Neilly preached in Dromore recently and I thought some of you might be interested to see who he is and watch his two sermons from Luke 9.

UK Abortion Advert

21 May

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

The first advertising break during Monday night’s heavily promoted “The Million Pound Drop: Live” will include an advertisement by the abortion provider Marie Stopes International. Although the advert will not mention the word “abortion” it points people towards the organisation’s 24-hour helpline. This advert will run until the end of June is clearly offering abortion advice. SPUC rightly describe it as trivialising the issue of abortion. A procedure which took away the life of 215,975 UK babies in 2008 and harms many women will be promoted like new brand of cheese or a Slimfast diet.

A still from the advert

According to the Newsletter, Channel 4 have chosen not to broadcast the 30-second clip in Northern Ireland because abortion remains effectively illegal on this island. The exclusion of NI should not stop us voicing our opposition to this advertisement. We should respond sensitively to women in difficult situations but abortion is never the answer.

Read more from the Christian Institute.

Goodbye Pluto Review

19 Feb

Guest Post from Alistair Rolleston reviewing local band Goodbye Pluto’s self-titled debut EP.

Writing a review on local talent can be difficult at times. Feeling you owe them a good review because they’re ‘Born of our Land’ while not actually liking their music is a danger. Doubly so when it’s a new, young band as you really don’t want to throw them into the dirt before they’ve even found their feet.

Thankfully, Ballymena based Goodbye Pluto made my life a lot easier with the release of their self-titled EP, because it’s rather fantastic. Sara Crockett, Peter Burton, Clark Thompson and Daniel Ross have started to make their own little mark on the local music scene, and it’s a little mark which could very quickly turn into something much, much bigger. Listening through the EP I had to keep reminding myself that several of the band members are still at school, with a sound and presence years ahead of themselves. Comparisons to Paramore are inevitable, even if they were only a rock band with a female vocalist, but the style of the music is very close as well, and Crockett’s powerhouse vocals will be drawing many a Williams’ comparison. Seriously, girl can sing.

The EP opens with the distorted sounds of “Distance”, which is an interesting and curious opener, showcasing mainly Peter’s skills on the guitar and actually reminds me for some reason of the Foo Fighters.  The second track was my first ever experience of Goodbye Pluto, and to date, “Fall from Grace” remains one of my favourites, with fantastic vocals and lyrics throughout. It’s been produced differently from the version I had earlier heard, so I now have two quite different incarnations of the song.

“Heart made of Glass” is the real stand out track on the EP, lyrically and musically. Parts of the song leave the vocals very exposed and it’s paid off well, showing that Crockett doesn’t need the other instruments to make her sound good. Again Peter shows himself to be a stand-out guitarist, while Clark and Daniel provide a fantastic foundation for the band to stand on. “These Four Walls” again showcase the talent of the whole band, fantastically driven in parts.

Next big thing? Goodbye Pluto are certainly going places, count on that. If they keep producing music like this, it’s not going to be long before they make it big.

EPs cost £5 and are available from the band themselves and at their shows, or talk to Hannah Drennan or Abi Nelson who may be able to sort you out with one.

You can listen to some of the tracks on their Myspace site.

Reflections on Spotlight and the Robinsons

11 Jan

During last week the personal and political scandal surrounding Iris Robinson and her husband, the First Minister, emerged as a result of a BBC Spotlight programme. I watched horrified, confused and not sure what to think. On Sunday, Dad shared some Biblical thoughts on the matter from the pulpit.

Rev. David McCullough’s Reflections


1. God know’s everything there is to know

2. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked

3. The grace of God is glorious

4. Sin has its consequences

5. All men have feet of clay

6. We are to pray

Renwick House 08-09

8 Jun

Having moved out of Renwick last week, I was persuaded to write something about it..

football dinner

12 of the 14 lovely people who lived in Renwick

Renwick House is a fine establishment, sitting proudly at number 42 on Elmwood Avenue in Belfast, which provides accommodation for 14 young people studying or working in the Belfast area. But there’s so much more to it than that..

me pancakes

Having fun…which almost always resulted in eating..

newspaper room 2


street frisbee

Street Frisbee

luke chair

The night a chair went through a window!

kathryn me emmaline

andy lynch

Andy Lynch..very impressive



Renwick is overseen by a committee, they look after us well (Click to view larger)


Pete G wearing a balaclava and kilt turban. Whatever next..

me emmaline swings


The last week consisted of sun, the zoo, Bangor, no exams, for me anyway, indoor water fights, Prison Break, multiple barbeques, packing up, getting burnt, 123, 2am trips to Tesco, saying goodbye, chinese, night time frisbee, Crawfordsburn, Helen’s Bay, swans, all-nighters and a whole pile more..


First of all we went to the zoo…




We have Sam to thank for the fantastic photography


Wot you lookin’ at?





Helen’s Bay


Firing rocks into the sea. Towards the end half cooked sausages were used. Very funny..


Unfortunately for Richard, you can’t get the real bbq effect from a clingfilmed plate of food and a microwave..

phil girls



swans bangor 2

Swans in Bangor

swans bangor

Pickie Park – that place you always see on those Snow Patrol t-shirts..




The fire Sam and I started, which was eventually used to cook food on!



Renwick 08-09…we’re cool

The most saddening aspect of the week was of course having to move out, and in particular the removal of stuff from my room. Just look at the change Room 2 went under in the space of a few weeks…

room2 before and after


Bad times..

So, if you find yourself facing living in Belfast, I can’t recommend Renwick enough. It’s great.


Renwick House – the meaning of life?

A Bad Reason to Vote

3 Jun

“Voting to keep the others out”

The elections leaflets I have had through my door are full of scaremongering and calls for the electorate to turn out on 4th June for the European Elections in order to prevent others taking office. Even Christians can be sucked in by this mentality of needing to vote to keep others out but this is a horrendous reason for followers of Christ to vote.

Is Christ not King over all? (Rev 17:14)

Is He not the Lord who keeps? (Ps 121:5)

Is not able to keep regardless of who sits in Brussels?


Our primary allegiance to King Jesus means it makes sense only to vote for those who recognise his Kingship, live a consistent Christian life, promise to frame their policies by God’s Word and explicitly dissent from all within their political system that is opposed to Christ the King.

We can declare that “there is another King, one called Jesus” by refusing to vote in fear for candidates who do not fulfil these criteria. Even if this means, as I think it does in my constituency, choosing not exercise to the right to vote.



Pupils vs Staff Football Match

12 May

One of the highlights of my time at Friends’ School Lisburn occurred only a few weeks ago when the Staff agreed to play the Pupils in a game of football.

If we’d won I’d have probably posted this alot sooner.

The game started with both sides playing very nervous football and the tone was set for a physical encounter when a certain James McCullough barely avoided a yellow within the first two minutes. The staff created a few early chances but the partnership of Robbo and Chesnutt failed to captalise whilst at the other end the attacking pace of Glen Whitten and Gerrard Killough threatened repeatedly when provided with chances from the midfield field trio of Keag, Campbell and Tracey. A missed clearance from RE teacher Chesnutt allowed Gerry to poke home a 1-0 lead which the pupils protected until half-time.

Shortly after the restart a controversial decision by referee Mr McCrea allowed Mr Wilson, the staff goalkeeper, to remain on the pitch despite a rugby-style tackle on an opposing midfielder following a goalkeeping error that looked certain to double the Pupils’ lead. It was two defensive errors at the other end that would settle the fate of the match. Craig “Foxy” Cunnningham was thrown forward from the Staff defense and his lightning pace caused havoc amongst what had previously looked like a sturdy back four. The equaliser came when Pupil keeper Stuart Law had a Fabien Barthez moment, deciding to attempt to chip the oncoming Mr Cunningham rather than hoof the ball upfield. The delighted teacher relished the easy tap-in whilst his side sensed panic amongst the Pupils. A few minutes later Romanian striker Alex Bouzziano had a chance to restore the lead of the Class of 09 but headed the ball narrowly over.

The Pupil’s defence had employed the offside trap effectively throughout the game as it greatly perplexed Rugby coach Mr Robinson but it was this tactic that proved to be their undoing. A run from deep saw the defence caught flat footed and Mr Cunningham score his second goal of the game. The Pupil side pushed for an equaliser but were denied by a stunning save from Mr. Wilson and defenders throwing their bodies in the way of a last second James Keag attempt.

Thank you to the teachers for playing. It was truly one of my favourite moments of school though I’d still be up for a rematch sometime.


Cambi brings the ball out


Colm rises for a header


Time for a measured pass/ hoof


Pupils defend a corner




Robbo v Kenny


Robbo on the ball


Cambi nods clear


Beatty puts the pressure on


Colin the Maintence Man- like Robbie Savage without the hair


 Moment of madness


“I thought I’d chip Mr Cunningham and make him look stupid”


As easy as catching fish for the Kilkeel man


 Jacko closes down Woods


Buzzy heads over the bar/ bit of rope


Second goal for the Staff


Keag couldn’t find a way past Mr. Wilson

All photos are from the 2nd half and were kindly provided by James Scott.

Final Score: Pupils 1 Staff 2