Minister: Rev Andrew Watson
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Psalm 100 v 4
Carrigart is a small village on the Rosguill Peninsula of County Donegal. The village is a popular holiday destination due to its proximity to the many beaches of nearby Downings and Rosapenna. Our Church is on Church Road, heading out of Carrigart towards Milford.
A warm welcome for visitors to Sunday services is always guaranteed!
The Bewglas Centre shares the church grounds. It is a Christian Conference/Residential Centre offering self-catering accommodation for up to 35 people and may be booked on a weekly or weekend basis, or even for a day conference. Click the heading above for further details.
Carrigart Presbyterian Church is now on Facebook! Please like and share.
(Read Isaiah 26 and Matthew 6 vs 5-13)
So how are the self-isolation and social distancing going in your home?
‘Cabin fever’ hasn’t hit us too badly yet, though to date both cars are washed, the garden fence is repainted and Hazel has rearranged the kitchen cupboards. New tunes are being learnt and old board games exhumed. So far, so good!
We can laugh and humour is one coping mechanism to help us through these challenging times, along with patience, courage and public spirited kindness.
And faith? Where does that come in, if at all?
Christians are grateful that we can bring our concerns to God. In His great Sermon on the Mount our Master encouraged His followers to bring our requests to ‘Our Father in Heaven’, confident He already knows and cares about our needs. Here’s what He says, ‘When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father Who is unseen. Then your Father Who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ (Matthew 6 v 6)
Jesus was saying this by way of contrast to some religious people He called ‘hypocrites’ who made prayer like a performance to gain admiration from their fans. While it’s good to gather together when we can to worship and pray it’s also something we all need to do daily at home. Just listening to someone else repeat nice words is no substitute for each of us humbly bringing our own personal concerns before the Lord.
Now it’s often the case that people in the New Testament are echoing something said or written in the Old Testament and this is an example. Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6 v 6 includes a phrase almost word for word that was written 700 years before by the prophet Isaiah (ch26 v 20). Here’s what Isaiah said, ‘Go my people into your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until (God’s) wrath has passed by.’
Isaiah ch26, like so much of Scripture has a kind of ‘twin track’ going on. On the one hand it contains solemn warning for those who stubbornly disregard God and His commands. Judgement is coming!
But on the other, this passage contains tender assurance for those who trust in God, that even though we have not always pleased or served Him fruitfully, He will bring about new life and security. The trouble will pass. We are promised an inheritance in ‘the new Jerusalem’. Therefore, even in our present trouble we can pray using Isaiah’s words with thanks, ‘You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.’ (Isaiah 6 v 3)
At the moment we don’t have much choice, we’re all stuck indoors for fear of catching corona virus. It’s serious times when all people of faith should be earnestly praying to God for grace and mercy on His world. But every challenge brings an opportunity and perhaps, if we are willing to ‘hide ourselves’ in our homes for these next weeks, spending extra time humbly praying to God, we might emerge with greater peace and more - new life through Jesus Christ the Lord!
19th March 2020 - Following formal advice received today from Church House, all services in Carrigart and Dunfanaghy, as in all other PCI churches, are cancelled until further notice as a result of the Covid-19 virus outbreak. We will let you know when we can reopen for worship. We pray it will be soon!
Pastoral visitation has also been discouraged due to risk of infection. However, if you require to see the minister urgently, please do contact Andrew or an elder. Rev Andrew will from time to time post some messages/video here and on Facebook which we hope you will find helpful during this difficult period.
The Coffee Morning and Car Wash on 4th April has been postponed until further notice.
Further updates and some readings and prayers for encouragement will be posted on the website and Facebook page over the coming weeks.
Let's remember one another and our neighbours in Ireland and worldwide in our prayers.
We would stress that it is vital that we follow the advice given by government in the jurisdiction in which we live, and comply with the specific recommendations given by the HSE.
The Taoiseach’s guidance, in addition to closure of schools, colleges and other public facilities, is that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 should be cancelled. In our congregations and wider church activities we need to comply with this guidance.
This is a rapidly changing situation. It is therefore important to stress that congregations should follow all public health guidance provided by state authorities. Please keep up to date with government guidance at hse.ie, hpse.ie and gov.ie
Finally, in moments like these we are reminded of the powerful words of the Psalmist in Psalm 45 vs. 1-5 which reminds us of the refuge and the strength we find in the Lord. As we look to God, and encourage others to find their hope in Him, let us help and pray for one another.
Yours in His service,
Moderator of the General Assembly
Dear Friends, let's be much in prayer in these times for one another and for the world, seeking God's grace and mercy on all. 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble' (Ps46v 1)Best thoughts and prayers. Andrew
Sabbatical February 2020
For three weeks in February 2020 I was on Sabbatical leave from normal church duties, enjoying a little extra time to rest, read and reflect. During these weeks Sinn Fein made unprecedented gains in the Irish Election, Northern Ireland saw its first same sex wedding and celebrity TV presenter Caroline Flack ended her own life.
How are we to live in these changing times when familiar things are shaken or gone, when traditional values no longer seem to apply and kindness sadly doesn’t seem enough to stem the rising tide of despair?
We want to belong but lack commitment. We are desperate for love but fail in long term relationship. We are heroes in computer games but neglect our duty elsewhere. We take drugs, prescription or otherwise, anything to ease the pain of lives that are highly qualified and relatively comfortable but frustratingly shallow in lasting purpose or meaning.
Our age has been described as ‘post-postmodern’. Philosophically, ‘truth’ as an objective reality is long dead. What have people left to cling onto? Science can explain much of how the universe works but cannot begin to offer an explanation as to why we’re here in the first place.
We suggest no end of fresh ideals but these have limited success. Banks, politicians, media corporations – who would you trust? Even charities and churches have had to admit failure more times than we want to remember.
How then should we live, particularly those of us who are Christians, in these times? This, broadly has been the subject of reflection during this Sabbatical.
There has been time for personal study. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society Lesslie Newbigin. The Intolerance of Tolerance D. A. Carson. A Public Faith Miroslav Volf. Newbigin was interesting in mapping how Western culture has evolved through the ages to the present day. Carson gives multiple examples of how current ‘political correctness’ is proving unjust, actually stifling democratic principles such as freedom of conscience and speech. Volf is both deep and fresh in advocating Christian participation in society and culture not to coerce but influence for the common good in our Master’s name.
Additional inspiration was found in DVD material, Jesus the Game Changer and Towards Belief from Olive Tree Media and the first season of TV series The Chosen. It’s good to be reminded how much the world and Western values in particular such as equality, education, healthcare owe to the influence of Jesus Christ! How ironic that while Christianity continues to grow exponentially and bring benefit in many parts of the world today, Western societies seem determined to distance themselves from our Christian roots!
I attended a two day conference hosted by the Westminster Fellowship in Ballymena where the speaker was Professor, Pastor and Writer Bryan Chappell. This was really helpful in discerning the changes within my own lifetime between the church and culture of then and now. As always, good communication is aided by understanding where your audience has come/is coming from! It was good also during the third week to meet in conference with other Home Mission personnel in HQ Assembly Buildings.
It’s clear that while our ‘lost’ generation has no shortage of heartbreak, many are still seizing opportunities to do far-reaching good, often quietly behind the scenes. Slowly, patiently investing in unpromising people; honest and realistic but far from pessimistic, daring to hold to the faith that better things can be.
Isn’t that what our Master did with His original twelve, and still does with those who are willing to be His disciples today? While we cannot nurse our traditions selfishly and thoughtlessly and call that faith, we can and should and must return repeatedly to source, to our Lord and Master and speak of Him as He reveals Himself in the Bible. We cannot take for granted that people will understand our rituals or jargon. Ethical points will certainly be questioned! We may need to bring Jesus to the marketplace of ideas in common language before some people will be persuaded to visit a church service. And as always we will have to live a life compelling enough to make our words credible.
But more than ever in this ‘fatherless’ 21st century we, our family and friends need the Son of God! The One described in Psalm 23 as a dutiful and kind Shepherd, rescuing us from our lostness, correcting our proud wanderings, leading us in ways that are right and good, comforting us in our darkest valleys, bringing us home to a celebration feast with a loving heavenly Father.
And more than ever church needs to clearly be that grateful, welcoming fellowship of rescued lambs, ready to follow and recommend our Master to others. We need to be that church together!
The Old Testament preacher Isaiah was granted a rare vision of God in His glory while attending worship in the Temple. Isaiah was overwhelmed by a sense of his unworthiness but was assured by the Almighty of grace and forgiveness through a sacrifice made on his behalf. He promptly answered the call to serve.
My call to ministry in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland was nowhere near as spectacular but it was real. This Sabbatical has come 30 years after my ordination in West Kirk Belfast January 1990. There have been many challenges and there will doubtless be many more but what a privilege to serve the Lord Who is my Shepherd! Today I echo the prophet as I did 30 years ago. When the Lord calls, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ still I say, ‘Here am I. Send me.’
Sunday 23rd February 2020
We had a wonderful evening at our Carol Service
with the Derry and Donegal Presbytery Choir. It was a joy to welcome many friends and visitors. The church was full and we also enjoyed a delicious supper! The message on that evening can be found under "sermons".
Carrigart Harvest - Sunday 13th October
12 midday and 7.30 pm
Dunfanaghy Harvest - Sunday 20th October
10.30 am and 7.30 pm
Bible Study for eight weeks commencing Friday 4th October in Dunfanaghy 7. 30 pm (alternating venue with Carrigart). Booklets available.
Everyone enjoyed the Church Family BBQ after the service on Sunday 11th August at the Bewglas Centre. Around 400 Euro was donated for the Sunday School Project. Thanks and well done everyone!
At the BBQ, a presentation was made to Mr & Mrs John Fisher who celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on 12th August.
On Sunday 28th July we celebrated a Service of Thanksgiving for the maintenance work we have been able to do on both the church building and the Bewglas Centre. This has been greatly assisted by the generous donation from the estate of Mr & Mrs J Lyttle. Some of their family were with us on this occasion and everyone enjoyed soup and sandwiches in the Bewglas Centre after the service.
"Thank You Father for Your never failing love and mercy to us in Jesus Christ Your Son. Thank You for how generations of Your people have celebrated Your goodness in this place and that we can continue to do so each week. Thank You for the generosity and hard work of Mr and Mrs Lyttle and so many others that have made and still make this possible. Bless Your people gathered here today, fill us with Your Spirit and love and a deep thankfulness. Help us to serve and glorify You. May Your presence make this meeting house and neighbouring Bewglas Centre a place of grace and blessing for Jesus’ sake. In His name we pray.
Carrigart Vintage Rally, 13th and 14th July
Over 4000 Euro was raised this year. Thanks and well done everyone!
You can read the message from our service on Sunday 14th July - “Daniel ch 3, Facing the Fiery Furnace” by clicking on "Sermons" . Check out this link for information on the persecution of Christians in India.
Celebrating the Lord's resurrection with visitors and friends.
Our new sign!
“Finding Our Way Home is a collection of prayers and reflections by Presbyterian minister Andrew Watson that invites the reader to contemplate and celebrate the gift of ‘home’ – both earthly and divine. As well as addressing key events in the Christian calendar, such as Easter and Pentecost, the book considers universal subjects including marriage, parenthood, ageing and bereavement.
Finding Our Way Home offers consolation during times of difficulty in our lives, but it also invites readers to express joy, gratitude and wonder for the many gifts bestowed upon us by a benevolent creator: be it family, friends or the untold beauty of the natural world.”
Available from Veritas bookshops and website or request it from your local bookshop.
All royalties from the sale of this book will support the work of two charities: Mission Aviation Fellowship and A21.
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". John 1 v 29
Wordsurfers.com - a place of Thoughts, Readings, Prayers by
Rev A Watson
'Finding Our Way Home' is a book written by our minister. The collection of prayers and reflections invites the reader to contemplate and celebrate the gift of home both earthly and divine. Available in local bookshops, through Veritas or on Amazon.