The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, negotiated the icy roads from Belfast on Sunday March 24 to preside at the united confirmation service in All Saints’, Craigyhill.
The special Palm Sunday service was led by Roger Thompson (rector of St Patrick’s with All Saints) with help from visiting clergy the Ven Stephen Forde and the Rev Jim Caldwell (Larne & Inver), with music provided by Victor Haslett (organist) and the St Cedma’s music group, led by Roderick Bain.
A total of 11 young people and adults were confirmed, drawn from four local congregations – All Saints’, Craigyhill; St Cedma’s, Larne; St John’s, Glynn and St Patrick’s, Cairncastle – and a congregation of more than100 braved the elements to come and support them. Despite the cold weather the worshippers soon warmed up waving palm crosses as they sang “Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is in you!” in recognition of Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
In his address Bishop Alan called upon the 11 candidates for confirmation – together with the whole church – to be ‘donkeys for Jesus,’ being prepared to carry Him into the community. He said this would be challenging at times, and would involve hard choices such as forgiveness, lending without being paid back and giving away possessions. Sometimes being open about our faith will risk misunderstanding, indifference or even rejection, the Bishop said.
After the service the whole congregation enjoyed fellowship over a cup of tea in the Hall.
Roger said: “I really enjoyed today’s event – it’s so encouraging to see the candidates confirming their commitment to Jesus. It was also a particular pleasure to be able to celebrate Palm Sunday with friends from four local congregations, when had we been meeting separately the elements might well have dampened our enthusiasm.”