Report and photographs by John Kelly
A weekend of harvest thanksgiving celebrations in Lisburn Cathedral included the introduction of a mission team planning to visit Yei Diocese in South Sudan this summer.
Connor Diocese has had a partnership with Yei for several years, and teams from Lisburn Cathedral have travelled to South Sudan before.
The weekend’s harvest celebrations began at a Community Harvest Celebration on Friday evening, October 16, when the speaker was the retired Archbishop of Armagh, the Rt Rev Dr Robin Eames (The Lord Eames of Armagh).
Speaking about his experiences of meeting people from many different backgrounds, he challenged all present to respond to Christ and to see how much ‘Jesus loves you.’
The Cathedral had been beautifully decorated by a group from the parish assisted by ladies from the Hillhall community.
During the service, the Hillhall Youth Drama group performed ‘If ever we needed you, Lord it’s now.’
On Sunday October 18, the morning harvest thanksgiving service focused on the mission link between the Cathedral and Yei Diocese. A team of six people planning a META (Mission Experience Team Abroad) from the Cathedral to South Sudan next year was introduced to the congregation.
Mrs Jenny Smyth, Mission Director of the Church Mission Society Ireland (CMSI), spoke on the challenges facing Christians in South Sudan and the important role the church plays in brokering peace and building community in health care, schools and theological training.
The service was conducted by the rector, the Rev Canon Sam Wright, assisted by members of the mission team. The Scripture lesson was read by Margaret Fullerton and prayers were led by Denis Fullerton.
Andrew Skelly presided at the organ and together with Stephen McLoughlin (Musical Director) and an ensemble of musicians and vocalists, led the harvest thanksgiving praise. This included, ‘Great is Thy faithfulness’ and a new version of, ‘You crown the year with your goodness’ from Hillsong.
The Evening Harvest Praise was led by Jason Sime (Youth and Children’s Ministry Leader for Lisburn Cathedral) and Andrew Frame (Church of Ireland Youth Department) spoke on the theme of ‘Thankfulness’.
The harvest offering will go to help with the work of the META Team who will be going to South Sudan in the summer of 2016.