It will seem a long way off just now, but soon after the 2017/18 church year starts up in September, one of the first big events in your congregational calendar will be Harvest.

It isn’t easy to come up with something new and fresh to either preach on or sing at Harvest Services and other events each year.  

Yet, harvest remains an important opportunity to stop, take stock and give thanks to God.

In many settings, it is also one of those Sundays in the year in which we have visitors or fringe members at worship.  

What an opportunity to present again the message of God’s grace and love with imagination and creativity.   

With a little advance planning, that doesn’t have to be difficult.

This year’s Big Sing is based around the theme of Harvest Home.

Building on the story of the Prodigal Son, it offers a framework for Harvest celebration in which the good news of the gospel can be readily presented.

The Big Sing provides an easy opportunity for musicians and singers to learn new choral pieces for Harvest, as well as enjoying the opportunities for worship and fellowship with a wider group of Presbyterians.

The idea is simple.

§  Buy the pack of Harvest Home materials including photo-copiable, words and sing along CD’s for each choral part (available now)

§  Distribute music, words and DVD’s in advance to musicians and choir members so that they can come to the Big Sing familiar with the songs.

 Even if your choir or music team is on Summer break they can be given their individual parts so that they can sing along in the car and learn their pieces.  

§  Sign up as a group to come to the Big Sing on Saturday,16th September 2017, 2pm - 8pm, in Assembly Buildings, Belfast

§  Learn and practice the songs on the day and enjoy fellowship and worshipping with those from other congregations.

§  Bring it all back home for Harvest weekend in your congregation.


£50 per pack; £15 per person to attend Download Application Form

Closing date for applications: 31st August 2017


For further information contact the Congregational Life and Witness office.
Email: or tel: +44 (0)28 9032 2284



Retirement of Clerk of Session


Mr David Scott presents Mr David McDowell with a Bible in recognition of his service as Clerk of Session


Ordination of Elders


Congratulations and every blessing to our two new elders, Mr Lindsay Gracey and Mr David Hanna.


Dear Colleague

I am writing to let you know that we are hoping to run the 'Handling the Word' course again in the Iveagh Presbytery this coming Autumn as follows:

Venue: Scarva Street Presbyterian Church, Banbridge (Ervine Hall)

Dates Thursday 5th October - Thursday 16th November (not meeting on 2nd November)

Time: 7.30 - 9.30pm

The course is open to any communicant member of PCI, and is the first step that anyone thinking of applying for the ordained ministry of our Church must undertake in that process.

Of course, Handling the Word is equally open to anyone who has no intention of applying to the ordained ministry, but would appreciate some instruction on preparing and leading a talk/sermon perhaps within a Youth Group, Sunday School, Midweek or Sunday Service context.

We ran this course last autumn and approximately 30 people from across the Presbytery attended. It was very well received and many of the participants have found it to be very useful as they continue to serve within their respective congregations.

Here is how you can help us:

1. Announce over the next few Sundays that this course is taking place in the Presbytery

2. Print off a few registration forms (see attached) and make them available to anyone who shows an interest in attending

3. Remind any interested persons that completed registration forms need to be returned to me by 31st August with a payment of £20 enclosed (cheques payable to 'Presbytery of Iveagh')

4. Sign the box on the registration form which confirms that an applicant is a communicant member of PCI (or ask your Clerk of Session to do this for you)

I attach a copy of the course details and outline to refresh your memories on its content 

Your encouragement and recommendation of the course to your congregation is very much appreciated. 

Thank you in anticipation 

Gordon Best

Newmills Presbyterian Church

Church Office: 028 38832590






Saturday 20 May 2017 10am – 12:30pm

£5 / Euro equivalent

Assembly Buildings


For Kids’ Club, Youth Club, Girls’ and Boys’ Brigade leaders and anyone involved in ministry to unchurched children and young people

Watch the Promo Clip Here

As you reach out to children and young people through your congregation’s activities or uniformed organisations, do you ever sense you are struggling to connect?

Sometimes it’s like they are living in a different world…

Sometimes it’s like we are speaking a different language…

Often the gap between church and the world - us and them - feels like it is getting wider by the week…

A number of things are becoming ever clearer for us all:

  • We have the life-changing message of the gospel unchurched children and young people need to hear
  • We are struggling to know how to connect that message with their every-day lives
  • We face the challenge of creating relationships, community and ways of encountering God that speak into a world which is very different   to the one in which we live in the church

It’s not easy, and seeing the obstacles is simpler than finding the solutions, but, together, let’s find fresh confidence that God’s love always finds a way.

On the day those who attend will:

* Encounter a way of thinking that builds on relationships and community to enable encounter with God

* Experience ways of communicating into the world of unchurched children and young people and discuss what they can take on board

* Explore fresh possibilities around building Christian community, prayer and talking about Christian themes

* Expand their awareness of the range of resources to draw upon

 Come to REACH for a mixture of signposts, stories, skills and suggestions to help your ministry to unchurched children and young people better connect.



A downloadable booking form and online payment facility can be found    

Boking forms should be returned by 12 May

For more information please contact:

Congregational Life and Witness Office, 2-10 Fisherwick Place, Belfast, BT1 6DW

Tel: +44 (0)28 9032 2284       Email:



Council for Congregational Life and Witness

Assembly Buildings

2-10 Fisherwick Place


Northern Ireland


Tel:  +44 (0)28 9032 2284



Dear Colleague

This is to remind you of an event which may be of interest in this the 500th anniversary year of the Reformation.

Union Theological College is offering a two day conference to reflect on the life and work of Martin Luther and his continuing relevance for theological thinking and ecclesiastical practice today. It is running on Thursday, 2 and Friday, 3 February 2017 in Queen’s University’s Elmwood Hall.

The programme is attached.

Please make this conference known in any congregations you are responsible for, including vacancies.

Web links are as follows:

On the same theme, a Task Group is organising celebratory events to mark this anniversary under the title: Faith at the Crossroads - Rediscovering the Reformation. More detailed information will be sent out later, but you may wish to pencil one of these dates in your dairy for October 2017:



Tuesday, 17 October


Wednesday, 18 October


Thursday, 19 October


The start time for each event is provisionally arranged for 7.30pm.

Yours sincerely



Deputy Clerk of the General Assembly

Assembly Buildings

2-10 Fisherwick Place

Belfast BT1 6DW

Tel: +44(0)28 9041 7204

Mob: 07525 872561


PCI Logo_286 (2)




Robert Morrow & First Rathfriland

Robert Morrow from San Diego, California USA, paid a special visit to First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church, where his forefathers worshiped over 100 years ago. His great grand uncle, Thomas Rowan Morrow, was baptised in Church on 21st July 1881 and was the only Third Class passenger from Ulster to perish on board Titanic. 


Rev. Trevor Boyd (Minister of First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church) looks on as Robert Morrow (great grand nephew of the late Thomas Rowan Morrow) signs the visitors book at First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church. 

David McDowell (Clerk of Session), Robert Morrow (great grand nephew of the late Thomas Rowan Morrow) and Rev. Trevor Boyd (Minister of First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church). 


One to think about


I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

'And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said,
'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'


Remember...Just going to church doesn't make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every saint has a PAST...
Every sinner has a FUTURE!



Installation & Ordination of Mr Trevor Boyd

A big thank you to all who helped in any way at the Ordination and Installation of the Rev. Trevor Boyd in our Church on Friday 10th May. We appreciate whose who provided food, trolleys, etc, and helped with the catering arrangements A special thanks to Mrs Jean Annett and Mrs Maude Harbinson for the professional way in which they arranged the workers on the night, where everything went so smoothly. It was so encouraging to see so many men and ladies
offering to help to make the night such a success.

We have just celebrated 350 years of Christian witness in our Church. We have been handed down a rich heritage. The torch is now in our hands to carry forward the work of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I ask you to encourage the Rev Boyd and his wife Barbara, sons Andrew & Brian and daughter Bethany in the little things of life but most importantly by your presence for working in the House of God, week by week. A big task lies ahead to see lives changed and new commitments made to live closer to our God.

Please do bring the needs of this congregation to the Lord in prayer. We have only got one life to live, one chance - waste it or make it count - ask big, expect much.

Robin Mark to conclude Church’s 350th Anniversary Year in Concert.

Internationally renowned Northern Irish Christian singer, songwriter and worship leader, Robin Mark, is to perform in a special evening of praise in Rathfriland High School on Saturday 1st December.

The concert has been organised to conclude a special year in the life of First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church in this their 350th year.       

Robin Mark is a well-known Christian singer, songwriter, worship leader, and recording artist based in Belfast. He has written several songs sung throughout the world. He is best known for his songs "Days of Elijah", "Revival", "All for Jesus", "The Wonder of The Cross", "Not by Might" and many more. He has released thirteen albums in total with sales of over two million worldwide and has won the GMA's international award.

John McConnell, Clerk of Session said, “The congregation has been celebrating 350 years of Christian witness in the community this year and we thought it would be fitting to round off this special year of mission with a night of praise and worship.”

350th Anniversary Celebration



We enjoyed hearing from our former minister Rev. Mark Neilly at our Evening Harvest Thanksgiving service. His wife Hazel and daughter Rebekah also made the trip down from Buckna. They are pictured here with our Clerk of Session John McConnell. Many thanks to those who decorated the Church so beautifully for our special services.


We were blessed to welcome back the Very Rev Dr John Dixon and his wife, Claire to First Rathfriland this morning. The Dixons got an opportunity to chat with old friends over tea in the hall and posed with our Clerk of Session John McConnell and his wife, Joyce after the service.


Bible Exhibition

Lord Bannside provided many of the Bibles that were on display and brought along with him a Bible used by a Pastor on board Titanic. The Bible was saved at the time of the disaster and is now in Lord Bannside's possession.


Lord Bannside and his wife Baroness Paisley of St George's, is pictured signing the visitors book before leaving.

Enjoying the exhibition was, John McConnell (Clerk of Session), Mrs M. Trimble, Jill Cromie and Ann Cromie.

350th Anniversary Celebration


Mr John McConnell. Clerk of Session of 1st Rathfriland Presbyterian Church, makes a presentation of a book to Reverend Dr. Ivan Patterson, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, entitled 'A Household of Faith' written by former Church Minister the Reverend George Morrison. The book which researches the history of 1st Rathfriland Presbyterian Church, currently celebrating its 350th Anniversary. Looking on is the Reverend Raymond McKibben, Church Convenor and Minister of Glascar and Donaghmore Presbyterian Churches. Photo: Gary Gardiner.


Attending the Sunday Morning Service, celebrating the 350th Anniversary of 1st Rathfriland Presbyterian Church were from front row left, Mr John McConnell, Clerk of Session, Reverend Dr. Ivan Patterson, Guest Speaker and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, accompanied by his wife Mrs Maureen Patterson and the Reverend Raymond McKibben, Church Convenor and Minister of Glascar and Donaghmore Presbyterian Churches. Back row from left, Mr Murray Annett, Church Secretary accompanied by his wife Mrs Anne Annett and Mr Samuel McDowell, Church Treasurer, accompanied by his wife Mrs Anna McDowell. Photo: Gary Gardiner.


Mr John McConnell, Clerk of Session, 1st Rathfriland Presbyterian Church, makes a presentation of a book to former Minister the Reverend Alistair Smyth (1988-1996), entitled 'A Household of Faith', written by former Minister the Reverend George Morrison. The book which researches the history of 1st Rathfriland Presbyterian Church, currently celebrating its 350th Anniversary. Looking on are Mrs Lesley Smyth and Mr Murray Annett, Church Secretary. Photo: Gary Gardiner.