Today is St Patrick’s Day (17th March) but it comes in the midst of our growing awareness of the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Among other things it looks like this virus is going to put the normal operation of churches out of action. Earlier today the Church of England announced the suspension of its Sunday services and a number of other denominations in Britain and Ireland have since followed suit. In their letter the Archbishops of Canterbury and York talk of putting less emphasis on weekly worship and more emphasis on giving daily prayers and support to those around us. I am sure this is a model that others will take up and although we face a lot of difficulties there are ways we can develop new forms of ministry that reach out to people and provide meaningful support in these testing times.

I uploaded a video to our new You Tube channel reflecting on this situation:


Over the weekend before St Patrick’s Day, in our Downpatrick Church, we had to take down the venerable old horse chestnut that stood at the back of the church. Sadly it was rotten in many places and was becoming a danger. Its age has been estimated at 300 years, so it is probably as old as the church itself. You can see the growth rings in the side view of the trunk telling us of the changing patterns of growth in each different year. It had surveyed the world through rebellion, industrial revolution, famine, two world wars and all the countless human experiences that have gone on in the church, as well as provide generations of children with conkers. We will now have to consider planting new trees to replace it.

Tree 02

Tree 01

2 thoughts on “Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Reflections

  1. Thank you for your helpful St Patrick’s Day meditation. We have reluctantly chosen to close our building here for services, but we also are hoping to find other ways of expressing and strengthening our connectedness. Of course we all know that our church is not only its building, but since our faith is also so oriented toward the broader community in which we live, the present difficulties cannot but remind us of the fragility of those connections as well. Our history here is so short and yet offers inspiration, if only we were inclined to remember it. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Emily. Yes we have now suspended our services. Not an easy decision to take but unavoidable I think. We will have to work had at maintaining our connections. I wish you all the best in your congregation.


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