Coleraine 22-24th February 2013
The leaders of Coleraine Methodist Church invited a Lay Witness team to conduct a weekend mission in February 2013.
Heather Boland led the team.
Heather Boland led the team.
Weekend Reports and Photos
Amy Barry, team member, writes....
From the time we arrived on Friday evening in Coleraine Methodist Church, the Lay Witness team felt a Presence and warmth which stayed with us the whole weekend. Coming into the prayer-room for the weekend, we saw the notice board which contained a photo of each team member and beside each one an individually handwritten prayer for that person had been placed. This was a confirmation that the days ahead had been bathed in prayer by the members of the church. The team of eleven, from different backgrounds, two from Dublin and the other nine from in or near Belfast, was led by Heather Boland. There was a sense of anticipation of what the Lord had planned in advance for us to do! The Minister Greg and his wife Shirley Alexander along with the organising committee gave us a great welcome.
This was the third time I was invited to be part of a Lay Witness team and so enjoyed renewing old friendships but also making new and lasting friends.
Friday and Saturday evenings began with delicious meals in the church hall where we met members of the congregation, sitting with and getting to know one another, enjoying some great conversations and fun, when Heather brought us the World’s Easiest Quiz- not so easy really!
The Men’s Breakfast and the coffee mornings are an integral part of the weekend. Thank you to those who opened their homes, to the ladies of the church, friends and neighbours, sharing how we are each challenged about our walk with Jesus. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.
How can we adequately say ‘thank you’ to those who practiced their gift of hospitality in welcoming us into their lovely homes and the comfort of a warm bed and scrumptious breakfast? The days weren’t long enough to spend some more time with you.
The times spent singing in worship, learning one or two new songs, listening to the wonderful songs sung for us by Karen (Marsden) Orr, and the Sunday morning service will stay with me for a long time to come. I know many were touched, challenged and received blessings from the witness by the team over the whole weekend and that included me. It was such a privilege praying with church and team members.
When friends asked me this week ‘how was the weekend’? I can only say it was a very special weekend which was Spirit led and at times I felt I could almost have put out my hand to touch Him he was so tangible. I will remember the congregation and leaders of the church in Coleraine praying God will lead and bless them as they continue their ‘Faith Lift’ journey!
Rhoda Baxter, Coleraine church, writes….
In John 3: 32 Jesus is described as ‘the Witness who testified to what He has seen and heard’. What had Jesus seen and heard? ‘Jesus had seen the eternal facts... He had heard the counsels and purposes of God,’ Campbell Morgan writes. Jesus explained the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven and knew the Father’s salvation plan for the world. At His ascension, Jesus tells His followers to imitate Him. Through the Holy Spirit’s power they will be witnesses for Him throughout the world (Acts 1: 8).
So it was that on 22 February 2013, eleven of His followers visited Coleraine Methodist Church to witness to Jesus, the Witness; to talk about their experiences of the Kingdom of Heaven come to earth and how God’s salvation plan, through Christ, has affected their lives. Each in their own way gave evidence as to how, with spiritual eyes, they had seen the facts of God revealed to them, and how their lives have been impacted by God.
Much preparation had taken place in Coleraine to provide comfortable settings for the witnesses to share their stories. Evening meals, a men’s breakfast, coffee mornings and Sunday lunch were planned. Each event was well attended with people getting to know each other more, enjoying the company and craic! Special youth events were arranged. People had prayed that there would be a sense of fellowship: the result - an atmosphere conducive to talking about personal things. In all the organisation no one got frustrated or irritated. Delicious meals were prepared and served by many ‘hands’ of all ages.
The witnesses came from eight Methodist societies in Ireland. All spoke well, confident of the Holy Spirit’s power to enable them to speak in an honest, humble way. One lady sang most beautifully, accompanied by her husband. They all shared their joys and sorrows in being followers of Jesus, each ending on a very positive note. The challenge throughout was to make Jesus the number one priority in our lives.
At the Sunday evening celebration, after the team had departed, many of the congregation spoke of the blessing the weekend had been to them. As a follow-up to the weekend we are running an Alpha course.
God bless the witnesses who came to Coleraine, and may we all continue to be challenged by the testimonies they brought.