Swanlinbar Group Churches
in the
Kilmore Diocese of the Church of Ireland
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The Rectory

Tel: 9521404

Parish web-site address: www.swanlinbar-kildallon.kilmore.anglican.org

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Many of the letters in the New Testament are opened in this manner as the authors were addressing a Christian community, so what better way in which to greet a 21st century Christian community than to apply sound biblical principles in this welcome note from myself and my family. Even in these opening sentences I find myself using two words which have certainly resonated with me since coming to this part of the country. Those two words are welcome and community.
First, welcome; I can certainly say without fear of contradiction that the warmth of welcome which we have experienced since arriving on the 29th of June has been overwhelming and we thank all of you for that. Whether it was words of welcome, a card, a gift or a cheering smile, we appreciate all that you have done for us and we pray that we will be a blessing to you just as you have been to us since arriving.
Second, community; I have never experienced a community with such close ties and so tightly knit as this and I feel that it is a real strength and a great foundation from which to develop a strong sense of Christian community. Community is something which is being eroded around and about us as people become more and more mobile and transient in their work practices and lifestyles. But community is so important to what I believe we need to be in order to be the body of Christ in the world. After all, a body can only function if there is co-operation between the different parts of the body.
These two words keep cropping up for me in my visits and in my devotional life, welcome and community. So after prayerful consideration I believe that within our group of churches we need to develop a stronger sense of community right throughout the parish, so that we might worship in any one of our churches and feel equally welcome, after all, we are all part of the one body. In order to grow in our understanding of community we will be coming together on the third Sunday of each month for a united service which will be held in each of our churches on a rotational basis. These services will be more informal in structure and will involve more people in actually leading worship, particularly young people. I must stress at this point that the motivation for this development is purely to encourage everyone and develop a stronger sense of community in what can sometimes be quite a dispersed Anglican population and an isolated community. This is not the thin end of a wedge which means that your particular church is going to get the chop. I hope that you can support me in this initiative and be encouraged by larger congregations with more congregational involvement rather than feeling threatened and intimidated. As we have already had our first united service on the 4th of July at my service of introduction in Swanlinbar, and by the time you read this we will already have had our second at Ballyconnell on the 29th of August, we look forward to our next service at Templeport, probably on the third Sunday of October. Please make a special effort to come to these services, especially if it is in your home church, and extend a warm welcome to all who come so that we might grow in our knowledge and love of one another and of the Lord Jesus.
In pursuance of this theme I will also be producing a Parish Newsletter which I would like to get into every home in our parish group, whether church goers or otherwise, on a monthly basis. The purpose of this will be to increase the level of communication within the parish in order that everyone knows about forthcoming events, parish organisations and activities, service rotas and indeed other issues which might be of interest to parishioners. Again, I am asking for your help in relation to this initiative and the above model is by no means set in stone. So if you have any suggestions for the development of such a Newsletter then please contact me at the rectory. I will also need a group of volunteers who are prepared to distribute these Newsletters within a small area, perhaps 5 or 6 houses, around your own home. I would anticipate going to press on the first issue by the end of the second week of September, so please let me have your ideas and submissions by the end of the first week.
Once again I would like to thank you all for your welcome and to encourage you as we go forward in faith trusting that the Holy Spirit, as our guide, will lead us as we journey together.

In Christ
Geoff Wilson (Rev)

Rev Geoff Wilson
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