Harvest Thanksgiving at First

On Sunday 20th October, we celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving in our morning worship at 11:30am and again in the evening at 7:00pm.

The preparation of the church will take place on the morning of Saturday 19th October. Gifts of flowers, fruit and vegetables can be left in the church hall from 9:30am. Volunteers are required to help decorate the sanctuary from 10am onwards.

On Monday 21st October, we plan to distribute the Harvest gifts to those in the wider community and also to Ballymoney Foodbank. Again, if you can assist with delivering these items, please speak to Helen McCrellis.

There will be a special Harvest Collection at our morning service for the Building & Repair Fund. The loose offering at the evening service will go to the work of CAP (Christians Against Poverty) to assist those in need in our local community. Gifts of non perishable food items will be greatly appreciated this weekend, and will go to support Ballymoney Foodbank.

DNA Men's Conference 2019

November 2nd 2019

Now into a 5th year, the DNA Men's Conference gathers hundreds of men from all over Ireland and beyond as we worship, celebrate, laugh, and above all encounter Jesus as we get to grips and challenge each other with His plan for our lives. Each year we have seen men come to faith in Jesus for the first time and this year we are believing God for even more.

"After you have done everything, to stand. Stand Firm." Ephesians 6:13A/14B

We are thrilled with our new venue partners: Carnmoney Church and their incredible new facilities that will allow us to change things around this year with break out sessions in the afternoon with array of topics & speakers as well as big improvements with our catering!

Tickets are £25 and include: breakfast (NEW), lunch with tea & coffee throughout the day.

Special group discount: get 10 tickets for the price of 9 (via the office only).

As part of the Conference this year we will be showing the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final.

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See more at the CVM website - cvm.ie.

NI Voiceless

Why?

On 10 July 2019, the Westminster parliament voted in favour of an amendment to the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill that would liberalise abortion legislation in Northern Ireland. The bill, including this amendment, will take effect after 21 October if the Stormont executive is not reinstated by then.

This silent protest at the vote and its repercussions says:

a) We were not asked. Westminster has legislated for us without hearing us. Every sitting Northern Ireland MP voted against these changes, the people of Northern Ireland were not consulted, and there is no public support in Northern Ireland for the kind of wholesale legalisation of abortion that has been planned.

b) They cannot speak. Westminster has ignored the unborn child. The human individuals whose lives will be ended if abortion is legalised have no voice in the debate and many speeches in parliament concerning this amendment dehumanised the unborn child and disregarded its value and right to life.

Who?

People of all ages and all religions and political persuasions are welcome – anyone who objects to this planned change to the law. We need as many people as possible to express their concerns in silent dignity.

This protest is not affiliated with any religious or political organisation and is not coordinated by any organisation or campaign group. It has been planned by concerned citizens of Northern  Ireland who wish to express our deep dissatisfaction with this intended change in a law we consider to be good.

How?

Gather at the lower gates of Stormont Estate for 7pm. At the blow of a whistle we will walk silently and slowly to the foot of the steps to Parliament Buildings where we will stand in silence, heads bowed and lights held high, for six minutes (one for each county) until another whistle is blown.’

The installation of Rev Stephen McCracken

On the evening of 20th June, 2019, the Presbytery of Route installed Rev Stephen McCracken as minister of First Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney.

The Commission of Presbytery prior to the service. The front row (from left to right) is Rev Kenneth Crowe (Convener of the vacancy at First), Rev Noel McClean (Clerk of Presbytery), Rev Stephen McCracken, Rev Rodney Moody (Moderator of Presbytery), Rev Mark Jones. Neil Robinson, clerk of session at First Presbyterian, Ballymoney is in the back row at the far right.

The Commission of Presbytery prior to the service. The front row (from left to right) is Rev Kenneth Crowe (Convener of the vacancy at First), Rev Noel McClean (Clerk of Presbytery), Rev Stephen McCracken, Rev Rodney Moody (Moderator of Presbytery), Rev Mark Jones. Neil Robinson, clerk of session at First Presbyterian, Ballymoney is in the back row at the far right.

The Moderator of Presbytery, Rev Rodney Moody, presented the call to worship, introduced the first item of praise and led the congregation in prayer.

Next, Rev Mark Jones delivered a sermon looking at God’s abundant provision for His people and the hope we have in Christ.

After a few words from Rev Kenneth Crowe, the offering in aid of the Students’ Bursary Fund was taken. Following this, the Moderator and the Clerk of Presbytery set out the Rule of Faith and put set questions to the new minister regarding his adherence to the standards of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and his subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith.

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The congregation then stood for the Act of Installation after which the Aaronic blessing was sung.

The choir then sang the anthem ‘Be Thou My Vision’ and, after the congregational praise, Rev Kenneth Crowe, previously Convener of the Vacancy, presented a ‘charge’ to the new minister and the congregation.

After the benediction, the Commission of Presbytery left the sanctuary for a few minutes, but returned after changing out of ceremonial robes to present some speeches.

Rev Kenneth Crowe introduced the various speakers after the formal proceedings were concluded. A representative from both of Rev Stephen McCracken’s previous congregations in Derramore and Drumachose spoke, after which Neil Robinson, our clerk of session, addressed the congregation.

Neil acknowledged the sense of loss that the Drumachose and Derramore congregations may be feeling. He also thanked Kenneth for his work and guidance as convener of the vacancy. A gift was then presented to Rev Crowe as well as a gift of flowers for his wife, presented by Natasha Hamilton. Flowers were also given to Mrs McCracken, presented by Oliver Owens.

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Oliver Owens presents Mrs McCracken with flowers.

Oliver Owens presents Mrs McCracken with flowers.

Natasha Hamilton presents Mrs Crowe with flowers.

Natasha Hamilton presents Mrs Crowe with flowers.

Finally, Rev McCracken addressed the congregation as the new minister of First Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney and prayed with the congregation.

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Thereafter, the congregation adjourned to the church halls for fellowship over supper.

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Forthcoming installation of Rev Stephen McCracken as minister of First.

Having received a call from members of First Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney, Rev Stephen McCracken will be officially installed as the new minister at a service in the church planned for Thursday 20th June at 7:30pm.

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Stephen has been minister of the joint congregations of Derramore and Drumachose, Limavady since 2007. The installation service is organised by the Route Presbytery and will involve an address by Rev Mark Jones of Roseyards Presbyterian Church, and a charge to the new minister and the congregation by the Convener of the Vacancy, Rev Kenneth Crowe.

After his installation, Stephen will conduct his first Sunday worship service with his new congregation on Sunday 23rd June.

Rev Stephen McCracken elected as new minister of First

The congregation of First Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney met tonight (Friday 3rd May) to vote on whether or not to issue a call to Rev Stephen McCracken to become the new minister of First. 

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Rev. Stephen A. McCracken B.D., Dip.Min., M.Phil is the minister of Derramore and Drumachose Presbyterian Churches in Limavady.

Stephen preached on Sunday 28th April at the morning and evening services at First.

Tonight at the stated meeting, the congregation voted overwhelmingly in favour of issuing a call to Stephen and, after being advised of the result of the congregation’s vote, Stephen agreed to accept the call. The date for the service of installation is to be arranged.

Join in the special Week of Prayer from 3-10 February 2019

A word from the Moderator

“I want to encourage people to use my moderatorial theme as a starting point: 'Building relationships: Christ’s love compels us'. As I have developed my theme, I have stressed the importance of growing in our personal walk with Jesus Christ and have been mindful that the Christian life rises and falls at the point of the devotional.

“During the week, I would encourage you individually, therefore, to take some extra time to be still in God’s presence and to wait upon him.  

“It would be wonderful if congregations in local areas would consider coming together at some suitable time. It may be possible to meet in different homes or to sign up with one or two others in your congregation. I hope that churches will be as creative, flexible and imaginative as possible as they seize the initiative at a local level.”

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

See more on the PCI website.

Resources are available to download from the PCI website to help congregations join together in prayer across the denomination with the theme 'Building relationships: Christ’s love compels us'.

Each day will cover different themes, including worship and praise, our personal walk with Jesus Christ, congregational life and witness and outreach to our wider community.

Prison Fellowship of Northern Ireland

During morning worship on 2nd December, Norman McCracken talks about the work of Prison Fellowship Northern Ireland. As he explains, the organisation works with individuals who, in many cases, society may have forgotten or even written off.

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Prison Fellowship is a Northern Ireland registered charity affiliated to Prison Fellowship International, a charitable organisation with a Christian ethos which operates in over 123 countries around the world. Their Mission Statement is:
‘Prison Fellowship is a Christian ministry responding to the spiritual, emotional, social and physical needs of prisoners, released prisoners and their families. In our literature, we summarise our work as ‘Offering hope and a new beginning’.

The PFNI website can be found by clicking this link.

Christmas Cantata

cantata [ /kanˈtɑːtə/ ]

noun: cantata; plural: cantatas

  1. a medium-length narrative piece of music for voices with instrumental accompaniment, typically with solos, chorus, and orchestra.

Every year at First Ballymoney we stage a Cantata telling the Christmas story in music, song and spoken word.

Our Christmas Cantata event this year is entitled “The Heart of Christmas”. and tells the timeless Christmas story in a creative, profound way - by exploring the thoughts and feelings of those most directly involved in Luke's account of that first Christmas. This touching construct is complemented by a use of a variety of musical styles. Narrators propel the scripture-based narrative, with choral singing and soloists, all with the accompaniment of live musicians. We trust that the result is a musical, worshipful, and accessible musical presentation of the gospel message. We invite you to embrace the courage, faithfulness, joy, and love of those who were there and experience "The Heart of Christmas."

The Christmas Cantata will be staged twice - once on Friday 7th December at 7:00pm and again on Sunday 9th December at 7:00pm.

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Jigsaw on Sunday mornings

Good news… our new boiler is up and running so services will be back in the church!

In Jigsaw, we have been really enjoying the longer sessions starting at 11:30am and have decided to stick with it. So please drop your little ones off as you arrive for church (we will be there from 11:15am) and collect them from our room after the service.

Also, anyone coming to ‘First Friends’ (our crêche) come along before the service as we have been doing for the last few weeks.

See you all on Sunday!

Annual Service of Remembrance

The Annual Service of Remembrance will be held in First Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney on Sunday 11th November at 3pm. This event is organised by The British Legion and we host the service each year.

This is the centenary year of The British Legion - more information about the organisation and about Remembrance can be found by clicking this link:

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance

"Taking Care" refresher training dates

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"Taking Care" is the basic Child Protection training that all youth and children's leaders must attend before they can assist with youth and children’s programmes. The training will address the need for policies, guidelines and procedures in keeping children safe within church youth organisations. The training will also instruct leaders, on a step-by-step basis, how to deal with, and report, any incident or concern relating to a child or young person.

Those who are trained must attend Refresher Training every 3 years. The next Refresher Training events locally will be:

29th October at 7:30pm - Ballywatt Presbyterian Church, Coleraine
30th October at 7:30pm - Ballywatt Presbyterian Church, Coleraine
5th November at 7:30pm - Roseyards Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney

Numbers are limited to 40 attendees per session. Please contact the churches directly to ensure there is a space available.

More details available on the PCI website: http://www.presbyterianireland.org/Events.aspx

Harvest is coming...

We are looking forward to celebrating God’s goodness to us at our all-age service this Sunday at 11:30am.

We invite everyone to bring along some non-perishable food gifts to help those in need in our community. Representatives from Ballymoney Foodbank will be at our evening service, and we look forward to hearing how this work and our gifts are blessing people in Ballymoney.