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.

Harvest Thanksgiving Services and special collection

Our Harvest Thanksgiving Services will be on Sunday 21st October. Our morning worship service is at 11:30am and will be conducted by the Very Rev Dr Ian McNie. The evening service is at 7pm and the convener of the vacancy, Rev Kenneth Crowe, will officiate. At the evening service we will have representatives from the Ballymoney Foodbank.

Due to the on-going installation of our new heating system, we will continue to meet in the church hall.

At our Harvest services, we will have a special collection for our Building and Repair Fund. The cost of installing our new heating system (as a result if the breakdown of our old system) is estimated to be in the region of £60,000. We barely have this amount in our current funds and we urgently require money to ensure that our Building and Repair Fund is not depleted to such an extent that we are unable to maintain the upkeep of our buildings in 2019 and beyond.

If you do not already do so, we encourage members to consider regular giving to the Building and Repair Fund using the envelopes supplied along with the weekly free will offering envelopes. Alternatively,  donations can be made via the special envelopes that will be available from 14th October.

UK taxpayers can maximise their giving by completing a gift aid declaration form. Please speak to John Michael, our treasurer, if you have any questions

Young adults Lifegroup

Attention all Youth/Young adults!! There will be a brand new Lifegroup starting soon, especially for you if you're aged 16/17 - 25 (or thereabouts!).

We plan to meet up about once a month, in a coffee shop (where else would you find us!) to read the Bible, chat and chill out together.

If you'd like to be involved, if you're interested, or if you just want to ask a question about it, please contact Megann on 07871693452.

Looking forward to seeing you then!

Morning worship services in the church hall

Change of venue
As a result of the boiler breakdown and the colder weather, we have decided to re-locate our morning worship service to the church hall. The hall will be easier to heat with portable heaters. This arrangement will continue until further notice.

Same time - new arrangements
Our service will start at the same time, but children and young people should come directly to Creche, Jigsaw or Toast (our young people’s ministries) in their usual rooms. These will start at 11:30am. Parents can collect their children from these groups after the service in the hall finishes.


Our services will meet at the usual time