Stocki in Ho's TV

No live gathering in Fitzroy tomorrow BUT we will be on-line as usual (going live at 11am) on Fitzroy TV. We will still be scanning the scenes just after Jesus resurrection. Jesus pastoral care for Thomas is my own personal conversion story. We will also look at what Jesus meant when he said "Peace be with you" in a week when Belfast wasn't very much at peace and the challenge of one of my other favourite Gospel verses, "As the father has sent me, so I am sending you."

In the evening (going live at 7pm) you can see the next in Gary Burnett's brilliant series Paul in ten where he leads us through some of the apostle Paul's teaching in just ten minutes. This series is so good that it has been published as a book - Paul Distilled. Tomorrow night's theological theme is "The Cross Shaped God". 



Cross in Fitz

Fitzroy’s Easter Week began last Sunday (watch it). We spent Sunday morning around the cross, asking questions about who was to blame for Jesus ending up on a cross. We looked at his own control of the events and the link between sacred and sacrifice. How these dramatic events of Holy Week caress and collide with our souls.

Our Good Friday Reflection (live at 7pm) will take us around the cross again. This time with songs, poems videos and Scripture we will see ourselves in the experience of two disciples, Judas and Peter. There will be a brand new song from Blackman Trinder Overdrive and versions of others more familiar. 

On Sunday (live at 11) we will celebrate Resurrection Sunday. This year we will walk around the empty tomb in the light of a year of Coronavirus. There is a deep pastoral energy in Jesus’s meeting with Mary. With the help of Kerri ní Dochartaigh’s stunning book Thin Places we will look at hollowing and hallowing a new beginning. Everything is wrapped up in poignant and creative music.



If you are a member of Fitzroy there will also be a gathering n the church on Sunday morning. At 9.30 Rev Ian Hart will lead  some actual live worship and reflection.


Fitzroy TV

Fitzroy's Sunday Service will go online on Fitzroy TV at 11am (21.3.21) and we will be doing two things.

We will be taking time to remember everyone in Fitzroy who lost a loved one in the Coronavirus Year. We will pray for them and there will be a new  song Be Gentle My Heart written by myself and Gareth Black and performed by Gareth with Eleanor Black on vocals. 

In the sermon I will be dealing with the shift in emotions when the disciples elated by the reception Jesus receives in Bethany are brought face to face with the reality of Jesus death.

Yet again we are back to the humility of Jesus - the God of the Manger, The Donkey, The Towel and the Cross. I will contrive to bring in Fitzroy's Sunday Night Lent Series from last week and challenge us as a Fitzroy community about those we invite to meals and connection. That will reveal how our pragmatic humility is doing.

Our evening Lent Series - studying Luke's travel narratives - will go online at 7pm. Jane Holohan will share her thoughts on the Luke reading with June Andrews praying.




Stocki Home

Tomorrow is a big day in Fitzroy. It is the anniversary of the last Sunday that we got to meet as a congregation. We have met since but only as a much smaller gathering.

So, we will reflect on that year tomorrow morning. Hopefully in the music, videos and other things we can sense that community, still intact. We will look back on the challenges of these last twelve months and also seek light and love and hope.

The music will be wonderful, not all of it new, but all seeking catharsis, hope and blessing and a sense of community as we worship in our own homes, scattered literally across the world. 

The Lectionary reading takes me into John 3 and I will reflect on that verse that is Bible Gold but has been so overused and abused that it has almost domesticated the faith. We will attempt to give 3:16 back its width and breath and depth.

We will also survey that cross and find ourselves looking into the deepest darkness and also realise that there are glimpses of light. 


find us from 11am on FITZROY TV


Stocki in Ho's TV

Fitzroy Sunday Service goes on line at 11am as usual. The Lectionary Reading takes us into the homes of Simon and Andrew where Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law. That opens up all kinds of fascinating insights... and then with the crowds closing in he has to find space for prayer. We will find our place in humanity's order of things is so crucial to salvation and resurrection.


Before that at 10.15 I have a big hand in this year's 4 Corners Festival Sunday Service even though my voice will never appear. It goes out on BBC Radio Ulster and can also be seen if you register at We have original songs, the Festival theme song and familiar hymns redone. There will be poems, including one from the profound Richard Carter and Charlotte Curran from CFC will be our preacher.


Finally, the final event of this year's 4 Corners Festival goes out online at 7.00pm. This will be an event that takes us out of the Festival and into the year ahead. To help us do that we are thrilled to have the amazing voice of Beki Hemingway who has written a song especially for the evening, the poetry and wisdom of the amazing Damian Gorman and some comedy from Play It be Ear. David Campton will send us out with the help of Diane Holt. It will be a fitting finale. 





Stocki in Ho's TV

In our Fitzroy Sunday Service tomorrow (Going live on Fitzroy TV at 11am) we will be playing around with the NEW in Happy New Year. 

An original song will ask how God did it at creation and continues to do it in ever beautiful sunset. We see the similarities of creation and Jesus' baptism. We will seek out wisdom in the conversion story of the apostle Paul.

As we yearn for social freedoms further down the 2021 road we ask how we should be preparing spiritually for such a time using some of the recent writings of Pope Francis in how new book Let Us Dream! As my ordination vows encourage, " we will not refuse light from any quarter!"

We will also hear from Mark and Hannah Lyttle about how they are preparing for the next part of their lives.























Christmas Time

We are almost three weeks into our Song A Day In Advent and we have had some amazing songs.

More than ever in Coronavirus Year we wanted to scatter some goodness. Every day we have attempted to send out a song that brings us into the Christmas event, sprinkling joy and peace and love and maybe a nugget of the prophetic from this most seismic event in history.

The series has been defined by variety and quality. We have had the real life artists like Brian Houston and Yvonne Lyon who have been kind enough to make guest appearances alongside teenagers like Talitha Bowman and Eleanor Black, the latter singing her very own original song. 

There have been other original songs across the Fitzroy Collective and some solid covers dropping depth charge thoughts into our day.

We are not finished yet. This week sees some amazing songs and performances, from amazing carols to original songs and more guest appearances that I am so thankful for.

Take a glance across the songs on Soul FM (that’s Fitzroy Music). Take your time on them. Take the goodness from them. 

And… keep watching…



African Nativity

Well with 4 shopping days until Valentine's Day (!!!!) we are excited about the next week in Fitzroy. We are not gathering in solidarity with our population who need protested from the spread of Covid-19 But Christmas is far from cancelled. The real reason for the season will be well presented...

Tomorrow (20th - going live on FITZROY TV at 11am) we will have some very delicious Christmas songs and we will be looking at the discipleship of Mary, applying a David Thompson song to the Luke 1 Lectionary text. If you want to get into the real feeling of the real Christmas at the beginning of Christmas week... look no further!

On Christmas Day (going live at 11am) we up the musical anti yet again. Some amazing musical wonderment from all Fitzroy ages... Christmas Day will feel like Christmas Day and we will keep it short sharp and spiritually helpful for the year that is in it.

On December 27th (going live at 11am) we will stay in the feeling of the Christmas event. We will not be putting away the decorations but like CSI theological investigators will scan the Christmas scenes to find evidence of lessons right across Jesus life and teaching right there in these early chapters of Matthew and Luke. We will keep the music sharp too.

We hope that you have been enjoying our Song A Day In Advent too... some great songs this coming week... watch them on SOUL FM

Please join us where and when you can... Emmanuel Christmas!



Fitzroy Community carol

(a Fitzroy Community Carol Service from years gone by)


I am so excited about tomorrow morning's Fitzroy Online Sunday Service (live on Fitzroy TV from 11am).

Every year, for the last 8, we have had a Community Carol Service. It has been on a Thursday night and we've welcomed the energy of the Botanic Primary School children and a host of others. We have also in the past had jugglers, fire eaters, parades up Botanic Avenue and a couple of times, live nativities with animals and all! 

The bad news is that there was obviously no Community Carol Service on a Thursday night this year but the good news is that we are bringing the community into this week's Advent Sunday Service.

So, we will be having readings and prayers and interviews and poems from very special guests from around our neighbourhood. Homeplus, Foodbank, Mornington, An Drochad and Women's Aid will all be joining us. We will also be hearing those children in Botanic Primary School and another original song from Jonny Fitch who will add a couple fo carols.

I will be asking what the local minister would want to gift to our neighbourhood at Christmas and suggesting, with a look back to World Aids Day last week and ahead to the 40th Anniversary of John Lennon's death this week, that Jesus already is that gift!

FITZROY IS NOT CLOSED!!! (Surmising Yesterday's Restrictions)

Sounds Good

Can I declare a few things. Fitzroy is not closed… Jesus ascension has not been rescinded… The Holy Spirit is where he always has been, creating over the void and dark depths.

The news yesterday that church buildings would be closed to gatherings for a fortnight created a reaction. I understand some of it. The vast  majority of churches have been working extremely hard on keeping to the safety guidelines on restrictions, social distancing, masks, no loud singing, no coffee after the service etc.

It has worked in most places but sadly not in all places. A few churches have made the news. I am aware of people having to isolate after someone at a service tested positive the day after and I know ministers who have had to isolate and indeed tested positive too. Even with the strictest of regimes this virus can impact.

So I understand the Executives decision. I am aware some colleagues might not and that is ok. We can disagree. I am aware that for other churches it is probably more essential to meet than it is for us in Fitzroy. We are blessed with a good team to do church on-line and a congregation able to access it. 

Whatever our initial reactions though I would call my brother and sisters in church leadership to move forward with a positive attitude. We come into a season when the most amazing story will be told Sunday after Sunday. We will hear of a God who sacrificed all his rights because a virus of the soul was killing the whole of humanity. Let us follow that God and see it is a privilege to sacrifice our rights as a witness to the baby born and laid in straw.

Let us also declare that the buildings might be closed but the Churches certainly are not. Fitzroy’s Zoom Prayer Meeting this week was one of the most inspirational prayer meetings that I have have ever been at. It is fake news to suggest that we cannot connect with each other and God in the virtual world. I am aware too of home groups flourishing on Zoom. Baby and Toddler, children and youth ministry and more continue even if we cannot meet.

Fitzroy’s on-line service has us reaching across the world with regular “attenders” in western Canada, mid west America, across the UK and Europe and all the way to Bangladesh and Australia. We have had hundreds more at our services online than regularly attend Fitzroy on a Sunday morning.

That on-line potential so excites me as a minister coming into Advent. Fitzroy are viewing this particular Christmas as a month of Mission. Has there ever been a Christmas where the world needs light and love and hope and peace more than in 2020? We are seeking out imaginative ways to reach into people’s lives as individual members. We are also imagining how we can use virtual resources to share the glorious story of Emmanuel right across the entire world. Emmanuel means God With Us and there is no better news for a world in isolation and socially distancing than to know that God has broken every distance to move in among us.

Oh no! Fitzroy is not closed. Jesus ascension has not been rescinded and the Holy Spirit really is creating above the seeming dark void.