FITZROY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

RICKY ROSS, MARTYN JOSEPH in FITZROY

Martyn Fitz

Like buses Fitzroy gigs don't happen for a few years and then two of the best ones happen in two glorious nights in November. 

We are so delighted that Fitzroy will be the venue for Martyn Joseph and Ricky Ross, just 24 hours apart.

MARTYN JOSEPH

FITZROY

November 24, 2022

Tickets available soon

 

RICKY ROSS

FITZROY

November 25, 2022

Tickets: rickyross.lnk.to/belfast

 

These are two of my very favourite songwriters, singing of faith and life and home.

I have described Martyn before:

"Martyn Joseph is as gripping a solo live performer as you are ever likely to see. He is passionate, provocative, at times tender and humorous, always humble but never afraid to be honest to God real. I have sat at his gigs and felt soothed at times of hurt, undone at times of self righteousness, provoked in times of comfort and always made passionate to change the world."

Ricky In Fitz

photo:bernie Brown

And then there is Ricky Ross. Deacon Blue have been one of my favourite bands since 1987

I kid you not but this is one of the most exciting opportunities of my life. I have been a Ricky Ross fan since I picked up the 12” of Deacon Blue’s first single Dignity in 1987. Whether with the band, solo or his album with his wife under the name MacIntosh Ross I have always resonated with his everyday lyrics, so skilfully rhymed. Ross has always had that sense of place, making the ordinary transcendent, for him Glasgow, like Van Morrison’s Belfast. Rosshas also had a sense of social justice and hopefulness that we could make this old world better than it is. There is a realism to his lyrics but always a sense of belief.


FITZROY OPEN DAYS - JUNE, 12 & 19, 2020

Fitzroy from across the road

This is the second time that we have attempted Open Days in Fitzroy. If you went to University then imagine your Freshers Bazaar.

This the opportunity for the congregation to see what happens in Fitzroy. The Coronavirus Days have broken up congregational life. The lack of community, that positive gossip over tea and coffee or what we used to have Family Focus curtailed communication. Some who joined Fitzroy just before the 2020 Lockdown and indeed since might have no idea what goes on. 

So Sunday Service will be MORE than worship and sermon. I want to stress that because as I see it the Sunday Service will not end as people leave after singing. The walking around the stalls to find out what goes on, what people can commit to is the practical act of worship tomorrow.

Last Sunday the stalls were all about what is going on in Fitzroy. Those things that are about fellowship, pastoral care and spiritual development.

Tomorrow, 19th, we will be able to see the Fitzroy reach across the world in mission. From the local neighbourhood to almost every continent on earth.

If you are a Fitzer can I urge you to come along. Do not see this as a day off. And if you wish to go to the picnic then bring some food and join us after all stalls have been visited.

If you are wondering about what Fitzroy is like then this might give you a few clues. Everyone welcome.

 

 

 


STOCKMAN SPEAKING AT CLONARD NOVENA 2022

Clonard

I am honoured this week to be a speaker at the Clonard Novenas. The Novenas in middle to late June every year gather upwards of 100,000 people over nine days. It's a veritable Festival right there off the Falls Road.

There used to be 11 Masses per day but that has been cut to just six as Clonard wonders who will return to live gatherings after two Coronavirus years of being only online.

I am leading the way and preaching at all six Masses on Wednesday, June 15th. The times are 7am, 9.30am and 11.30 am then 4pm, 6pm and 8pm. 

I will be trying to set the scene. Lockdown and war and all of the last two years leaves us in need of retreat and reflection. Jesus himself took time out? What is time out? How do we help faith to become the lens by which we see all that is around us, right now in this minute of our lives and in this moment of history.

I will be speaking again on the final day of the Novena - June 23rd.  All six Masses again! The theme that day is Mary! I always seem to be asked to speak or write about Mary. I am queasy about how Catholicism views Mary BUT also concerned that as a result Protestants have missed her courage and model of discipleship. 


FITZROY Presents - THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO... ABBA

Abba 2

The Fitzroy Musical Collective

Presents 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO... ABBA

with guest PJ (Preach Jockey) TONY MACAULAY

SUNDAY, JUNE 19th 2022 @7pm

Fitzroy Church, 77 University Street, BELFAST BT7 1HL

 

I find it hard to believe BUT... in our long line of Gospel According To... series we are doing ABBA. 

Now, I never thought that ABBA deserved any spiritual reflection whatever (actually ANY reflection at all) and then one morning on BBC Radio Ulster's Thought For The Day, Tony Macauley did a fabulous spiritual reflection on the band.

It was around the release of the band's first record in 40 years. Voyage had them back in the spotlight and Tony Macauley's first surmises on the new songs were of forgiveness and reconciliation. 

Tony has been a bit of a hero since University days. He was the cool guy working in the New Lodge at the Saltshaker, with a radio show and then started writing books that are now being made into musicals at the Lyric. He also works in peace and reconciliation across Ireland to Rwanda and Uganda. He is a dude but with one chink in his coolness. He is a fanatical ABBA fan!

I am delighted to bring them together. Sadly not Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anti-Frid in person but their songs across 50 years with Tony Macauley on explanation, our preach-jockey for the evening.

The Fitzroy Musical Collective will not disappoint with the music. It will take you back to your Dancing Queen 70s or your Mamma Mia movies and draw out some fascinating spiritual gems too!

ALL WELCOME. Fancy Abba dress optional!

WHY FITZROY DOES THEIR GOSPEL ACCORDING TO... SERIES

 

 

 

 


BEREAVEMENT SERVICE IN FITZROY - MAY 29, 2022

Worship Grief

On Sunday morning in Fitzroy (11am also streamed) we are going to try something poignant. We are attempting to do a Bereavement service for all of us who lost loved ones since the beginning of Covid.

If you can remember back two years, many of us lost loved ones and were unable, due to the restrictions, to have funerals. For many the thought was that we would do a funeral in a few months time. Two years later and those would be funerals are gone.

It is to recognise this loss, not only of a loved one, but of some of our steps of grieving process that we will dedicate the morning service to catharsis, lament, remembering and hope.

The songs and readings will be as would be at a funeral but with a little more opportunity to reflect on the Scriptures, to pause and to pray.

We will also have a liturgical act where those who have lost a loved one will bring a flower forward and lay it on the Communion Table, as appropriate music minsters to our loss.

Reflection as we partake in communion will be around the idea of Jesus as Shepherd, in Psalm 23 and John 10. 

We hope that this will be a pastoral help to all of us whose grieving was stunted by Covid. 


MEETING THE POPE (with The Catholic Chaplaincy at QUB) - FITZROY; May 29, 2022

 

CC QUB

This Sunday night in Fitzroy we will welcome students from the catholic Chaplaincy At QUB to Fitzroy.

At a slightly earlier time of 6.30pm we will welcome Fr Dominic McGratton (Catholic Chaplain), Shannon Campbell (Director Of Campus Ministry) and the Catholic Chaplaincy Pilgrimage team who went to visit Rome with Janice, myself and Fr Martin Magill. 

I will asking the students what it was like to have a private audience with Pope Francis and other highlights of their trip. I will go a little deeper to ask Fr Dominic and Shannon about the purpose of the trip, how the private audience came about and maybe even what it was like having a couple of Presbyterian interlopers! I hope I might draw in Fr Eddie O'Donnell and Fr Martin Magill too!

We will also be privileged to hear Canticle the little choir that sang for the Pope and at other events during the pilgrimage. Led by Marcella Walsh formerly with the Scottish Opera we are talking quality! 

 Come along and enjoy. 

 


TOMORROW IN FITZROY - 3.4.22

Fitzroy front

In Fitzroy we have been following Pete Greig's book How To Pray as we journey through Lent.

Tomorrow we will be looking at Confession. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he said, "Forgive us our sings as we forgive those who sin against us". That's perhaps the toughest line in The Lord's Prayer. 

In a week when Will Smith has been working out what sorry means it might be good for us to look deep inside. What is the worst thing that we have ever done? Do we feel forgiven? What is the worst thing that has happened to us? Have we forgiven those who sinned against us? 

All age band will lead our worship and we'll have the baptism of Nancy Campbell! 

 

In Fitzroy at 11am... or live stream HERE... recording from HERE on Monday 


TOMORROW IN FITZROY - 6.3.22

How To Pray

We are looking at Pete Greig's helpfully practical book about prayer, How To Pray,  during Lent.

Tomorrow we will look at how we approach God. Who is God? What is prayer? It is not mathematical. It is a mystery that we are called to and called to for our own good. 

AW Tozer once said that whatever we think about God is the most important thing about them. So it is with prayer. How do we live and engage with an entity way beyond our mortal minds? With someone we call Father but also hallow his name?

With the help of Bruce Cockburn's Lord of the Starfields:

"Lord of the star fields
Ancient of days
Universe Maker
Here's a song in your praise"

 

We gather in Fitzroy at 11am. It will be streamed live on Fitzroy TV... and then a recorded version will appear on Monday morning - Fitzroy TV

 


HOW DO YOU PRAY IN WAR? - TOMORROW IN FITZROY 27.2.22

Ukraine-Christians-Pray-Image

We have all been shocked by the events in Ukraine this past few days. War is back in Europe and we thought that such ideas were left back in the history of the first half of the 20th century.

How do we respond?

As prayers flooded social media bombs were raining down on innocent victims. Did that mean God wasn't answering or that there is no point praying? Why do we pray?

Tomorrow morning we will ask honest questions about living in a world where there will are and rumours of wars. I will confess to how a lack of faith stopped me praying for an historic world event. 

And we will pray for Ukraine... again... in our sense of hopelessness it is what we can do. 

It will al start a new series for Lent in Fitzroy that will help us to understand prayer, using Pete Greig's book How To Pray. We started this series for Lent in 2020 but got distracted by Covid. Let's get back to it!

Gathering in Fitzroy at 11am with live Streaming... A recording of the service will appear on Fitzroy TV on Monday. 


GETTING ASHED FOR LENT - AN INVITATION

Janice and I with ASH

ECUMENICAL ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE

FITZROY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 77 UNIVERSITY STREET, BELFAST

MARCH 2, 2022 @ 8pm

Preacher: FR MARTIN MAGILL

 

Without question the most spiritually satisfying experience of Lent that Janice and I ever had was in 2020 when we were ashed at what was believed to have been Belfast’s first Ecumenical Ash Wednesday service in St. Mary’s in Chapel Lane. 

It was the second time I had been ashed. The first time it was a bit of a surprise - shock to be honest. 

I was to be a guest speaker for a few days at an Episcopalian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The Cathedral of Advent is one of the most evangelical Episcopalian churches in America. 

I was picked up from the airport and driven straight to an Ash Wednesday service. Sitting near the front I soon realised that they were all getting ash on their head.

This was not the practice of Protestants in Ballymena where I grew up. I will be honest. I felt awkward. In Northern Ireland we are conditioned to what is Catholic and what is Protestant. The differences are dug deep. 

There was nothing I could do though and I reckoned if I was going to preach in this Church the next day that I better go forward. So, in a prayer blessing I received my ash. I will be honest again. I was glad that I was in Alabama as I left, looking like a Catholic!!!! 

Of course, the truth is, that like my evangelical brothers in Alabama, it is not only Catholics around the world who get ashed! In other parts of the world many Reformed Christians are happy wearing the mark of Christ’s death.

Our 2020 experience could not have been more different. Of course we had spent more time in Catholic circles and discovered that the caricatures of what Catholics believe was more myth than reality. Oh do not get me wrong there are differences in some theology and practice. However, we had also been enriched by sharing our love of Jesus with Catholic brothers and sisters, learning particularly in contemplation and prayer. 

To be ashed in St Mary’s was still a little awkward, particularly on the way home where you realised that people’s prejudices were stereotyping us. 

In the end that decision to come forward and commit to deeper disciplines during Lent came back to us as we walked through it, particularly in that most of that Lent was spent in strict Lockdown. 

Having that ash put on our heads, a reminder of our human frailties, also reminded us of our passion for Jesus and his ways. When I stumbled through Lent 2020 I was brought back to the tangible decision, a picture of our public profession.

We in Fitzroy are delighted to be hosting the next Ecumenical Ash Wednesday service on March 2nd, 2022. The preacher will be Fr Martin Magill who is almost part of the team at Fitzroy and there will be an opportunity to receive the ash.

Why not come along and experience the richness of such a service. There is no obligation to receive the ash but as a sign at the beginning of Lent of our journey towards Jesus’ death and resurrection, let me invite you to consider it. 

to book: email - roberta@fitzroy.org.uk