Lord you tell us to pray for our leaders

So we pray for our newly elected Councillors

Lord give them wisdom



The desire to be servants

And the ability to compromise for the good of ALL

We pray that they would build peace

And Justice

And prosperous city for ALL

We pray to for ourselves

That we would continually pray for our Councillors

And then make ourselves available 

To answer our prayers

By partnering with our Councillors

For a better country for ALL.





Our God at the heart of St Patrick’s message we find forgiveness

A man who knew that he was forgiven

A man who forgave

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" 

God, St. Patrick lived those words

Yet we in this country who celebrate St Patrick have been abject failures at showing that to one another

For years, aye decades, indeed centuries, we have failed to find forgiveness for one another

We have talked our own prejudicial justice and wreaked vengeance

It leaves our island with two St Patrick’s

Ours and theirs

Marching in different parades

Lord if ever there was an antithesis of St Patrick we are that

God forgive us

God show us the centrality of forgiveness in your righteous ways

God may we not languish in some self righteous sense of our own forgiveness from you

While playing hermeneutical gymnastics with God’s call for us to forgive

Lord, this St Patrick’s weekend may we for the first time in 16 hundred years hear St Patrick’s call to be forgivers

God right now we seek your forgiveness as we confess our sins of commission and omission to you and others

- silence to ask forgiveness -

We thank you that 1 John promises that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

So Lord, thank you for our forgiveness through "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".

Send us back into our world knowing we are forgiven

To be forgivers

In Jesus name



Earthquake ST

Lord right now in Syria and Turkey

People are rummaging in rubble

Being still… quiet

To listen for life

Digging in hope against hope

Digging for life, for loved ones, for anyone

Lord guide… strengthen…

Lord may the word become flesh

To move among them.


Lord right now in Syria and Turkey

People are injured needing aid

People are homeless needing shelter

People are grieving the loss of loved ones

People are dying under rubble

Lord be Emmanuel - with them

Reach them with help. 

Lord right now in Syria and Turkey

NGO’s Gathering local information

Imagining how to deploy the aid

Give them wisdom, 

Unity of purpose

Speed on the ground

Stamina for the longevity

May we send what they need

May that help as circumstances change

Lord do do immeasurably more 

than all we ask or imagine, 

according to your power that is at work within us

Lord as all this happens

We gather here in safety to worship you

May our gathering and our praise and our prayers

And our visual commitment to follow you

Somehow blend into your will for our world

May we love our neighbours across the world

Today we name particularly Turkey and Syria

Lord we act justly

Love kindness

And walk humbly with you and like you

That your kingdom might come and your will be done

Across our earth as it is in heaven.


Fitz Women

We read Romans 16...


Women of Fitzroy

You are made in the image of God

Just like me

You are loved lavishly by God

Just like me

Jesus lived and died, was raised to life and ascended to heaven

For you

Just like me 

Women of Fitzroy you are also different to me

You have different sensitivities

You have different characteristics

You have different gifts and genius

But you are made in the image of God

So if we want all of God in our leadership structures

We need women

Or something will be missing

Women of Fitzroy we appreciate you

In the fulness of your humanity

Bringing all that you have to give

Into leadership at every level of our community life

In whatever leadership position you are gifted for

Thank you for your leadership

Every single one of you.


Rememerance Day

Today as we remembered those lost in war... and Jesus death in the sacrament of communion... I preached on the intersection of what we carry from the past and how live from here. I used a James K A Smith quotation from his book How To Inhabit Time:

"Contingency means that of every history wench say "It didn't have to be this way" and " This is the way it is." The question at the intersection is, Now what? How to live forward."

I then wrote this prayer/poem to lead us into communion.


Here we are

We carry the past to here

It didn’t have to be this way


This is the way it is

Let us look around


We remember

The effects of a broken world








We remember

Our faith

God as one of us

Loving us

Demonstrating his love in this

While we were still sinners

He died for us


We remember 



New birth

The lamb of God

Taking the sins of the world


We remember

A call to follow

To pray

God’s Kingdom come

On earth is in heaven


We remember

We are here

We come with what we are

We come with what we’ve done

We are a beginning


At this intersection

God use this bread and wine

To give us faith in the brokenness

To give us love in the presence of hate

To give us peace in the every absence of it

To give us hope when it is against ALL the odds

To give us resilience in the long hard slog

To give us joy in spite of it all

To give us a vision 

Of how live forward

To where lions lie with lambs

And wolves eat with lambs 

And swords are made into ploughshares

And people study war no war


Here we are

At the intersection of history

We remember



God help us

We need leaders

You ask us to pray for our leaders

And we have

But we wonder if you are listening…


Whether in London

Or in Belfast

We shake our heads in disbelief

We would laugh uproariously 

If it wasn’t so sad and serious and tragic

Damaging mental health

Physical health

Care for the sick

Costing lives.


We have people at wits end

Wondering if can they feed their children

And not the historically poor

But the working middle classes

With heat or food dilemmas

And what food they can afford.


Meanwhile our political leaders,

Playing games for self and votes and seats and power

And seemingly losing every game they play

Seem bereft of wisdom, judgement, vision, credibility

Or care for all of those at wits end.


God help us

Find leaders

Who are compassionate and pragmatic

Who love neighbours as they do themselves

Who serve humbly for the marginalised

Who give the hungry something to eat, 

Who give the thirsty a drink

Who invite in the stranger

Who cloth the naked

Who look after the sick

And visit the prisoner

Who will let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream.


God help us

Please be listening.




Beautiful Creeslough

We are speechless

Feel useless

But we share in your grief


That our share is minimal

Compared to those who loved closest and most.



In such quiet

Could loud be so LOUD

In such softness

Could hard be so HARD

In such idyllic

Could hell be so HELLISH

We pray...


We pray that somehow in your sudden grief

In the depth of your mourning

As you continue to carry your trauma

That you would meet someone who understands


Not way out in space

But who came near

Lived among us

Wept in heart break

And in whose death

Experienced unfairness

Someone who is still near

And here by his Spirit

Offers empathy


Peace beyond understanding

Who invites you Creeslough

Beautiful Creeslough

“To approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)



THE PROPHET’S SPEECH (From “Garden To The City”)

(My Belfast paraphrase of a Doug Gay original based in Glasgow…) 


I saw a vision – it was Thursday at eleven o’clock in the morning.

I was standing Divis Mountain, looking down over the city

And the cold, blue autumn sky broke open over my head

And the spirit of God breathed on my eyes and my eyes were opened:

I saw Belfast, the holy city coming down out of heaven

Shining like a rare jewel, sparkling like clear water in the eye of the sun

And all the sickness was gone from the city

And there were no suburbs or schemes

No difference between Malone Road, Lenadoon and Tullycarnet.


I saw the Lagan running with the water of life

As bright as crystal

As clear as glass

And the children of Belfast swimming in it.

And the Spirit showed me the tree of life

Growing in Botanic Gardens.


I looked out 

And there were no more homeless people dying

There were no women working the streets

There were no junkies up the alley ways

HIV and AIDS were things of the past

There were no more racist attacks

No more attacks on gay people

No more rapists

No more stabbings

No more suicides

No more so called “punishment beatings”

No more Protestant and Catholics

No more sectarian songs and graffiti

No more effigies on bonfires

Because there was no more hate

And I saw women walking safe at nights

And the men were full of passion and gentleness

And none of the children were abused

Because the people’s sex was full of justice and joy.


I saw an old woman throw her head back and laugh like a young girl

And when the sky closed back her laughter rang in my head for days and days

And would not go away.


This is what I saw, looking over Samson and Goliath

Looking up from the city of death

And I knew then that there would be a day of resurrection

And I believe that there will be a day of resurrection.


Margy to Sea

Let me lead you

Beside quiet waters

A walk by the sea

Or through the hills

A boat on a lake

By the beauty of rivers and mountains

Put the smart phone down

Put your tired feet up

Breathe in




Beside quiet waters


Beside quiet waters

Do not ripple the calm

By reading your messages

Opening emails

Or checking your diary

Do not agitate the peace

By reading books about vocation

Facebooking every photograph

Or writing blogs like these

Let me lead you

Beside quiet waters.


Ukraine On The Ground

(I wrote this prayer from little bits of news coming out of Ukraine through prayer requests from members of Josiah Venture on the ground... I used it at an Ecumenical Ash Wednesday service in Fitzroy)


On the ground NOW

Ukrainian citizens cowering in underground car parks

Seeking shelter from Russian attacks

Lord may the word become flesh

To move among them.


On the ground NOW

Teenagers, young men and woman, older men and women

Volunteering to defend their country against Russia

With no previous military experience

Merciful Emmanuel, God be with them


On the ground NOW

Women and children on buses across Ukraine

Seeking safe routes to safer places

May you be their refuge and strength

And an ever present help in their troubled journeys


On the ground NOW

Refugees in long queues at border posts

Or already over the border

Leaving home with nothing at all

Lord may they today be delivered from evil

May those who take them in, have daily bread to give them


On The Ground NOW

NGO’s Gathering local information

Imagining how to deploy the aid

May we send what they need

May that help as circumstances change

Lord do do immeasurably more 

than all we ask or imagine, 

according to your power that is at work within us


On the ground NOW

International leaders

Imagining, planning how to end this war

How to put pressure on Putin to draw back

Without escalating the violence and deaths

God we pray you would bless the Peacemakers

That the baby Jesus would pour out

Peace on earth and good will to every human soul.


On the ground NOW

We gather here in safety to worship you

May our gathering and our praise and our prayers

And our visual commitment tonight to follow you

Somehow blend into your will for our world

So that swords would become ploughs

Spears would become pruning hooks

Tanks would become tractors

Bomb silos would instead be filled with grain

May your Kingdom come in Ukraine, its surrounding borders

And all across the earth as it is in heaven.