We are a family of people who love Jesus Christ and seek to live for him. We are learning what it means to be fully alive in Christ as we are being transformed, through the Holy Spirit, into becoming more and more like him.
Our aim is that Hillhall Presbyterian Church and the organisations within, become an assembly of God’s people who meet to worship God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who live by the standards of God’s word, and who have a concern for the lost and the needy with a burning desire to reach out to the community with the message of God’s redeeming love in Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have two services on a Sunday. Morning worship commences at 11:00 am and approximately 300 people of all ages gather to worship God. Our evening service at 6:30 pm tends to be more traditional and is supported by loyal and faithful worshippers.
Message from Rev. Paul Jamieson.
I am writing with a real joy that very soon we will be back together in God’s house but also with a deep concern that the COVID-19 virus is still very much alive and may cause serious consequences for those who catch it.
Our responsibility at Hillhall is to be certain we have taken every measure to ensure we have implemented all Health and Safety protection measures. Our priority is to prevent the spread of COVID19 as far as reasonably possible as we carry out our work for the Kingdom of God in providing services of worship.
Therefore after considering all the safety issues and consulting relevant scientific evidence the Kirk Session has tentatively agreed to recommence public worship on Sunday 23rd August 2020. In arriving at this date, we have taken into consideration a number of factors:- a large number of members are shielding; those in the over 70’s category who are high risk; many others under 70’s who have underlying health issues and mostly all within these groups have indicated they do not wish to return at this very early stage.
With recent outbreaks in Leicester, Australia, South America and even in Crossgar/Ballynahinch, we are very clear the COVID-19 has certainly not gone away and we are all at risk of possibly catching the virus! While the Executive at Stormont indicated that churches could recommence from 5th July there is a lot of legislation to be implemented before we can safely return to public worship.
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland issued a comprehensive set of guidelines for ministers and congregations, with advice on everything from applying the COVID-19 two metre rule, designing one-way systems in corridors, to the cleansing of equipment and rooms, which might be used. In addition to the Central Church guidelines, the Kirk Session has insisted that a risk assessment must be carried out by a suitably qualified assessor to ensure we are taking every precaution to protect the health and well-being of our members.
Since we were last able to go to church on Sunday 15th March much has changed. Lockdown has placed significant pressure on all of us. While we want you to have the opportunity to worship together as a congregation, it is imperative to plan, prepare and implement our safe return. Safety is paramount. A cautious approach to the reopening of the church is required. The Moderator, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce recently wrote to ministers offering practical advice, he comments:
“Firstly, we must stay safe. The virus remains, and the best advice is that it will remain for a long time to come. Local church leaders will make arrangements to ensure the safety of everyone. This might mean that a church member will find their usual place is not available to them, or that some of the much-loved patterns of worship may be missing. To be safe, we will need to set aside some things we love to do, and be ready to embrace some changes. Be patient if you find yourself asked to do things differently. Secondly, we need to be wise. While the NI Executive has permitted worship to happen from 5th July, some congregations may be intending to go back immediately, many are not and shouldn’t be pressurised into doing so. Some have told me they don’t think they can return until August or September – and that should be fine with us. The practical arrangements for cleansing and re-organising the flow of people through a building, and possibly limiting numbers at services, will all require signage, some equipment, and possibly training for stewards and others. Wisdom requires patience.”
As you can imagine much work is required to reopen the church and while you may be disappointed with this decision from the Kirk Session I do believe it is the right decision for us at Hillhall especially at this time and under these unprecedented circumstances. I genuinely miss you all and you are all constantly in my prayers. I trust God will richly bless you, protect you and very soon we will be together again in what will be a very different Church.
In the mean time, the Sunday podcast service will continue to be provided until such time when we can all be together to worship in our Meeting House. God Bless.
Rev. Paul Jamieson
BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. DO NOT FEAR OR BE IN DREAD OF THEM, FOR IT IS THE LORD YOUR GOD WHO GOES WITH YOU. HE WILL NOT LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.
Hillhall Presbyterian Church will be open on Wednesday morning between 10:00 am – 11:00 am for anyone wishing to make a contribution.