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Sunday 7th March 2021 - will be Live Streaming on You Tube at 11.00am - Third Sunday in Lent

May I encourage you to continue to gather around your computer, tablet, phone, etc on Sunday mornings at 11.00am and we will do virtual Church together until the end of March 2021, when a further update will be posted on the website and on Facebook. A link for this (which is the same for every Sunday) has been posted on the West Church Facebook Page and here below on the website. Live Service Link

“Moderator's letter regarding Paul Givan's “Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill”, which was introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 16th February 2021”.

Dear Colleague, You will recall that I wrote to you last month to let you know that I had written to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to express sadness and surprise over its decision to instigate legal proceedings against the Department of Health, Northern Ireland Executive and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland over a perceived failure to fully commission abortion services here.

Colleagues were able to raise these concerns in person with Chief Commissioner Les Allamby in conjunction with other church representatives and faith groups at a subsequent online meeting.

You may also have heard that today (Tuesday 16th February) legislation was introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly which would remove provisions in the abortion legislation that allow for terminations up to full term in the case of non-fatal disability. Those non-fatal disabilities could include club foot, cleft palate or Down Syndrome amongst other diagnoses.

This Private Member's Bill brought forward by Paul Givan MLA is called the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill and if passed will remove provision for abortion where there is a substantial risk that "if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled".

Along with 80% of those who had responded to the Northern Ireland Office consultation on abortion legislation back in 2019 PCI remains firmly opposed to the imposition of these regulations on the people of Northern Ireland. Ideally we would like to see all of this law repealed, not simply this small section. However this Private Member's Bill provides an opportunity to make a first small, but important, step in the right direction.

Back in June 2020 our elected representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly held a debate on this issue, and overwhelmingly rejected abortion up to term on the basis of non-fatal disabilities. This means that most MLAs have at least indicated in principle that they would be supportive of this legislation.

Earlier today I wrote to all of our MLAs encouraging them to support the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill when they have an opportunity to vote on it for the first time in the next few weeks. A copy of that correspondence is attached for your information, and I would encourage you to also contact your elected representatives on this matter. You can find contact information for the MLAs in your area here.

Should you wish to do so you might consider including some of the following points:

•Express your continued opposition to the abortion regime that has been brought into NI

•State your concerns that the current law discriminates against people with disabilities such as Down Syndrome

•Explain that the Bill is important in sending a clear message to society that people with disabilities are equal to others

•Ask them to speak and vote in favour of the Bill at its Second Reading

If you would like further information please contact Rev Daniel Kane, Convener of the Council for Public Affairs ⟨dkane@presbyterianireland.org⟩ or PCI's Public Affairs Officer, Karen Jardine ⟨kjardine@pesbyterianireland.org⟩.

New books for Wild West for March to May 2021

Hi boys & girls,

As you know we still can't meet together and so I have been looking at some ways to help keep you all connected with learning the Bible and all the stories we would be teaching you in Wild West. The next series of workbooks are here on the church website. This month's booklet is looking at the life of Noah. These are great, easy to use booklets. Level 0-preschool Level 1 - 3-6 years Level 2 - 8-10 years I hope you find the fun! Linda

Bibletime is written, designed, edited, and published by BES UK (Bible Educational Services). Bibletime is a monthly course of fun-filled activity sheets designed to help learners engage with the Bible. The aim is to complete one A4 booklet per month and I will hopefully remember to upload to the website every 4 weeks

The wild west team really are missing you all. We really look forward to all meeting again.

Please give the booklets a go and see how you get on.

Thanks

Linda Livingstone

PDF/Level0_A2.pdf Download booklet 1 - Pre-school here.

PDF/Level1_A2.pdf Download booklet 2 - 5 - 7 years here.

PDF/Level2_A2.pdf Download booklet 3 - 8 - 10 years here.

I hope you have been able to access the bible story booklets which were uploaded here to the church website. The llast month focused on Creation. This month we will be looking at Noah.

https://youtu.be/_vjjhMWJ2wE

REMINDER

(q) There will be no facilities for Wild West, Switch or Crèche for the foreseeable future.

(r) There will be no meetings of organisations either from church or the community for the foreseeable future. When the time comes all start-up plans will have to be submitted to, and, authorised by Kirk Session.

Either Linda or myself will lead a short act of worship which we can all join with from the comfort of our own homes. We are also aware that not everyone is on Social Media so we want to make DVD/CD's as widely available as possible so please contact the

Church Office 028 2564 8327 - Opening Hours 8.30am to 13.30pm Tuesday to Friday - Closed Mondays.

to give your details or e-mail address. westchurch.ballymena@btinternet.com.

Communion Services and Baptisms 2021

Pre-packaged units containing the bread and wine will be distributed to the congregation at the service, only.

Parents seeking infant baptism should contact either Linda or Daniel directly to make the appropriate arrangements within the PCI guidelines.

Pastoral Care

Hospital visits are once again cancelled until at least the 6th of March 2021. Regular pastoral visits have also been suspended for the time being, so the best way to keep in touch is by phone, e-mail, WhatsApp,text messaging and other electronic means. So it is important to make sure that, Patricia at the office or your elder, has your correct details on file, particularly mobile numbers and e-mail addreses.

The first point of contact in this regard should be the elder to whose district you have been assigned and they will be in touch with you in the next few weeks and months.

This will be a hugely important way of keeping in touch. In the sad event of there being a funeral by necessity it will stll have to be strictly private but a small Church service is available in the meantime with a limit of 25 attendees. We will update you on that whenever things change.

Help4you - Community Service

Linda Keys co-ordinates a group of volunteers who are willing to assist anyone who is self-isolating and requires shopping, DVD's or CD's of the Sunday Services, medication and other messages to be dropped at your doorstep. This service has prooved to be invaluable to those who are unable to leave their homes at this time. If you are or know someone who needs this assistance please let Linda or the Church Office know.

A MASSIVE thank you to all the volunteer helpers who have been delivering shopping, DVD's and CD's and prescriptions to those in need. Please use this service, where ever possible. We are only too happy to help you or a neighbouror friend in any way we can - contact Linda directly on 07799100444.

Hamper Ministry

Once again A HUGE THANK YOU and BLESSINGS to everyone who has contributed so generously to our Hamper Ministry last year and this year, when it has been vital to all of those in receipt of this ministry. We are in great need of toiletries, washing up liquid, washing up powder, porridge oats, cereal, diluting drinks, sugar, crisps, biscuits and UHT milk for the month of March 21 - Thank you.

Many of our own church members and our neighbours, townsfolk and our friends are going through extraordinary tough financial times in this New Covid 19 restricted period and are in desparate need of food to sustain their families. We know the number of people who will be affected by the uncertain economic changes in our world will only be on the increase in the coming weeks and well into 2021.

If you know of someone, a neighbour or a young family, or simply someone who needs a bit of help or support during this time, please let us know so we can reach out to them in a small way with this ministry.

In order to deliver this food safely and hygenically to everyone, we are asking for anyone who has a spare Bag(s) for Life - to please drop it (them) off to the church - leaving them in the shopping trolley that is placed inside the church porch area at the Albert Place glass door ⟨ Rear of the church building ⟩. During Office hours ONLY

(8.30am -13.30pm Tuesday to Friday).

Please press the buzzer to gain access to the shopping trolley. Thank You.

Tuesday 9th March IGNITE on ZOOM

We are back again on Zoom with IGNITE in on Tuesday 9th March 2021 at 7.45pm and every other Tuesday of every month. Contact Daniel or Linda or the church office for the log on details. The Covenant History Bibles are still available at a cost of £5.00 along with a copy of the weekly readings as a bookmark.

Tuesday 9th March 2021 – Week 13 - Samuel and Kings

(Pages 452 – 491)

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 – Week 14 - Samuel and Kings

(Pages 491 – 516)

Tuesday 13th April 2021 – Week 15 - Samuel and Kings

(Pages 516 – 553)

Tuesday 27th April 2021 – Week 16 - Samuel and Kings

(Pages 553 – 581)

Download your copy here.

ZOOM Prayer Groups are held in the weeks in between Ignite

To compliment and encourage everyone, in the weeks between IGNITE sessions, IGNITE prayer groups have been set up, under the management of Linda Keys.

If you are not currently involved in a Prayer Triplet but would like to meet through Zoom with like minded prayer warriors throughout this Covid19 pandemic, please contact Linda Keys (07799100444), or Daniel Kane (028 2565 3111) or Patricia at the Office (028 2564 8327).

We will require your e-mail address and you will be advised on the details that will permit you to join the Zoom meetings when they take place.

Please check with your group when the next Prayer Zoom meeting is being held - each group may differ throughout the Autumn and Winter.

Our Youth Programme for 2020/2021 Online

Our youth programme for 2020/2021 looks a little different this year. Unfortunately, we are not able to meet in person for the foreseeable future, however we are continuing online!

Our youth programme is for all young people Year 8+ and we meet via Zoom @ 7.00pm on the second and fourth Sunday evenings of each month. We have been explorng the Big Picture of the Bible and wil continue to do so for the remainder of the 2020/2021 year. Here is a reminder of the programme:

In preparation for each session we would encourage our young people to do the following things:

14/03/21 - Jesus Ministry: Teaching

28/03/21 - Jesus Death

11/04/21 - Jesus Ressurection

25/04/21 - Pentecost

09/05/21 - Jesus Return

23/05/21 - New Creation

•Read the appropriate material and Bible passages before each session as having read this will be useful for breakout rooms. Details of each session we are on and Bible passages will be posted into the youth What's App group and also to the church Facebook page in the days leading up to out meetings.

•Have your Bibles, pens and worksheets ready with you either as a hard copyor o a laptop/ipad. All material that the young people will need for our sessions between January and May was sent out the week leading up to Christmas, to the e-mail addresses provided on the consent forms. If you haven't received the material please let, me, Laura Kelly know on 07803289722.

Although we will be meeting online, consent forms do still need to be filled out and these can be accessed on our church website RESOURCES page, the form is called Zoom consent. Please fill them in electronically(including parental signature) and then send them to Laura Kelly, whose email address can be found on the consent form.

Prayer Ministry

The love we have for one another in Christ is expressed through prayer which is our best weapon to fight against this coronavirus and our individual anxieties and concerns going forward. Please use the prayer email at westprayer@hotmail.co.uk.

Emergency Prayer Line 07544833501

On-line Support

There are lots of really good websites and youtube videos which you can use to encourage your spirit and nourish your walk with the Lord. Desi Maxwell's material is available to everyone free of charge at http://xploretheyoke.com/membership-acco.../membership-levels/ Don't forget the joy of reading a good book!!!

This is a time for us as followers of the risen Lord to speak faith into the fear and reassurance into the uncertainty.

And don't forget - "Together we are West."

All notices for the bulletin and website must be with the office by Wednesday at 6.00 pm.