CIMS Quiet Day in Magheradroll
The AGM and Annual Quiet Afternoon were held in Magheradroll Parish Church Ballynahinch on Saturday 25th February 2006.
The Speaker was Rev. Canon Dr. Alan Abernethy of Ballyholme Parish.
Wilfred Young (Lay Sec), Canon John Mann (Gen Sec), Rev Canon Dr. Alan Abernethy and Bishop Harper (Chairman).
|Lay Secretary Wilfred Young and Chairman Bishop Alan Harper preparing for the AGM;|
HOW DO WE
an Annual General Meeting and a Service of Holy Communion in the Parish
Church, the Director of 'The Quiet Afternoon', Canon Alan Abernethy,
Rector of St Columbanus, Ballyholme, addressed the members of the
Society. He began by asking the question 'How do you perceive God?' He
continued: 'I once asked children in a school class ‑ 'If you were
God for a day, what would you do?' Among a chorus of suggestions one
child said: 'I would make God visible!'
illustrate the difficulties in the way we perceive God, Canon Abernethy
described a seminar, organised by Bishop Harold Miller, in a course of
self‑appraisal for clergy. For all the 8 clergy who took part, the
most difficult part of the exercise was prayer. Our perception of God
effects how we pray. For instance, is it a duty or a joy? AS the late
Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey remarked: 'To breathe is to
Christmastime Canon Abernethy was in Cornmarket, Belfast, to buy
Christmas presents. An open‑air preacher was addressing passing
shoppers. Down Ann Street came a Santa Clause, somewhat the worse for
drink. Spotting his target, the preacher directed his condemnation at
this object spectacle. A crowd gathered to witness this developing
drama. Santa Clause dropped his bog and stood still but after a brief
pause, he picked up his bag and walked away without saying a word. The
crowd applauded and as Canon Abernethy said: 'They applauded because
they saw more of God in Santa than they did in the preacher.'
Canon Abernethy asked the Society members present to consider the story of the prodigal son at the time Jesus told it in Palestine. In the context of that period a son asking his father, still living, for his inheritance was tantamount to saying: 'I wish you were dead.' The father responds by graciously conceding to his son's request. The prodigal takes his inheritance, uses it and abuses it and finally returns home in disgrace. His father runs to meet him. Again in that time in Palestine elders do not run out to welcome someone younger. Is our perception of God a God of Judgement and Righteousness, like the elder brother, or a God who gives freely and always welcomes the repentant sinner? Canon Abernethy quoted the words of Jesus, which begin: 'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.' He concluded with the words of his grandfather, who said to his grandsons: 'Remember this faith is a journey and the only promise you have is God is with you.'