Today Tides deals with the blessing of forgiven sin. The opening verses of Psalm 32 are powerful.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin theLord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
The Moderator challenges us today.
Aware that you are forgiven and accepted, who can you help today and thereby point to Jesus?
As one does, I asked Google for help!
Dr Cindy Brown is a lecturer in Systematic and Historical Theology at Belfast Bible College. In this article she reminds us that even in the desert, God is near. Read the article here at Reimagining Faith
A couple of weeks ago Wilma wrote about Florence Nightingale and now Wilma has informed me that there is a nursing exhibition at the Ulster Museum. It should have been launched just as the start of lockdown was announced. It can now be viewed digitally.
The Florence Nightingale - Nursing and Midwifery 200 years exhibition at nmni.com/fn200
Last Friday The Times ran an article about Christians in sport, claiming that where once a belief in God was mocked in sport, that is no longer the case. An interesting read, sorry if the picture below is a little difficult to read.
Kids will love “Colour the Story”, which lets them customize Bible story pictures!
Get The App Here
The Belfast Telegraph carried this interview with Kristyn Getty on Saturday, the day after her birthday.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in online worship across the island of Ireland, new research from Queen’s University has revealed. The Newsletter on Thursday published some of the findings, you can read the article here -
Or the main parts are available to read at the end of today’s blog.
James from CARE UK is on Facebook each weekday morning at 8:45am, with a devotional message and a time of prayer. You can either join live or catch up later in the day. This will only work if you are on Facebook.
While on the subject of Facebook devotionals, Mitch from Crown Jesus Ministries is live with his wife Amanda every Morning at 7:30am. Again you can join him live or watch later in the day. This is the link to Mitch on Facebook.
And this is the link to the Thursday devotional.
Rumour has it that the National Trust are opening up the Strand to cars very soon (it may even be today) numbers will be restricted and may be initially for members only. So today’s Jigsaw is from 21st March 2020, the last day that cars were allowed to park on the Strand. The next day cars were restricted to just the entrance. Once again for the weekend, I’ve increased the number of pieces and all that sand looks the same colour - take your time with this one.
Play the "Portstewart Strand" puzzle!
Yesterday the Where Is It? Was part of the white rocks in Portrush. This particular structure is located below the car park at Magheracross situated just before you arrive at Dunluce Castle. You can’t see it from the car park but you can see the fence of the car park in the top right corner of the photo.
Still on the North Coast, we are venturing a little outside Portstewart once again for this Where Is It? I hope this one isn’t too difficult, it was taken a few years ago.
Survey About Online Worship (Mentioned earlier in the blog)
A survey reveals surge in online religious worship during pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in online worship across the island of Ireland, new research from Queen’s University has revealed.
Many churches have moved their services online during lockdown Copyright: Press Eye Ltd
The research was conducted in the form of a survey by Dr Gladys Ganiel, from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast and published by the Irish Council of Churches.
The survey reveals how people of faith are grieving, coping, moving religion online, and serving the wider community; and allows us to see how faith leaders are coping with the stresses of ministry.
During the pandemic, many faith leaders who responded to the survey described an increase in religious practice, linked to moving worship and services online. They observed surprising numbers of people tuning in for worship services and other events, noting that people who would not have entered their church building were accessing online services.
“Moving faith online has created new opportunities for religious practice. In some cases, lay volunteers have assisted faith leaders in moving faith online. This is an opportunity to increase and enhance lay involvement in many aspects of ministry and should be encouraged,” Dr Ganiel said.
“Religious practice will continue to feature a mixture of online and in-person elements. Faith communities should invest in training and resources for faith leaders and laity to develop blended online/offline ministries.”
The key findings include:
* Before the pandemic, 44% of faith communities did not provide online worship opportunities; now only 13% of faith communities do not provide these opportunities.
* 70% of respondents agreed that they would retain aspects of their online ministries when restrictions on public gatherings are lifted.
* 74% of faith communities from the largest denominations – Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist – were providing social services to the wider community during the pandemic.
* 89% of faith leaders said that faith had helped people cope with stress during the pandemic. They provided examples of people praying more and people who had previously demonstrated no interest in faith or religion tuning in to religious services or seeking prayer.
* 46% of faith leaders said their ministry had been more stressful than usual.
* 82% of faith leaders who are cocooning for age or underlying health conditions have continued their ministry.
Speaking about the findings, Dr Ganiel commented: “It is hoped that the results of this survey can inform and improve the practices of faith communities as the people of this island continue to negotiate the effects of the pandemic and lockdown.
“It also affirms the important role that faith leaders and communities continue to play across society, documenting the scale and character of their services.”
During the pandemic, clergy and religious staff have been designated as ‘key workers’ by both the Irish and the UK Governments, signalling their important role in burying the dead, comforting the grieving, and providing focal points for communities.
The survey was distributed to over 2,000 faith leaders via direct email throughout the island of Ireland, with 439 responses received between 6 - 22 May 2020.