Welcome to our website.
Welcome to the website of Belmont Presbyterian Church! We hope as you browse through our website you will find something that may be of interest to you. Belmont Presbyterian is situated in the East Side of Belfast, Northern Ireland, an area popular with young families and retirees.
We are a multi-generational congregation, served by a team, under the leadership of Rev. Nigel Craig. Belmont has a rich history stretching back to 1862, and is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, which grew out of the 17th Century Plantation of Ulster.
We would love to welcome you to our services on a Sunday (10:30am/ 7:30pm). Our morning services last for about an hour, following the familiar patterns of Reformed worship (prayer, praise, Scripture reading, preaching, baptism and communion), blending historic and contemporary elements. Our children and young people leave for their own activities after the first 15 minutes of the morning service; we also have a crèche. There is wheel-chair access and a `loop system’ for those whose hearing is impaired. After the service everyone is welcome to the hall for a cuppa and a chat.
Our evening services are more informal, begin with coffee/tea, and meet in the Hyndman Hall.
What do we believe?
The essence of historic Presbyterian belief is to be found in the so-called `Five Solas of the Reformation’: Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura), Christ Alone (Solus Christus), Faith Alone (Sola Fide), Grace Alone (Sola Gratia), to the Glory of God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria).
In plain English it means that all we believe and do ought to be based on the Bible, and that Jesus Christ stands at the centre of the Bible’s message. As God’s Son he did everything necessary, through his life, death and resurrection, to open the way for us lost people to get into a right relationship with God again. That means we don’t have to rely on our own performance to get there, but instead trust Jesus completely. Now that’s grace – outrageous kindness on God’s part! Once we’ve been reconciled to God we’ll want to bring pleasure to Him in everything we think, say and do. It’s great to know that this is possible because God has given us His wonderful Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the Church.
We look forward to meeting you!
We’d love to see you at our services on a Sunday, or at any activity throughout the week. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
`The Lord bless you, and keep you!’
Please note: All services have been cancelled until further notice
Pastoral Letter to Belmont Congregation
PASTORAL LETTER, 31/3/20
Dear Members of Belmont,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I trust you are well. Following on from my last Pastoral Letter (17th March 2020), I thought it would be helpful if I gave you an update on what has been happening in Belmont congregation over the past two weeks. Although our doors have been closed, the lines of communication have been open.
As you may recall, following guidance from the UK Government and the Moderator and Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland:
1. Until further notice, all congregational organisations and activities have ceased.
2. Until further notice, all Sunday services for worship have ceased.
3. Until further notice, funerals will be kept strictly private.
I am very grateful for all that Mary Rose Gibson, as Clerk, and the members of Kirk Session have done thus far in these unprecedented days. The elders, along with others, have been endeavouring to keep in touch with members of the congregation.
I am also happy that the newly formatted Belmont Church Magazine has been emailed to members; hard copies, we hope, will follow. Thanks to Chris and Catherine Steele, the new editors of our church magazine, for overseeing the production of the latest edition in such changeable circumstances. I had the honour of baptising their son, Sebastian, in their home on Sunday 22nd March, just before the PCI and Government ruling that baptisms should be postponed until more favourable conditions.
It is of vital importance at this time that we look out for one another, by regular phone calls, emails and letters, and by praying for one another. If you are unable to leave your home and need assistance in getting provisions, please do not hesitate to contact your elder, the church office, or the pastoral team.
Members of our staff team have been working off-site, to keep personal contact to a minimum. I give thanks to the Lord for such a dedicated staff team.
· Chris Barron and I have been busy making phone calls and writing cards to members of the congregation, especially those who are elderly, unwell, bereaved or vulnerable. Chris will also be involved in any requests for help that come from outside the congregation.
· Ali Boyd has been doing a great job overseeing the administration of the congregation from home, using the church laptop. Ali can be contacted: email@example.com
· I am delighted to say that Rachel Jackson has been in regular contact with the young people and their families via social media, with some of their programmes continuing in an online platform. For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org
· I am also delighted to say that Hannah Craig has been sending emails to our young families with a weekly plan for Bible stories, prayer ideas and conversation starters, along with links to kids’ songs, activities and films. For more information, Hannah can be contacted on: email@example.com
Sunday Services & Worship at Home
For the past two Sundays I have been attempting to Livestream services via our Belmont Presbyterian Church Facebook Page, with one or two teething problems. The services, and “Virtual Assemblies” for the children, are now available on our own YouTube Channel (Belmont Presbyterian Church Belfast). I am very grateful to William McCollum for helping set up this YouTube channel.
I have started a series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, written from “isolation”, and yet pulsating with gratitude, joy and love.
John Chrysostom, centuries ago (AD 349-407) noted: “Indeed, the house is a little church.” At this time of social distancing I would encourage you to make your home “a little church” as you continue your private devotions, pray as couples and families, and as you gather on a Sunday to watch the online service.
As I said earlier, Hannah has emailed devotional materials to young families. Additionally, resources for adults (e.g.; Tides) are available on the website of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. You may consider following the E-100 (Essential 100) Bible reading plan by Scripture Union. If you do not have access to the internet, why not read through the Psalms or New Testament at this or consider reading prayerfully through the book of Philippians? And as you pray, please remember, in particular, those who are most vulnerable as well as those members of our congregation who are on the “frontline” in our hospitals, surgeries and pharmacies.
Let us keep praying for one another.
Leaders from the main denominations in Ireland, and other Christian organisations, have called for a National Day of Prayer this Palm Sunday (5th April), specifically asking that we pray between 3pm and 4pm for our land and world in the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic. More information can be found on the PCI website.
On Sunday 22nd March we considered Acts 16:6-34, under the heading: “A lot can happen in the space of a few days.” In the space of a few days the Gospel was brought to the continent of Europe, Lydia’s heart was opened to receive the Message, a demon-possessed slave girl was set free, and Paul and his companion Silas were imprisoned. At midnight an earthquake struck. The jailer, concerned for his spiritual state, asked: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas respond: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved; you, and your household.”
For many of us, the Coronavirus has struck our lives like an earthquake. Many of us may be asking: how can I save my job, my finances, my business, my family’s education and opportunities, my health? God may be leading us to ask an even more fundamental question: what must I do to be saved spiritually? What must I do to experience God’s rescue, his forgiveness, acceptance, healing, power, grace to cope and have the assurance of eternal life? The answer of the Apostle remains unchanged: “Believe, receive, trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
One final thought. On the first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to anoint the dead body of Jesus, they found that the tomb was empty. An angel said to them: “Do not be afraid … He is not here, for he has risen!” (Matthew 28:5-6).
Alas, due to the Coronavirus pandemic our church building will be empty this Holy Week and Easter. But let’s not fear! Jesus Christ is not confined to the four walls of a sanctuary. Yes, he is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, in his resurrected and exalted body; and, by his Spirit, he lives in the hearts of those who believe in him. He has promised never to leave us, or forsake us, whatever may happen. Hallelujah! There is hope! He has risen!
Rev. Nigel Craig
As you are aware this is an ever changing situation and I will keep you all updated. Please also refer to our website and Facebook pages for updates.