Causeway Chronicle

St. Mary’s Parish Church, Macosquin host unique communuty Remembance Service

St. Mary’s Macosquin – Festival of Remembrance- 10th – 12th November 2023

The Community of Macosquin came together to host a unique Festival of Remembrance at St, Mary’s Parish Church.

A rural Church is often the life-blood of a local community, it’s focus, it’s rock in times of loss, tragedy, sadness and celebration, birth and bereavement. This was typified at St. Mary’s Parish Church in Macosquin where the church became the focal point for parishioners, residents and Maocsquin Primary school children, all of whom came together to host a poignant and unique Service of Remembrance over last weekend.

The Rector, Rev. Paul Lyons said: “This has been a team effort including those who have knit poppies, made the Poppy Tower, created the displays and helped out on the different rotas. They have all worked together displaying creativity and showing love for God and His church.

The St. Mary’s Parish Church, Macosquin Festival of Remembrance will help  to look back with even greater appreciation for hose who have served and are serving, in keeping peace and protecting our country and world. As you ponder biblical promises may you know God as your source of peace and hope, today and always.” – Rev. Paul Lyons

Tower of Remembrance by the Craft Group A wonderful cascade of over 12,000 poppies to remember and honour all who served in conflicts. Lovingly created by the Church Craft Group, members of the congregation, and friends of St Mary’s from all over Northern Ireland and beyond.

When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, we gave our today?’ 

The Stone Poppy by Children of Macosquin Primary School. The large poppy on the grass is made of painted stones. The stones are different shapes representing the different homes and families who, at this Remembrance time, recall loved ones who served

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” – Philippians 1:3

1. Flanders Fields (Banner) by Russell & Sylvia Kennedy & The Macosquin Flanders Field by Alan Maguire

The illustrated banner is of “In Flanders Field”, a poem written by Canadian officer and surgeon, John McCrae in 1915 during the First World War. He wrote it after the death of his close friend Alexis Helmer in a battle in Belgium’s Ypres Salient, where red poppies grew over the graves of the soldiers.The poem expresses his grief, and his admiration, for the bravery of those who fought. It also helped popularise the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for the war dead of British and Commonwealth countries

The scene beside this is a ‘Flanders Field’ for St Mary’s, Macosquin. The poppies represent  men and women who made the supreme sacrince from this Parish, and who are listed on the Roll  of  Honour on the bback wall of the Church.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. ‘Psalm 116 : 15

2. Banner 1 (Foyer) by Maureen Jamieson

‘Remembrancetide’ is a period in the Christian calendar that is dedicated to remembering and honouring those who have died in wars and conflicts. It is usually observed in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday, the second Sunday in November.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.’Psalm 147:3

3. In Memory (Porch Window) by the Craft Group

In youth we feel our days are many, yet as the years slip by we become more aware of the brevity of life. This beautiful display is in loving memory of our dear friends Elizabeth Kennedy (Lizzie) and Dorothy Nevin, from her friends in the Craft Group. We remember fondly their wonderful example of lives marked by loving God and neighbour.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34

4. Service by Ruby Connor

A stunning tribute to four members of the family of Mrs Ruby Connor – William Millar, (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers WW I),  Ruby’s grandfather. In Anderson Park with his wife and Ruby’s mother. Ken Murdock,(RAF,WW2), Uncle to Sam Connor, Ruby’s husband. Sgt Major Raymond Hutchinson, (UDR, Royal Irish Regiment), Ruby’s nephew. Adrian Connor, (Royal Irish Regiment), Ruby’s son.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life asa ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

5. Sacrifice by Lorna Doherty

The great sacrifice depicted here is in memory of Private James Henry, as listed on the WWI Board of Honour on the back wall of our Church. The book contains letters home, and the photograph is of his late sister Georgina (Lorna’s grandmother).

The cross symbolises Christ’s sacrifice for us. The chalice and patten are communion symbols, the permanent reminder of Christ’s command, “Do this in remembrance of me”.

“Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. “John 15:13

6. Evacuees Cross by Macosquin Primary School

Across decorated with Remembrance Poetry written by Year 4 pupils to remember the fallen soldiers of WW 2. The cross is decorated with Poppy Art made by the children. The Evacuee case and labels area reminder of the children who were evacuated from their homes and families.

“Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3

7. Suffering by Evelyn Conn & Sonya Smyth

A wooden cross, helmet and flowers in British Legion colours. The cross reminds us of the pain and suffering of the soldiers and of our Lord Jesus. The helmet worn in the battlefields reminds us that with God on our side there is no battle we  cannot face

“I am the way, the truth and the life. “John 14:6 

8. Pulpit display by Karen Brown

The pulpit is the place from which God’s word is preached. In the news we often hear about the pain of fighting and division in the world but the Christian message is good news for the lost, hurting and searching.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. “Psalm 119:105

9. Poppy Cross (Holy Table) by Karen & Beattie Brown

Paradoxically, the cross is a symbol of suffering and defeat but also of triumph and victory. Martin Luther, in the Reformation, called the church to refocus on proclaiming the message of the saving work of Christ on the cross for the sins of the world.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. “I Corinthians1:18

10. Fallen Hearts by Sylvia Kennedy

The hearts falling from the church beans, represent the fallen in war and the broken hearts left behind.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains: where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth! Psalm121:1, 2

11. Harmony by The Choir

In music, harmony is the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce a pleasing effect. In times of difficulty, such as war, music harmonies can lift our mood and bring comfort in pain. Similarly, in life when we walk in harmony with God, we can know the joys of unity and hope.

“Live in harmony with one another.” Romans12:16

12. Peace by The Men’s Society

The scene in this window is the Christmas truce, which began with carol singing in the trenches. Guns fell silent and peace ensued. Legend has it, an organised football match took place in no man’s land, between the British and German soldiers on the evening of 24th ofDecember 1914, and continued for a short time into Christmas Day

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God”. Matthew 5:9

13. Animals of War by KFC (Kids for Christ, our children’s ministry)

The base of this display is covered with purple poppies, a symbol of remembrance for animals that served or died during war or conflict. Carrier pigeons were military messengers flying back and forth between enemy lines. Dogs were used to carry supplies, expose ambushes, and save the lives of platoons of soldiers. Horses were needed to move supplies, equipment and guns. These intelligent, courageous animals will never be forgotten.

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals.” Proverbs12:10

14. Banner 2 (Minor Hall) by Sylvia Kennedy

As you enter the Minor Hall the banner reminds us of the words of the Psalmist, words of comfort and hope. In the days ahead, as we put our trust in God, there is the assurance that He will be our refuge and strength. To God be the glory!

15. Good News (Minor Hall) by KFC

As you enjoy your refreshments take a moment to look around and read the words our young people have made, emphasising the blessings God brings as we follow Him. These words are a reminder that the church has good news to share with the world today.

‘May the grace of the LordJesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all! 2 Corinthians 13:14

Upwards of 300 parishioners and visitors attended the closing service of Songs of Hope and Praise on Sunday, 12th November from 4.30pm Singing at the service was Coleraine Community Choir; St Mary’s Church Choir and KFC Choir Leaving the church you could poppies were on the church gates and railings. These were made by our young people in KFC. 

“Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called children of God. “Matthew 5:9

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Maurice Bradley