Radio 4 broadcast from First Lisburn

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On Sunday June 28 BBC Radio 4 came to Lisburn to broadcast from one of the city’s oldest churches.

The popular Sunday Worship show broadcast live from First Lisburn Presbyterian Church at 8.10am on Sunday morning.

The congregation were delighted to welcome the radio show to Lisburn, as well as the New Irish Arts Choir and Orchestra and Rev David Bruce.

The service was conducted by the minister of First Lisburn Rev John Brackenridge, who expressed sympathy with those who lost loved ones in Tunisia last week.

“We’re worshipping this morning very conscious of Friday’s savage and terrible events on a beach in Tunisia,” said Rev Brackenridge. “No words could even begin to express the revulsion and horror that surrounds us today. We can only begin, in a very limited way, to imagine the overwhelming feelings of those was caught up in the events and the sheer weight of emotions numbingly being experienced by many, many families who are faced with devastating loss. Expressions of condemnation or of sympathy appear totally inadequate.”

Rev David Bruce, the Secretary of the Board of Mission in Ireland of the Presbyterian Church also participated in the service.

Following the horrific killings in Tunisia, Rev Bruce spoke of the hope in despair found in Psalm 13.

“The Psalms don’t sanitise suffering,” said Rev Bruce. “Nor do they dodge the issue of believing in a good God, especially when most of the time, the weight of evidence appears to be against such a belief. The families with relatives in Tunisia today, and people in Kuwait and France, reeling with news of their bereavement must wonder where God is in the horrific events which have unfolded.”

He also added: ”The mobilisation of God is the antidote to despair. This is not wishful thinking. This is not just singing praise songs to make us feel better. This is living by faith - an audacious act of defiance, which says, “I am not going to fall over - I will stand”.

Readings and prayers were also offered by members of First Lisburn congregation, including Janet Moffett, Susie Gilbert, Joyce Moran, Marion Craig and Lily Hanna.

Music came from the New Irish Arts Choir and Orchestra, which was established thirty years ago by Lisburn hymnwriter Keith Getty, who led the uplifting praise, amongst which was a piece based on Psalm 42 called “Longing”, composed by Jonathan Rea it contains the words, “As pants the deer for water sweet, so longs my soul with God to meet”.

First Lisburn organist Tom Whyte also accompanied the congregational singing during the service, including the hymns ‘The King of love my shepherd is’ and ‘Nearer my God to Thee’.

The service was produced by Bert Tosh.