St John’s Orangefield hosted a special service on Saturday 18 June to celebrate and say a big ‘thank you’ to all those working in the Emergency Services in Northern Ireland. All of the statutory services were included and local dignitaries, ministers from other local churches and service men and women attended.
It was a sunny day, perfect for cream teas and refreshments on the lawn before the service which included a testimony about what it is like serving as a Christian in the police and prayers for those who serve. Revd Andy Moore, deacon intern with the parish and a qualified Paramedic, planned the event and gave the address.
Andy was on the frontline with the Ambulance Service for 13 years and from 2020 until his ordination in 2021 he worked in the Belfast Trust managing one of the departments in the Royal Victoria Hospital. Andy still does some bank shifts in the Rapid Response Car and understands just how challenging the work is in the current negative climate.
“These folk are doing their best in really difficult circumstances,” he says. “Many are Christians and I wanted to encourage them and say thank you, and also to thank God for his faithfulness to us in our work.”
Andy preached on Mark 2: 1–21, the healing of the paralysed man, and children from the parish helped with a visual aid by carrying a stretcher up through the congregation.
He said in his sermon:
“One of the things I remember most fondly from my time as a Paramedic was how closely the emergency services work together. Those calls, often mundane, were referred to as the ‘bread and butter’ of what we did, yet they brought so many disciplines into the mix. It doesn’t matter what uniform is worn, what colour the stripes on the side of the vehicles are, nor even who pays our wage. What is important is the mission to serve the most vulnerable and needy within our society.
“The story of Jesus healing the paralysed man in Mark 2 is much more than just this one individual receiving a miracle at the hands of Jesus. We often overlook the pivotal role that the four friends had. Without the four men working together to carry the paralysed man to Jesus, without thinking outside the box by going through the roof and then taking the physical burden of his weight as he is lowered down in front of Jesus would have left the man without healing. Those actions command a respect. They trusted Jesus without having ever met Him. Trusted that He would heal their friend and went above and beyond yet did so in a humble and obedient manner. The emergency services do that each day, serving others often to the detriment of themselves.
“For me, it is following in Jesus’ footsteps and acting in compassion and love for all those I encounter that helps me draw closer to God. And that closeness isn’t unique and is evident this afternoon in your attendance and commitment to others. May those who encounter you in your professional and personal capacity see God’s hand upon you, His love shining through you and above all else, draw others closer to Him that embraces us all.”