More than just a church at the heart of Finaghy

Rev James Burnett of Lowe Memorial, Finaghy Rev James Burnett of Lowe Memorial, Finaghy
By Brónach Ní Thuama

SITUATED on the Upper Lisburn Road, Lowe Memorial is a vibrant centre of activity in the heart of the greater Finaghy community.

The Presbyterian church prides itself on addressing social issues while welcoming all denominations through its doors. The Reverend James Burnett is at the heart of the church and has issued an open invitation to people of all backgrounds to come along and see what’s on offer for themselves.

“Here at Lowe Memorial we are lucky enough to have a thriving hub of activity,” he said.

“We have something on every morning and evening. We have a toddlers’ group and lots of youth organisations such as Girls Brigade, Boys Brigade and Pop House Art drama group. We are very cross-community – the boys and girls come here from all over Belfast for their various activities and do their homework and make use of the free wifi.

“We also invite people to call in for a cup of tea or coffee – they can sit and read their paper. We also have a table tennis group, a knitting group. It’s a very happy place.”

With lots of volunteers and trainee missionaries who help out in the church, James says it’s a hub of activity, especially now in the run-up to Christmas.

As well as various activities for young and old Lowe Memorial are also inviting people to come and explore their faith by taking part in the Alpha Course in the Devenish Complex every Wednesday from 7.30pm-9pm

“We are partnering with three Catholic churches, St Michael’s, St Anne’s and Our Lady Queen of Peace, on this Alpha course,” said Rev Burnett.

“It’s a ten-week course which has the full approval of the Pope and the Catholic Church and is also fully approved by many of the Protestant churches as well.

“It’s an introduction to the Christian faith. It’s an opportunity for people to refresh their faith, to meet and talk and ask any questions at all. We just explore the central truths of Christian faith. We have so much in common and this course highlights it.”

On Sunday November 27 there will be a very special guest at Lowe Memorial when Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte arrives to speak about his faith and the strength it has given him to get through the past few devastating years after the death of his daughter, Michaela.

“We want to be a cross-community church and we also want to strengthen our links with the GAA. Mickey Harte has great faith and the way he has dealt with the murder of his daughter is admirable.

“Many of our folk have no experience of the GAA, the sad thing about where we live is whatever school you go to determines what sport you play. Mickey Harte is an exceptional leader and manager, he seems to be the Alex Ferguson of the GAA! He is a prime example of a good leader.”

As well as making sure that all age groups are catered for, James says they also take the issue of debt seriously and are working to alleviate the problems that many families find themselves in.

“We are the main Christians Against Poverty (CAP) centre in South and West Belfast.

“In the Belfast Finaghy Debt Centre we provide expert advice and support to enable you to become debt-free. CAP has a proven track record, won awards and gained respect with creditors.

“Our aim is to help people gain control of their debts by contacting debtors and trying to renegotiate payments and get them down to one payment instead of several. We also have a job club and a group that helps people with addictions, we try to look at all social needs.”

If you wish to register for the Alpha Course or to be involved with the church you can connect with them via Facebook, email lowe.memorial@tiscali.co.uk, telephone 02890 626561 or simply turn up.

Please follow and like us: