How Can Life Go On ?
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On Holocaust Memorial Day, we are asked to remember some of the worst genocides in modern history, the Holocaust with names that chill the soul, Auschwitz, Belsen and Treblinka. The Killing Fields of Cambodia, Rwanda with the mass murder of Tutsis by Hutus, Bosnia and Darfur in the west of Sudan which is still ongoing. This year over 34 events were held throughout Northern Ireland to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January, under the theme for 2017,   “How can life go on?”
 
Around forty people attended a Christian Service of Remembrance and Hope in the Sandel Centre, Coleraine, organised by Valerie Woodrow and sponsored by CMJ. The Rev Billy Holmes conducted the service and led the prayers and intercession. Velma Beattie read from Micah chapter 7 (ESV) where the prophet speaks of a time of great distress, persecution, and death and a time where evil abounds. Velma drew parallels to what it must have been like for those Jewish people confined to the ghettos and then transported to the death camps. Valerie read excerpts from the HMD Booklet and five candles were lit in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust and for victims of genocide in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.
 
Holocaust Memorial Day is a time for us first of all to remember. Remembrance is a very Biblical thing and a very Jewish thing to do but there is much more to remembering than simply not forgetting. The generation who survived the Holocaust are almost gone and we, the generation who have heard their stories first hand, have a responsibility to tell them to our children so that they will not be forgotten.
 
It is also a day of reflection for all of us. Alan Beattie shared his own personal reflections as he thought over some of the experiences he has had. He spoke of his visit to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, looking through the window and imagining the sounds of vehicles in the street outside and the sound of running feet on the cobbles below. What must it have been like for young Anne?  Another time on a short trip to Prague, Velma and Alan visited the Pinkas Synagogue, now a memorial to the Holocaust, where the names of 77297 men, women and children who had perished were written on the walls. They left the building in silence.

How could life go on in the face of such evil? Elli Wiesel, author and survivor of the Holocaust said, “For the survivor death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You much teach us about living”. Holocaust Memorial Day Theme 2017 says “The history and memorialisation of genocide can be key to how life continues post genocide.” As we remember history and reflect on the events of the past, part of that reflection should promote a response.
  
How then do we respond to such evil? Alan referred to the passage in Micah 7: vs 7-8 for the answer. Micah’s trust is not placed in man or in the things that were going on around him, he states that, “I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah’s confidence is in Yahweh and he knew that one day God would put everything right. How we respond as Christians is summed up for us in Micah 6 v 8. We are to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.        
      Pat Davidson      ​
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From L-R: Alan & Velma Beattie, Rev Billy Holmes, Valerie Woodrow

  
Coffee Morning in Holywood Parish ​ 

  
  
On the 14th February a group of about 30 people gathered for a coffee morning on a day we remember love, Valentine’s Day. We gathered to remember our love for Israel and the Jewish people. We shared in worship together and then enjoyed a video by Kelvin Crombie. Some of you may remember Kelvin visited Northern Ireland in the autumn of 2016 when he spoke about “Israel, Jesus and Covenant”.  Folk who were unable to attend the autumn events and others enjoyed hearing Kelvin speaking on this subject. We took the opportunity over coffee to partake of some wonderful Jewish cakes and treats. A honey cake, apple and almond cake enjoyed at Rosh Hashanah and Passover and “Haman’s ears” biscuits, as well as enjoying Israeli dates and figs.
 
 It was also a morning to promote the work of CMJ. We had a stand with displays and artefacts as well as an opportunity to buy some of Kelvin’s books. After coffee we regrouped to pray for Israel and the work of CMJ. The sense of God’s presence was with us and our prayer time especially blessed.      
        
For all those who attended we are very grateful and encourage others to run events in their Parish. 
  
Joy Ryan
  

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