‘Generosity’ was the theme for this year’s County Donegal Schools’ Service which took place as usual in Ramelton Presbyterian Church. Around 500 pupils from 29 schools right across the county attended the Service. They were accompanied by teachers and clergy from many parishes.
The Service is hosted by the patrons of Church of Ireland and Presbyterian-managed schools in County Donegal and this was the third year it had been held.
The congregation were welcomed to the church by the Minister, Rev Amanda Best. Worship was led by the Moderator of the Derry and Donegal Presbytery, Rev Mark Russell, who is the Minister of Leckpatrick Church in Artigarvan. Children from many of the schools present took part in the Service by performing readings or saying prayers.
The Diocese of Derry and Raphoe’s Children’s Ministry Officer, Kirsty Lynch, gave the address – in three parts – while Bishop Ken Good brought the Service to a close with a blessing.
The three readings used during the Service were taken from the Book of Ruth and were used – along with X-Factor and Kirsty’s own house-moving experience – to explain ‘generosity’ to her young audience. In the first reading, Ruth 1: 6-22, she said we saw how Ruth was generous to Naomi by giving everything up to be with her. In the second reading, Ruth 2: 1-23, Boaz was very generous with his time. “He could have just ‘blanked’ Ruth and ignored her,” Kirsty said. “but instead he took responsibility: he cared for her, he found out about her, he made her feel valued and helped her out in so many different ways.”
The third reading, Ruth 4: 1-22, in which Boaz marries Ruth, dealt with the choice people faced to be either generous or selfish. In the various readings, people had opted to be generous, by caring for someone or by giving their time. “So, that’s the question I’m going to leave you with today,” Kirsty said to the congregation. “What are you going to choose: to be generous or to be selfish?”
In line with this year’s theme of ‘generosity’, each child was invited to bring an item of food for the Letterkenny Food Bank. Billy Banda, who was accompanied by two colleagues, accepted the gifts on behalf of the Food Bank shortly before the Service ended.
As the young people left the church to return to their classrooms, each school was presented with ‘a goody bag’.