A reflection on my first year

Rev. Nathan Duddy

19.4.2017 | Congregational Life, Mission in Ireland, Mission

Nathan Duddy is the 28-year-old minister of Arklow Presbyterian Church. In his blog, he reflects on his approaching first anniversary there and describes the church family that makes up this small County Wicklow congregation.

As I approach the anniversary of my ordination in this place it is great to reflect on the story of this church family, and of the kingdom here in the sunny south-east of Ireland.

We are a small congregation, yet we are made up of so many different nationalities, ages, and backgrounds. At the same time, we are made up of so many fragile stories, which mesh our family together.

These stories, for me as the minister, sum up the life and essence of our church. Stories of redemption as we see folk come to know Jesus as Redeemer and Saviour, stories of value as those who felt completely worthless suddenly see how good the Father is.

There are stories of sorrow, as we reflect on the deeply loved and cherished brothers and sisters who passed away this year. Ultimately, this has been a year of fragile people encountering the incredible power and strength of the Holy Spirit.

As we reflect fully, we also want to look forward with anticipation. We have just started a small food bank to reflect the growing need in our community, and as we grow in this place we want to continually be aware of the needs in our town.

After the success of Alpha last year in Arklow, the leadership in the church is currently evaluating the next steps from that in the coming year. As usual we are continually blown away with excitement at what our Irish mission worker Philip Whelton is doing through the drop-in facilities for kids, young mums – all of whom are from the wider town. Philip and I, being dreamers, are yearning for a way to bring our work closer together.

Ultimately we are here in Arklow to see the kingdom of Jesus Christ come and expand. We are not a social club, we are not a ritualistic gathering, but instead we are an outpost full of salt and light. We seek to be pioneers in Arklow, joining with other churches as we seek to see Arklow transformed by the incredible love of Jesus.

At times when the church feels so small, and Arklow seems so big, it can appear that we simply are whispering the gospel into the wind, inaudible to most. Yet that only reflects how fragile we are. With God, with His Holy Spirit, we are more than conquerors; we are heirs to a higher throne. With God we face our community, we face our town, and we declare passionately, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”

Please prayer for us from the wider Church is vital to our ministry here. If you pray for us, pray for our conversations – that they might be gospel-centred and effective. Pray for our endeavours, that they might not be in vain. Pray for our leadership including myself and Philip as we seek God’s will in the year ahead.

Also, why not come visit us? Everyone would be made most welcome!

This blog first appeared in the Mission Connect section of April’s issue of the Presbyterian Herald.

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