2016 will be remembered for many reasons. Aside from political upheavals, it has been a year when the world has mourned the loss of many celebrities – people who were held in such high regard that it was almost shocking they could not overcome their mortality.
As we said goodbye to David Bowie, George Michael, Muhammad Ali, Victoria Wood, Prince and Carrie Fisher, to name a few, there was another who passed away in 2016, who was not as well known, but whose life of humility and service stands as a shining example: Helen Roseveare. Described by Moderator, Dr. Frank Sellar, as “a hero of the faith”, Helen was an English missionary to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Arriving in 1953 at the age of 28, she dedicated herself to medical care, forming a training school for nurses and establishing a hospital and rural clinics.
When civil war broke out in the 1960s Helen was imprisoned along with other missionaries and she endured the horrendous torment of rape. This was a poignant part of her story and a trauma that she overcame through the grace of God, even describing it as “the privilege of sharing in some little way in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.”
Helen’s was a life totally sold out for God. In 1945 when she felt called to missionary work she describes saying to God, “Go ahead and make me more like Jesus, whatever the cost. But please (knowing myself fairly well), when I feel I can’t stand anymore and cry out, ‘Stop!’ will you ignore my ‘stop’ and remember that today I said ‘Go ahead!’”
As Helen’s life testifies, living truly devoted to Christ involves much change and sacrifice. In this issue Jonny Hanson challenges us to consider our commitment to protecting God’s creation, describing climate change as our version of abolishing slavery or ending segregation.
Also in this issue, Matt Williams, in the second of his three articles, asks thought-provoking questions about our attitude to extreme poverty and holds up a mirror to the reality of our Western moral superiority.
Regular readers will notice changes to the Herald as we enter 2017. By incorporating some of the content of ReachOut magazine (PCI’s former mission magazine), we aim to include more congregational and missional stories that will inspire and enthuse readers about the wider work of our Church. We welcome previous ReachOut readers to this new format, and are delighted to have Rebecca McConnell, former ReachOut editor, as a regular contributor, who will edit the ‘Mission Connect’ section.
As we embark on a new chapter for the Herald, we hope that you will enjoy journeying with us and that this year will be one of blessing and renewed devotion to our Lord.
Sarah Harding, Editor
The Presbyterian Herald is the official magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. It provides a forum for debate and discussion on a wide range of topics and aims to challenge and encourage Presbyterians, as well as inform them about what the wider Church is involved in. It has a readership in excess of 25,000 and is distributed throughout Ireland.
To find out more go to www.presbyterianireland.org/herald