Presbyterian Herald October 2017

Sarah Harding

22.9.2017 | Presbyterian Herald

The October 2017 edition of the Presbyterian Herald is now available. Editor, Sarah Harding, introduces this month's edition.

Worth the cost

I recently came across the video connected to our Church’s Fit for Purpose theme in 2014, ‘A place of transformation’. I was reminded what a heart-warming and uplifting message it had, depicting Presbyterians from throughout our congregations in their places of transformation, whether on a farm, in a hospital, or overseas on mission.

This short video seemed to resonate strongly with people at the time, perhaps because it portrayed the diversity of the PCI Church family, as well as its unity of purpose. Our Church’s diversity is one of its biggest strengths and I always enjoy opportunities to visit congregations around the country to witness that first-hand.

This month I had the privilege of accompanying our photographer to Downpatrick Presbyterian Church, to take photos for Ruth Sanderson’s article on the ‘Fountain foodbank’. The church, in association with other denominations in the town, runs this foodbank from its choir room. It was so heartening to see the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers who take part.

Stories of what PCI congregations are doing should inspire us in our own situations, as well as encourage us to pray for them. However, our thoughts for other believers should not just be restricted to Presbyterians. We have many brothers and sisters around the world who are desperate for our prayers and support.

This month Suzanne Hamilton describes a bus journey with a difference; a trip designed to impact participants with the danger and limitations placed on ‘secret believers’ in countries where Christianity is not tolerated. Despite the implications for their lives, these people would still say, “It is worth it, no matter the cost.”

I wonder, could we say the same? Without the threat of persecution, do we make the most of the amazing gift we have to worship freely and to tell others of Jesus? Recognising the changing ethnic make-up of our society today and also that of our churches, Stephen Graham presents a challenge in his article, ‘When a Muslim calls’. He asserts that we need to be more prepared to engage with those from different faiths and none.

To reach out to others can be difficult, but whether it is through volunteering at a foodbank; supporting other believers around the world; or chatting to a new Muslim neighbour – what is clear is that we cannot do it in our own strength. As the Rend Collective lyrics that accompany the ‘place of transformation’ video highlights: “We are Your church, we need Your power in us.”

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.

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