Sharon has been a Deaconess at the International Meeting Point and Windsor Presbyterian Church since March 2015. The International Meeting Point is a drop-in centre located on the Lisburn Road in Belfast, reaching out to migrants and asylum seekers in the city. Windsor Presbyterian Church is also located on the Lisburn Road.
Her ministry involves making and building up friendships and relationships with the diverse community in the Meeting Point – bringing encouragement, support and practical help. At Winsdor Presbyterian Church she is involved with the congregtion in various ways, for example, working in the Mums and Tots group and with families.
Sharon grew up in Newtownards and went to Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church. At the age of 23 she studied to be a Deaconess at Belfast and Glasgow Bible Colleges. She also worked part-time in a voluntary capacity for the YMCA before training to become a Deaconess. Sharon is married and has two children.
It has been a real privilege to be involved in this work and learn more about the international community around me and their journey of faith. I am amazed over and over again of how God is at work in individuals lives from all over the world.
It is a big challenge for the church as they embrace people from all over the world and also a big challenge for those coming from all over the world to fit into a local Presbyterian Church. Rev. Ivan Steen has been a great encourager in this process and he has a real passion to see a church in the inner city grow, develop and reach out to different cultures – ‘Faith without Borders’ has been his theme for the past year.
I am involved in the mother and toddler programme at Windsor where there are many mothers attending who are from different cultural backgrounds. It is a joy to see the mothers all come together and enjoy each other’s company and chat about their little ones. We have made good relationships with the parents and have been able to help in pastoral situations and also share our faith. We were delighted when one mother attended the Christianity Explored course. We have also seen some mothers attend church.
The work of the Sunday School continues to grow with several new children attending; again, this is a very multi-cultural class offering great conversation between all the little ones. Over the year, two of the children shared that they had become Christians. Amazing!
International Meeting Point
The International Meeting Point continues to grow from strength to strength. We have seen an increase in those attending English classes and we are able to offer more Bible studies. We have eight Bible studies going on during the week; two in the Farsi Language, one in Chinese, one for women and four others in English. The Centre is now open five days a week and three evenings.
We are delighted that Henry Coulter has joined the team as our new Assistant Leader. He has been a fantastic asset to the Centre. Henry was a missionary in Bangladesh for over 30 years and comes with many gifts and great experience of working with people and teaching English. He also has great administration skills. Keith Preston continues to be an amazing encourager and brings wisdom and discernment in many of the daily tasks and problems that we face. He is a great visionary and spurs us on in this amazing work.
My work in the Centre changes every day from leading a Bible study, to cleaning dishes, sorting clothes, listening to people, trying to help families facing many difficult troubles and providing for some of our homeless friends who come in. It has been a big learning curve for me and such a privilege to be welcomed into the lives of so many of our international friends. God is doing an amazing work and I am so privileged to be part of it.