Ready for a new season
For ‘In this month…’ for this edition, I was drawn to September 1996, with memories of a time when I was just finished school and embarking on a new adventure at university. It’s funny how we often can’t remember when things happened in our lives, yet there will always be key dates or years that we never forget, those that help anchor us to our past.
In her reflections piece, Ruth Sanderson discusses the draw of nostalgia, as she ponders the airing of the final episode of Neighbours. She muses about the lure of nostalgia, but soberly reminds us of its dangers: “…the nostalgia trap can make us miss the opportunities that God lays out for us. He wants us to keep our eyes focused on him, to look to the future and everything he has in store for us.”
As we enter a new church year, many will undoubtedly be feeling nostalgic for our pre-Covid times – back when it all seemed simpler. Attendance was larger; volunteers were more plentiful and more committed; and members were more devoted and less apathetic. Or maybe the nostalgia just makes it appear that way?
In 1996 Russell Birney wrote a piece in the Herald called ‘Ready for the new season’. Although 26 years ago, and long before any thought of Covid, his words still resonate strongly. At a time when many feel discouraged, Russell reminds us: “We can become paralysed by sheer discouragement which I am convinced is Satan’s favourite and most effective weapon.”
Seeing lives turned around is a great inspiration for us to keep going. One such story is that of Rosie, a resident at Gray’s Court, a PCI supported living facility for those recovering from addiction. Rosie bravely shares her story of being a heroin addict and prison inmate, to rebuilding her life and volunteering at the local boxing club, helping young people from both sides of the community.
As a result of a ‘Supporting People Innovation Fund’, Rosie was able to take part in an art project through Gray’s Court; one that resulted in an exhibition at this year’s General Assembly. Her painting of a lion is our front cover this month and she aptly says some of her artwork “represents…being in such a dark place and coming into the light.”
Russell Birney’s words offer us the encouragement we need for this season ahead: “We need to have unfailing faith that God…will do great things in us and through us and that if we are faithful, he will pour out his Spirit upon us and the church. So let us go into this new season with that expectant hope.”
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 or access the digital version via Issuu.