In this month of Remembrance, we hear from two PCI forces chaplains, who, along with their families, are regularly making big sacrifices for their jobs. Brent van der Linde, a Royal Navy chaplain, and Michael McCormick, an RAF chaplain, are often away from home for long periods of time, and working alongside other forces personnel, they are exposed to the same dangers. Despite the many challenges, both are dedicated to their roles, describing their work as “journeying with others”.
Brent is often away at sea and has been in some frightening situations – on high alert and ready to go to war in an instant. In those moments, when his job is especially difficult, he says, “…humanly you couldn’t do it…God gave me the strength.” Even though he admits to feeling inadequate at times, he affirms that “God uses me more than I could ever imagine.”
Also in this edition, we address some of the difficulties associated with the current cost-of-living and energy crisis. Robin Davey, an energy management consultant, offers some practical advice for congregations to consider in regard to their church buildings. And Jonny Currie from the Trussell Trust outlines a bleak picture for those who are struggling to pay for food. Although we are not even into the worst of winter, he already reports people requesting food they don’t have to heat because they cannot afford to do so. One person shared, “I do skip meals. The kids don’t, but I do. I can go three days without eating. When I first started doing it, it was like, oh my goodness, I feel ill. Now I’m used to it.” Sadly, one recurring comment that volunteers hear is, “I never thought I would be here”.
Many churches are involved in helping with the food crisis, whether through Trussell or another organisation, or individually reaching out to those in their community. As Christians we are called to act; to journey with others in their need and provide help and support where we can.
In his Mission Connect article, RAF chaplain Michael McCormick reflects on the story of the road to Emmaus, where a ‘stranger’ journeyed with the disciples. He says, “They do not recognise Jesus until much later… Then, where they had seen death, now they see hope in the risen Jesus.”
Not all those we journey with will see Jesus straight away, but this need not deter us as we trust God for his goodness and provision as we work and witness in the communities where he has placed us.
And in this month of Remembrance, we also turn our thoughts to the community of Creeslough, as we journey with them in prayer; asking God to sustain and comfort them at this tragic time.
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.