The visit was one of 20 different engagements that he is undertaking this week as the Moderator continues his tour of the Church’s Presbytery of East Belfast to encourage the local church and to see first-hand its work on the ground.
“As a member of our Church’s Disability Services Committee I am very familiar with Aaron House and the amazing care that is provided here by the team. It is a very special place and much more than a Residential and Day Care Unit, as it is a home from home for our residents,” Dr McMullen said.
“Each room reflects their individual personalities, interests and tastes, while providing a personal space for family visits and celebrations. As a church we are so grateful to our local congregations, Presbytery and the wider community for their continued support and prayers. This isn’t my first visit to Aaron House but on each occassion, I am made to feel so welcome and leave totally inspired – today was no different.
Dr McMullen also paid tribute to the staff. “During my visit today I wanted to take the opportunity to thank our staff for the amazing work that they do, for their commitment, skill and tender care. I also want to pay tribute to all professional carers for the invaluable work that they do, and indeed the unsung, unpaid carers who look after loved ones at home up and down the land.
PCI’s Council for Social Witness has day-to-day management responsibility for the denomination’s 17 homes and support units, which includes Aaron House. Opened in the Ballybeen estate in 1995 it accommodates 16 residents on a permanent basis and two residents each week for respite care.
“People matter to God and they matter to us. We are called to demonstrate his love for people, which means putting our faith into practical action and simple Christian caring, which is a powerful social witness to the gospel,” said Lindsay Conway, Secretary and Director for Social Witness, who accompanied Dr McMullen on his visit.
“We believe that people with disabilities have the right to live and work in the most normal and least restrictive of settings. Aaron House nurtures each individual’s emotional and spiritual growth, family and social relationships and community involvement. To provide these services, demands the highest level of dedication and care from professional staff, with the majority of our staff having been with us for more than 10 years.
“In these changing and challenging times, when resources are becoming increasingly scarce, as a Council we continue to welcome the valuable input from family members and other relatives in supporting staff who provide quality person-centered care,” Mr Conway said.
Photos: On his visit to Aaron House, the Moderator met Edmund Skillen who enjoys painting as a hobby and has also had his work exhibited (1) Edmund is picture with ministers from the East Belfast holding up some of his work (left to right) Edmund Skillen, Rev James Warburton, High Street Presbyterian Church, Dr McMullen, Rev Davy Rankin, minister of Strand Presbyterian and Rev Richard McIlhatton of Christ Church Presbyterian Church, Dundonald (2) ministers and the Moderator are shown a photograph by Edmund of his exhibition in Lisburn Civic Centre that took place last year.