Presbyterian Women get ready for May's big day

27.4.2024 | Ministry, Presbyterian Women, Church Life, Women's ministry

One of the leading best-selling Christian authors of the day, Dr Amy Orr-Ewing, is set to speak in Belfast next month, when the UK-based writer and theologian is the guest speaker at the Annual Conference of Presbyterian Women, the organisation that supports the development of ministry among women across the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Upwards of 1000 women are set to gather in Assembly Buildings in Belfast on Saturday, 11 May to hear Dr Orr-Ewing, who will give two different talks around the organisation’s theme for the year, ‘Entrusted’, which comes from Luke 12:48, which says ‘… from one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.’ The Morning Session is from 10.30am-12.15pm and the Afternoon Session is from 2pm-3.45pm.

Members and guests will also hear from the outgoing Presbyterian Women’s President, Mrs Ann Wilson from Saintfield, and welcome her successor for the year, Mrs Ellen Hillen from St. Columba’s Presbyterian Church in Lisburn, who will address the morning session. As one of the invited guests, PCI’s Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Sam Mawhinney, will give an address of welcome.

With the Conference just two weeks off, Pauline Kennedy, PCI’s Women’s Ministry and Presbyterian Women Development Officer, is looking forward to the annual gathering. “As one of Ireland’s largest Christian women’s organisations, with around 450 groups across the denomination north and south, we aim to encourage and equip women to live for Jesus, being disciples and making disciples.

“The Annual Conference is always one of the highlights in the church calendar and is the biggest gathering in PCI after the General Assembly. Given how busy she is, this year we are delighted to be welcoming Amy as our guest speaker, who addresses the deep questions of our day with meaningful answers found in the Christian faith. Many of our women will know her many books, especially ‘Where is God in all the Suffering?’ and ‘Why Trust the Bible?’ and will have the opportunity of listening to her not once, but twice; firstly, in the morning and then in the afternoon session, as she will give two different talks around our theme for the year, ‘Entrusted’, so we will be doubly blessed,” Pauline said.

“Having studied for her doctorate in theology at Oxford University, Amy serves as Honorary Lecturer in Divinity at the University of Aberdeen. A theologian and speaker for the past 25 years, she has spoken and ministered in 40 nations, and like the MPs, Peers and their guests who heard her speak at the National Prayer Breakfast in Westminster last year, we are also really looking forward to hearing from her.”

Interviewed for the spring edition of the organisation’s new magazine ‘Inspire’, Dr Orr-Ewing said, “I believe the Lord has a wonderful word for us within the conference theme of having been entrusted with much in the gospel. He is calling us onwards and upwards, to go deeper with Him and to go further for him. To fulfil the potential and promise of our lives and to receive the riches of His love poured into our hearts.”

Asked about her hopes for the Annual Conference, which is a free non-ticket event, the best-selling author continued, “I hope and expect a divine encounter as we gather together and unite around the Word of God. I am looking forward to sharing fellowship with women, gathering and seeing Him heal and encourage hearts, strengthening us for the service He has called us all to.”

During the meeting this year’s Home and Overseas Special Projects will be unveiled with updates on last year’s projects, which were supported to the tune of £30,000. The Special Home Project focussed on mental health through the work of REACH and Biblical Counselling Ireland, while the Special Overseas Project supported Christian broadcaster, and one of PCI’s global mission partners, SAT-7, as it continues to reach people across the Middle East and North Africa.

Each year Presbyterian Women supports its Mission Fund to the tune of around £380,000. This supports the work of PCI’s deaconesses at home, the training of new student deaconesses, and the work of South Belfast Friendship House, alongside PCI’s Global Mission Workers.

“As I have said many times before, together, Presbyterian Women is a real partnership that is able to support the development of ministry to women in the Church each year, and the generosity of our groups enable us to support our various special projects,” Pauline Kennedy explained.

“This year will be the first time that we have had British Sign Language interpreters, so I hope that as many women from across Ireland will be able to join with us in two weeks’ time as we come together to worship and celebrate all that God is doing on our lives and through His church. I know that we will come expectantly, and with hope, to encounter Him afresh and take home to our churches and communities His blessing. To all who are able to come, you will be made very welcome and I look forward to seeing you on 11 May,” she said.

You can read an interview with Dr Orr-Ewing in the Spring edition of Inspire, here.

Photos (1) Dr Amy Orr-Ewing who will be making two addresses to the Annual Conference (credit Hazel Thompson (2) Entrusted - the theme for 2024-2025 which is based on Luke 12:48 (3) Pauline Kennedy, PCI’s Women’s Ministry and Presbyterian Women Development Officer (4) the 2023 Presbyterian Women's Conference in the Assembly Hall.

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