This month’s eye-catching front cover of the Herald is an illustrated version of our Church’s new ‘Vision for Society’ statement. In his article, Stephen Johnston explains what the statement means and its importance for us as a Church and as individuals. He writes, “this Vision for Society statement is about trying to build bridges in our broken society… Words can be used to build or destroy.” Its five paragraphs are a declaration of belief, confession, affirmation and aspiration for our members across Ireland as disciples of Jesus Christ and as peace builders – whatever this may look like in their own communities.
‘Blessing through learning’ is the theme of this issue’s My Story… Under the Leaders in Training programme, PCI sponsors a number of individuals from overseas partner churches – enabling them to undertake further study to help their personal development for future ministry and leadership. Here Amon Chanika from Malawi describes the difference that being part of this scheme has made to him.
Greystone Road Presbyterian Church in Antrim provides our congregational story this month. In ‘Enter to worship, exit to serve’, we discover how the congregation has reached out to its community through the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) scheme, transforming lives in the process.
“The first visit with CAP was filled with tears,” says Margaret (who was helped by the scheme). But by the end of their second visit, when they explained our journey out of debt, “we cried again because we could see that there was a way out of this prison.”
‘A community of global concern’ is this year’s Fit for Purpose theme and in the Herald this month Romania is highlighted. Ilona Veres, a PCI missionary, describes the work that she and her husband, Csaba, are involved in with the Roma people in ‘Hope in Romania’. Working through the Diakonia, the Hungarian Reformed Church’s social action mission, they are bringing hope to men, women and children.
Discussions on certain subjects can produce passionate and sometimes heated debate – and in the last number of years the topic of homosexuality has fallen into this category. In ‘a gracious confidence’, Rob Craig provides an update on the work of the Dialogue and Resources Task Group that was briefed to listen and to provide pastoral resources around this area.
The Mission Connect section for March offers mission news from a community outreach worker based in north Belfast, a residential home manager in Bangor and overseas personnel serving in Zambia and Kenya. We also hear from a hospice chaplain in Newry and a minister serving in Co. Donegal.
On Thursday, 2nd March 2017 the citizens of Northern Ireland once again return to the ballot box. In ‘Election reflection’ Norman Hamilton reminds us of the seemingly relevant words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8, where he writes, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. Paul directs them and us away from a focus on words and policies that are shoddy and offensive.
‘Anger Management’ – is it a good thing or bad thing? Ruth Sanderson suggests in her article that it is perhaps time for some ‘righteous indignation’ – as displayed in the Bible in Psalm 7:11, Mark 3:5 and Ephesians 4:26. Ruth explores how God can take our anger and transform it into something which can change the world, prompting us to take action for good.
The son of missionary parents, David McAllister was born and grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he is now Tearfund’s Country Director. In ‘Follow & give’ he shares his passion to follow Jesus and and how through the work of Tearfund people in DRC are rebuilding their lives.
Matt Williams completes his series on poverty in Malawi in ‘Theology in the context of poverty’. Here he looks at Ekwendeni in northern Malawi through the lens of 1 John to explain how theological education is key for the holistic transformation that the gospel demands.
“The Herald also brings our regular and popular columns: ‘As I see it…’ with Steve Stockman, and ‘Life Lessons’ with Dave Male, National Advisor for the Church of England. We also have Betsy Cameron’s reflection in ‘Two funerals and a hurricane’ and ‘A matter of life and death’ by Arthur Clarke”, Sarah Harding, Herald editor said.
“The letters, news and ‘Life in PCI’ pages are also there to be enjoyed, and for your reading and viewing suggestions, why not turn to the reviews pages?”
Don’t miss out on March’s Herald; you can download this edition here or to see how you can subscribe visit this page.
Single copies may be purchased at the reception desk in Assembly Buildings, Fisherwick Place, Belfast.