Evening Celebration: - All welcome

16.6.2022 | General Assembly, Moderator, Church Life

With the clock ticking down to the start of the 2022 General Assembly, which opens next Wednesday, Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, minister of Portrush Presbyterian Church, and PCI’s next Moderator, has issued an open invitation to the Assembly’s Evening Celebration, which takes place next Thursday.

Dr Kirkpatrick will be formally elected and installed as Moderator on the Opening Night of the General Assembly, which takes place on Wednesday, 22 June. With business running through until Saturday, 25 June, the traditional Evening Celebration will take place on Thursday at 7.45pm in Assembly Buildings in Belfast.

Excited about the Evening Celebration, Dr Kirkpatrick said that he was really looking forward to it. “From the Opening Night to the Communion Service on Friday morning, worship plays a huge part in every General Assembly. The Evening Celebration is no exception and you don’t need a ticket, everyone is very welcome.

“It is always a very special night and this year we will gather around the theme for my year in office, which is ‘Grace Works’. Described variously as ‘amazing’ in the words of the famous hymn, but essentially Grace is God’s favour towards the underserving, something that changes everything for those who understand it,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.

“With worship and music provided by New Irish Arts, and specially commissioned poetry from Andrew Roycroft, our key note speaker will be Peter Lynas. As the Evangelical Alliance’s UK director, and before that the director of EA in Northern Ireland, many people will know Peter from his appearances on local media. I look forward to him bringing a wider perspective to our theme, while I will give a short reflection,” he explained.

Part of the evening will include three specially commissioned videos. “These powerful short films tell the story of three generations of one family. Each has come to know the Grace of God, not in just one moment, or as a theological concept, but in the here and now, and in a life changing way. I hope those of us in the Assembly Hall, and everyone watching at home on line, will find encouragement through their stories and be uplifted by the evening itself,” he said.

The Limavady-born minister, who has pastored his church in Portrush since he arrived in 1993, concluded by saying that when the evening ends his desire would be that people would go out with a sense of hope. “I would like folk to really understand that no matter what they are going through, or whatever situation may come at them in the future, there is hope. Not ‘wishful thinking’ hope, but the power of grace, which is God at work, for where grace exists hope is always there too, and there is no hope without grace.”

The evening celebration also will include a retiring offering for the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Service. The charity has been chosen by Dr John Kirkpatrick.

Photos (1) Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick on the public balcony of the Assembly Hall in Assembly Buildings where the Evening Celebration will take place (2) Peter Lynas, director of Evangelical Alliance UK who will be the keynote speaker on the night.

The 2022 General Assembly opens on Wednesday, 22 June with Dr Kirkpatrick’s election and installation and closes on Saturday, 25 June. You will find the business before the Assembly here and the Reports that will be discussed here. You can  follow proceedings live via Twitter @pciassembly using the hashtag #PCIGA22 for all public sessions, which will also livestreamed from this website. The Evening Celebration will also be livestreamed. You can also watch Assembly debates from the public gallery in the Assembly Hall.

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