The incoming Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), Rev. Dr. Noble McNeely, will host the evening, with many others also taking part. The programme for the celebration will include a presentation on how the Church relates to those who have a learning disability, whether they are young or old – a subject close to the heart of Dr. McNeely and which will play a key role in his year as Moderator.
In keeping with this particular theme, a short DVD about Aaron House, a residential care home in Dundonald for people with a profound learning disability, will be shown and Ruth Bromley, PCI Children’s Development Officer, will conduct an interview with Stephen and Louise Lowry on how congregations can best minister to individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.
A second presentation will also take place during the evening, which will highlight the discipling of young people, with special emphasis on the youth ministry of ‘Young Life International’ and some of PCI’s youth ministry.
In his address, Vaughan Roberts will continue the theme of ‘Everyday Disciples’, giving him the opportunity to explore what this means for us today.
The Rector of St. Ebbe’s came to faith as he read through Matthew’s Gospel for himself as a teenager. After studying law at Cambridge University, he spent a short time in South Africa doing student ministry. He moved back to England and to Oxford to study Theology, joining the staff of St. Ebbe’s Church in 1991 to lead the student ministry. He has been Rector there since 1998 and is now also the Director of the Proclamation Trust, an organisation that encourages and equips Bible teachers.
With a week to go before the Wednesday Night Celebration, Vaughan Roberts said, “In recent years, our society has increasingly shifted from its Christian moorings. That can leave followers of Christ lost and out of step with those around us. What does it mean to live as Christian disciples in this situation?
“Peter addresses exactly that question in his first letter in the New Testament, which was written to Christians facing alienation and hostility from society. His teaching urges us to resist the opposing temptations that face us: to go with the flow and just fit in with those around us, or withdraw as much as possible into holy huddles. The way of true discipleship demands that we remain both distinct and lovingly engaged, as we pray that our friends and neighbours would also come to see the glory of God in Christ.”
During the evening celebration, praise will be led by Aaron Ditty, and an offering will be collected for the Sensory Garden Project at Aaron House and the East Africa Disaster Appeal.
The Wednesday Night Celebration takes place in the Assembly Hall, Assembly Buildings, Belfast and begins at 7.45pm. This is a free, non-ticketed event, and all are welcome.
For information and resources about this year's General Assembly: The Blue Book, individual reports, supplementary reports, daily business, minutes, previews and reviews of each day's proceedings, visit our General Assembly 2017 resources section here.