Celebrating 10 years at Balmoral

10.5.2024 | Mission News, Church in Society, Mission, Farming and Rural Life, Presbytery News

It is all systems go for the Balmoral Show, with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) Presbytery of Dromore, celebrating their 10th year of welcoming people onto its stand at the Show.

The Presbytery - one of Church’s 19 local regional bodies which includes 22 congregations in the north eastern corner of County Down – runs the stand on behalf of the wider Presbyterian Church. Rev Bobby Liddle, convener of the Presbytery’s Balmoral Show Committee, who leads the stand’s team of volunteers, said that everyone is looking forward to this year’s event, which is the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society's 155th show.

“This is a special year for us as we opened our first stand a year after the show moved to Maze, so this will be our 10th anniversary. Each year someone will always come and say to me, or one of the team, ‘It’s good to see PCI represented at Balmoral Show’, which is a great encouragement to us, as we are at the Show to offer encouragement to others,” Mr Liddle said.

Now retired, the former minister of Legacurry Presbyterian Church continued, “Along with everyone else, it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the very best of Northern Ireland farming and rural life. Our stand also provides an opportunity for the Church to demonstrate God’s love and our support for farming communities, of which our congregations are very much a part.

“It also gives us the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus and His saving grace with those from all over Ireland who work on the land and in the rural economy. Everyone who visits the stand, which is EK46 in the Eikon Exhibition Centre, between the cattle tents and the fun fair, will be made very welcome.”

For anyone visiting the stand Mr Liddle said that they will find a friendly and hospitable atmosphere, tea, coffee and light refreshments and an opportunity to have a seat and a chat.  “With many pressures on rural and farming families, the Church wants to provide a compassionate listening ear and an opportunity to pray for people if asked. Specially designed literature for all ages will also be available, which includes information and signposts to other agencies that can provide help to those that need it.

Mr Liddle concluded by saying, “As it has often been said, as a rural presbytery we want to show our ongoing support for those who live and work off the land, while having the opportunity to show God’s love. We also look forward to welcoming our Moderator, Dr Mawhinney, on the first day, and seeing and welcoming as many people to the stand as possible throughout the Show.”

Also attending Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food event this year will be Rev Fiona Forbes, minister of Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lisburn and Moderator of the Dromore Presbytery. “I really applaud the Presbytery’s decision to take the plunge and come to the Show 10 years ago. I am looking forward to attending for the first time as a minister from the Presbytery, having moved five years ago from Cairncastle Presbyterian, near Larne.

“Many of our members there were sheep farmers, so apart from being on the stand, I am looking forward to wandering through the sheep pens, with my husband Glyn, and watching the judging,” Mrs Forbes said.

“Just as agricultural shows play a huge part in rural and farming life, our congregations are also very much an integral part of that community, and have been for generations. Our being at Balmoral is an expression of our enduring pastoral and prayerful support for farmers and their families, who are very much a part of us.”

Photos & Images (1) the Dromore Presbytery Stand at a previous Balmoral Show (2) the front cover of the Balmoral Show information booklet (3) judging at a previous show.

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