Balmoral ’21: PCI ‘Excited to be back’

22.9.2021 | Mission News, Church in Society, Mission in Ireland, Mission, Farming and Rural Life, Presbytery News

With the welcome return of the Balmoral Show, which opens today at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Show Grounds at the Maze in County Down, the organisers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) stand have welcomed the opportunity to greet visitors once again.

PCI’s Dromore Presbytery - one of Church’s 19 local regional bodies which includes 22 congregations in the north eastern corner of County Down – has been at the show since 2014 and is delighted to be back.

“We’ve missed the buzz; the banter; the livestock, and the stands, and as we have returned to the shops, restaurants, hairdressers and our places of worship over these last few months, we are delighted that Balmoral is back after it was cancelled last year,” said Rev Kenny Hanna, co-convener of Dromore Presbytery’s Balmoral Show committee.

The minister of Second Dromara Presbyterian Church continued, “It is like a homecoming, back to the people and to a place we cherish fond memories of. As a group of local Christians, belonging to Presbyterian churches in the area, we want to show our solidarity with our rural community and our farming families in particular. We also felt that it was particularly important to take a stand at Balmoral Show this year, to support the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, who has been such an encouragement and practical help to us, since we had our first stand, six years ago.”

“As we have said before, as a rural presbytery we want to continue to show our support for farming communities and bring an opportunity to show God’s love, through Jesus who died for us, to those who work on the land and in the rural economy. We are also here to listen, as these are not easy days, and to pray,” he said.

Mr Hanna explained that while the stand is smaller this year, without the usual refreshments and seating, the organisers are looking forward to renewing relationships with old friends and making new ones.

“The Presbytery has produced a special leaflet for our visitors to pick up, which contains the good news of Jesus, as well as the personal story of his coming to faith by the Ulster Farmers’ Union current President, Victor Chestnutt. It also has details of congregations throughout Ireland, including the wider work of the church, as well as important information on the extensive support that is available from key rural-based organisations,” he explained.

The Presbytery of Dromore covers the north eastern corner of County Down, extending along the Lagan Valley from the City of Lisburn, westwards towards Moira and the south eastern shore of Lough Neagh. To the south it reaches beyond Hillsborough towards the Dromara Hills and eastwards to Anahilt. Its congregations take in a Presbyterian family of over 12,000 people of all ages, with 6 of the churches tracing their history to the mid-17th century, with the newest, Elmwood Presbyterian, having been started in 1976.

Mr Hannah continued, “We are very much a rural presbytery, which actually takes in the show grounds at Maze. Many farming families worship in our churches, but our stand is for everyone, and everyone will be very, very welcome, and that welcome will also be extended to our Moderator, Dr David Bruce, who will be with us this morning.”

Images: (1) Rev Kenny Hanna minister of Second Dromara Presbyterian Church and co-convener of Dromore Presbytery’s Balmoral Show committee (2) the front cover of the Presbytery's leaflet that they are giving out at the show.

The Presbytery’s stand, EK22 - which is listed as ‘Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Dromore Presbytery)’ - is located in Eikon Shopping Village.

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