The Project has a home and an overseas emphasis.
The home focus is to support the vision that the Derry and Donegal Presbytery has to work with students in the Strand Road area of Londonderry. The Presbytery has a real desire to see a Presbyterian witness established within the University area of the city. The former Strand Road congregation closed in 2010 and the building, although used by some for various activities, has mainly been empty since then. Recently a small group called "Deep" has been meeting on a Sunday evening and is connecting with some students in the area. The vision is to see the old Strand Road building re-opened and used to service the student population by providing lunches, music opportunities, small groups and more.
There are three main parts to the Strand Road building. The first is a large church hall with a small room above – this has been used by "Deep". The second is the church sanctuary, which has been used for some musical evenings. The third space is the old schoolhouse, which has had some renovation but needs more work. This part of the building would also be ideal for use for student lunches, small groups and small events, having disabled access and a door onto the street at Strand Road.
There are about 25,000 part-time and full-time students based on the Strand Road in Londonderry. This offers huge potential to reach students and to bring a Presbyterian presence back to this part of the city.
The Project would help to fund the work on the building to allow this vision to be fulfilled, along with funds promised from the Presbytery. The desire is to see home and overseas students reached with the Gospel and ministered to within the heart of the city. We want to Change our world in this small location in a way that will make a massive difference to many people.
The overseas aspect this year focuses on the work of International Justice Mission (IJM) and the work that they do in Africa, particularly in Uganda and Ghana. IJM tackles issues of violence against people in poor communities, such as slavery, sexual exploitation and property grabbing.
The Project focuses on two stories. The first is of Grace and her children, victims of land grabbing in Uganda. Grace's husband died leaving her with five children and a small piece of land, but the situation deteriorated when her brother-in-law evicted them, leaving them without a home and very little to eat. Losing hope, Grace contacted IJM who helped to build a case proving Grace and her children had been wronged. IJM ensured that the land and house will be passed on to Grace's children.
The second story is of boys being held as slaves within the fishing industry on Lake Volta in Ghana. The boys must rise at 4am everyday; they don't go to school and never see their families. They don't get paid for their work and their lives are put at risk daily; moreover, some boys are as young as four-years-old. The main aim of IJM is to rescue these boys, and in March 2015 following their first rescue mission, 10 boys were saved. The Project aims to help IJM carry out more of these rescues.
These stories are of individuals but reflect the experience of many in these countries. IJM seeks to rescue and then represent these individuals and many like them, and to bring justice and restoration to their lives.
Micah 6:8 says: "The Lord has told you what is good...do what is right to other people, love being kind to others and live humbly, trusting your God." This is the memory verse for the Project this year and we want the children and young people of PCI to understand that this is their calling as Christians. We want the children and young people here to see that they can make a difference to others like Grace and her family and to the boys in Ghana.
The following resources are available from the links above.
Change our world – All Age Service Resource: Get your whole congregation behind the Project by using these ideas that can be used in all-age services.
Change our world – Children's Resource: This resource will help you communicate the Project to primary school aged children in your congregation.
Change our world – Youth Resource: This resource will help young people in your congregation to engage with the Bible and these isssues to gain a greater understanding of the Change our World project.
Change our world – Poster: A poster to help raise awareness of the project.