OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012 : £1.50 / €1.75
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Farm Fixer Walking the walk is so much more difficult than talking the talk. - page 4
Let’s idoon missher! toget AL
Learning how to be Presbyterian: Richard Kerr SPECI NT E SUPPLEM Buy One get One Free: Wilma Kenny Sowing seeds for stomach and soul: Eddie Spence ReachOut Connect: pullout section from MissionIreland
OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012
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by Robin Fairbairn, Editor | email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Farm Fixer Learning How To Be Presbyterian Buy One Get One Free Sowing Seeds Christmas Uncut Culture Vulture Challenge Garvagh Praying the Saviour's Way Getty Music Let's Do Mission Together The Hard Corps Serving As Senders New Ways To Care Taming the Tiger Self-Harm Counsellors Active in the Community Show & Tell Light from any Quarter Gladys Aylward
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’is a familiar quote credited to Napoleon Bonaparte.Images, pictures and photographs speak loudly, conveying scenes of joy, sadness, horror, anguish, despair. As I write this editorial, the news story making the headlines is the publication of photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge by a French magazine while on a private family holiday, causing outrage. The summer of 2012 has been dominated by sport,with David in Psalm 101:3 wrote,“I will set before my eyes no powerful images of those who triumphed at either the vile thing”,or as the NLT translates it,“I will refuse to look Olympics or Paralympics beamed around the world. at anything vile and vulgar”. The power of image can help or cause hurt. How important it is that each of us guards the images and pictures we view,as often they linger and take root in our minds. John Bunyan in Pilgrims Progress reminds the reader that,‘eyegate’has always been a danger spot,a weak spot in the defence of the city of mansoul.
Eve was told not to eat from a certain tree and what happens,“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye,and also desirable for gaining wisdom,she took some and ate it” Genesis 3:6.
Peter was doing well,he had got out of the boat and was walking towards the Lord Jesus.
AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE BOARD OF MISSION IN IRELAND OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN IRELAND
The writer to the Hebrews tells us how to keep our eyes right,“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus”. In Northern Ireland there are some sections of the community who are marking the signing of the Ulster Covenant.While not everyone will enter into the marking of that historic event,the Old Testament book of Job has a covenant that everyone can sign up to.
There are many examples in Scripture of how Satan,the enemy,has gained entrance and got the victory through the eyes. “I made a covenant with my eyes”Job 31:1
How does Achan explain his downfall? “When I saw” Joshua 7:21.
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I like this quote which refers to Eve in the Garden of Eden,‘If you don’t look you are less likely to bite’.
Combine that with Psalm 101 and you get something like,“I made a covenant with my eyes to look at no vile thing”. Do we need to write this out and post it on the television screen,the computer monitor or where ever we may be tempted and the enemy seeks to attack,as he so successfully did with Eve so that we don’t fall. ‘If you don’t look you are less likely to bite’.
Then Peter got down out of the boat,walked on the water and came toward Jesus.“But when he saw the wind,he was afraid and,beginning to sink,cried out, “Lord,save me!”Matthew 14:30.
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OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012
Article by Wilma Kenny
Walking the walk is so much more difficult than talking the talk. For one man his beliefs were put under the spotlight as viewers tuned into a television programme featuring his family business. David Harrison, along with his wife Helen, appeared on a recent episode of the BBC programme The Farm Fixer. Nick Hewer from The Apprentice, the programme famous for the role Lord Alan Sugar plays, has spent the past few years helping Northern Ireland farmers improve their businesses. For David and Helen Harrison, along with two of their sons, this has involved developing the plant nursery into a restaurant and farm shop. Nick Hewer was convinced the business should be open on Sunday. David, supported by Helen, was adamant it should not and would not be open on a Sunday. David explained,“The Lord has sent us Sunday for a reason.Taking the day off gives the staff a day with their family and as a result they are in better form during the week. It is my day for church, family and friends.” Genesis 2:1-3 are appropriate verses to describe David’s passion for doing the Lord’s work and for the joy he feels when looking at his creation. “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
With a start to the day earlier than most, David’s argument for Sunday closing is strong. He often gets up at 4.30am with his son to go to the market. He is used to this having grown up on the farm and having worked in farming for so long.The view of Strangford Lough from the restaurant is breathtaking and importantly there are no buildings to block this, making it a lovely tranquil place for a town or city dweller to spend a few hours. Karen Caruth came from Bangor to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. She said,“The staff are lovely, the view is gorgeous and the caramel square is the best I have ever tasted.” Anyone who watched The Farm Fixer will have been in no doubt that for David and Helen there is faith important. David said,“I believe The Lord guided me to expand the business.This has been huge for us as a family. I would not have taken on the challenge if the Lord was not with me. Before I became a Christian I could not have done this.I am so much stronger since I have become a Christian.” David became a Christian in 2007 on 7 February, after going to a Brethren mission in Ballygowan. Two of the preachers called at the house and asked David a crucial question,“Are you assured of going to Heaven?”
David’s response was,“I hope so”. By the time the men had left David had complete assurance of his salvation. Helen became a Christian many years before David, having watched with admiration as her sister Anne coped courageously with cancer. A member of Saintfield Baptist Church, Anne died and Helen was inspired by Anne’s friends. Anne had a massive influence on Helen and to this day Anne’s life has been an inspiration to her. It was not only the Sunday opening issue which caused David Harrison to conflict with Nick Hewer during the making of The Farm Fixer programme.They also disagreed as to the name of the business. Nick wanted to remove the family name but David refused. Isaiah 17 tells how another David took on the might of someone much bigger than himself. Just as David stood up to Goliath, so David Harrison stood resolute against one of the giants of the business world and won. The couple are delighted the programme allowed them to witness and show viewers how important their faith is to them.They also hope it will speak to others who will also find the assurance of saving grace.
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OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012
Six wonderful years of
learning how to be Presbyterian Article by Rev Richard Kerr On Saturday 8 September 2013, the Presbyterian Church opened a new church building in Drogheda to accommodate a growing congregation. Richard Kerr, Convenor of the Race Relations Panel interviews Theo Douglas, an elder in Drogheda Presbyterian Church. R: Theo, please start by telling us a little about your background. Theo: I was born and raised in Nigeria, in a family of four boys and a girl. I lost my mum before I could even get to know her, so I was raised by my grandmother. She was a devout Christian and raised us up to be God-fearing, in a Christian home that holds fond memories of the affections of a doting granny who loved us so much, but was a strict disciplinarian. Although I was born into a Christian family it was much later in life before I got to know Jesus as I ought to know him. As a young man I struggled to live with the convictions of the Christian upbringing I had. I went to school in the southern part of the country, later graduating with a Bachelors of Agriculture degree. I had a passion for football which led me to play professional football in Nigeria and I represented my country at International level, the greatest honour for me being in the team that played against England at Wembley in 1994. I am married to Carolyn, also Nigerian, and we are blessed with three kids, Patrick, Kevin and Niamh.They were all born in Ireland and their names readily give them away, it is a token of identifying with the country we have come to accept as our own, having become naturalised Irish citizens ourselves.
R: How did you come to be in Ireland? Theo: I came to Ireland in 1999, shortly after completing my IT diploma course in England where Iâ€™d lived for two years. I came to Ireland because at that time there was a huge demand for people with my IT skill set. I trained as a Software Developer. Ireland was being hailed as the Software capital of Europe and getting into the IT industry here was much easier. R: How did you come to faith in Jesus Christ? Theo: I came to Christ sometime around 1998. I had built my life and my future around the successes that I anticipated from a professional football career. I had made it to playing for the best club in the land and in the process I had broken into the national team. Offers were now coming in for trials from clubs overseas, I was in Scotland to try out with Celtic and in Switzerland to try out with Basel. Life was going the way I believed it ought to go. I had fame, now money was about to start rolling, my future was about to become secure or so I thought.Then I damaged my knee ligaments and everything came crashing down. It was like my life came to an end, everything I had toiled for, devoted my life to and put so much faith in was all gone.
I felt betrayed. It was easy for me to blame everything on God and a faith that would not deliver my heart desires. I was bitter, I was angry, I was afraid of what the future would be like. I felt so empty.Whatever little faith I had at the time had taken such a battering; I did not know what I was going to do. I left for London where life was spent in the wilderness, really trying to discover who I was and what direction my life ought to go. In the midst of this the love of Christ revealed itself to me. It was something so beautiful and the exact thing I was looking for at the time. It came at a time when I thought Iâ€™d done enough to distance myself from God, but how wrong was I. For the first time I really began to understand what faith was all about, especially the faith in God that comes through Jesus Christ.The love of God enabled me to put everything into proper perspective. I was ready to live again. I had a new outlook to life. R: How long have you been involved in Drogheda Presbyterian Church? Theo: I started attending Drogheda Presbyterian Church in 2006. Prior to that my little knowledge of anything Presbyterian dates back to when I was in Nigeria. All I could recollect was the uniqueness of their building situated in Lagos. It has now been six years since my family and I have become Presbyterian.They have been six wonderful years of learning how to be Presbyterian (laughs).
OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012
The new Presbyterian church building in Drogheda
R: What did it mean to you to be elected and ordained an elder? Theo: It was a humbling experience, because I was not expecting it. I had just joined the Church. I had little knowledge of Presbyterian traditions. To be assessed, trusted and accepted by people within such a short time, is such a humbling experience.It made me cry to the Lord for grace to be able to serve as a faithful servant of His redeemed people. Serving in the house of God in any capacity is always a privilege. I have a family history of people who served in the church, my grandparents were missionaries. Iâ€™m just happy that Iâ€™ve been able to continue in that tradition in the capacity that the good Lord has enabled me. My grandmother would be proud; her prayers and her labour were not in vain. R: What advice would you give to the church in Ireland about welcoming and integrating immigrants? Theo:The Church has rich traditions both historically and through the instructions of our Lord about how we ought to welcome and treat visitors. Immigrants should be treated as such. Top of the list of what we pray for is to be accepted.That means accepting both our strengths and our weaknesses. It means making the effort to understand who we are and what we represent, that although we may do things differently deep down we desire the same things in life, and have the same fears and expectations about life.
Many of us came to Ireland to work and possibly settle and raise a family.Many have faced issues in the world where they are made to feel that they are not welcome.For many their faith is what has kept them going, therefore coming into the church for them is like coming to a place where they can find the solace which their faith in Christ promises.For many the Church is the place they expect to be truly accepted, perhaps the one place they feel the dignity of being treated as equal in the eyes of God.The Church in Ireland needs to recognise this. From my experience the big issue here is really trying to understand what acceptance truly means, am I accepted only on the condition that I fit in? What happens if I struggle to fit as a result of not understanding the culture and the traditions? What happens if I am unable to adapt, does that mean I wonâ€™t be accepted? R: What is your own vision for the Presbyterian Church? Theo: In a world and a society that is fast turning away from God claiming that faith is no longer relevant in their lives, my vision for the Presbyterian Church is to see her remain steadfast in the preaching of the gospel, raising up men and women who, in line with the instructions of our Lord, become salt and light to our world.
My vision for the Presbyterian Church is to see her remain steadfast in the preaching of the gospel, raising up men and women who, in line with the instructions of our Lord, become salt and light to our world.
OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012
Buyone get one
free Article by Wilma Kenny
Imagine having to explain to the family that there is no money for the electric meter, no food for the next meal and absolutely no reason to smile. Many face desperate situations as the recession continues to impact on people’s lives. When preaching on the mountain Jesus told His disciples to be merciful and to let men see the good works carried out by His followers (Matthew 5).Of course Christians understand that these teachings are for the church today. Often they have a desire to help those in need but do not know how to go about it. A gentleman shared a thought with the congregation of First Ballynahinch Church which led to many people receiving help. He pondered the concept of “buy one get one free” and wondered what he should do with the free meal for which he had no use. He took this a step further and wondered what God would have him do with the extra meal. Another church member picked up the thought and realised if everyone in the congregation had an extra meal this would add up to a lot of meals. Rather than throw them away they could be used to help those who are struggling. Their minister, Revd Mairisine Stanfield, agreed a food bank was a great idea and so from a small thought a great scheme evolved.The Citizens Advice Bureau and Social Services were approached and agreed the idea was a good one.They make all the referrals, issuing food tokens to those in need. Every Sunday four large bins are placed at the end of each aisle and every Sunday they are filled with food by the congregation.The food consists of tins of fruit, peas, vegetables, soup, ham, chicken, packets of pasta and rice, sauces, cereals, tea, coffee and biscuits – food which won’t perish and will make a healthy meal for a family.The system is simple as a voucher is 8
given to the person in need, who then takes it to the church offices where the church administrator, Magali Robinson, makes up a parcel of food. The Reverend Stanfield emphasised the need to be non-judgemental, a remit which Magali has taken to heart. She explained:“We are not interested in why the person presenting the voucher needs our help but what they actually need.” She believes the scheme is making a difference to people’s lives. She said: “One man sent a letter, writing that the scheme had literally saved his life.” From when the scheme was first started about two years ago, the number of referrals has increased dramatically. During the first year over one hundred families were helped, and this year in the first quarter, eighty-five families have received food parcels. In all this time, only twice has any attempt been made to abuse the scheme. Never have the bins left out every Sunday not been filled; as the need has increased, so the giving of the congregation has increased. In many instances the giving of food is only the start, as the Reverend Stanfield explained:“As people come for food, other needs become apparent. Once they get food on the table then their other needs can be met.” Professional counselling is available as a result of a joint church initiative between the local Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches.The project, named The Hub,
offers a variety of services signposting those in need to organisations which can help to alleviate their suffering. First Ballynahinch does not stop at the food bank but have other areas of ministry, reaching out to those who would not find it easy to walk over a church door step.The Edge is a detached youth ministry, reaching out to twelve to fourteen-year-olds who are not churchgoers. This was set up in response to the number of suicides in the area, especially among young men. The church is mission focused, recognising the mission field that is on their door step. They value church unity and work closely with other churches in the area. Along with the local Baptist Church, an Alpha course was held in the Primrose Bar. Forty people, many who would not have gone to an Alpha Course in church, took part in the course. As a result, some now do attend church.The work and person of the Holy Spirit is valued as the congregation seek to exercise the gifts which they believe are very much for today. “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Romans 13:9) is how First Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church tries to live out their faith in a practical meaningful way.
OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012
Sowing Seeds for stomach and soul Article by Eddie the Evangelist; photos courtesy Shankill Mirror Spring 2012 the ‘Community Growing Space’ situated beside Blackmountain Primary School and Blackmountain Community Centre (The Phoenix Centre) in north Belfast was completed. Frank McCoubrey the local independent city councillor and I, Eddie Spence the Evangelist from Ballygomartin Presbyterian Church waited nervously for the local school children to come and sow the first seeds. A teacher from Blackmountain Primary School led the first class to meet us at the polytunnel. “Well children,” said the teacher “let’s say good morning to Mr Mc Coubrey.” “Good morning Mr Coubrey” the chorus of young voices echoed. Turning to me the teacher exclaimed “And boys and girls say good-morning to Mr Spence, - the Head Gardener!” Frank and I could hardly contain our laughter as I was given the title Head Gardener, because five minutes earlier I was reading the instructions about how to open the packet of seeds! There is no doubt in my mind that the vision for this Community Growing Space was God given. In August 2010 I became unemployed after 9 years working with Mervyn Gibson in Westbourne Presbyterian Church. The future was uncertain for me. Then while on holiday in Enniskillen I began to receive a number of text messages informing me that a job was advertised for an Evangelist in Ballygomartin Presbyterian Church. The text messengers earnestly encouraged me to apply for this position. That was the last thing I wanted to do, be an Evangelist in North Belfast; again!? I was looking for a cosy job like handing out tracts to cows in country lane.
As that day passed I began praying ‘God what would I do up there?’ God spoke to me clearly ‘I want you to do vegetable plots.’ After application forms and interviews Eddie the Evangelist from Ballygomartin Presbyterian Church began work in Blackmountain estate, Highfield estate,Westway estate, Lyndhurst estate, the Westcircular Road, Ballygomartin Road including Farset international Hostel and with staff in the local Tesco. One day I was introduced to Frank Mc Coubrey the local independent city councillor. Frank and I chatted about the community and our respective hope and plans, and then he startled me.‘Eddie” he said “I’m thinking of trying to get vegetable plots up and running.” The very vision God had given me a month earlier in Enniskillen. The Housing Executive, DSD, BRO, and north Belfast Presbytery all became funding partners. The vision for the Community Growing Space grew to perfection, 900 squared meters of beautifully landscaped plots with an orchard, polytunnel, shed, tools, over 1000 shrubs, nut trees, water butts, bench, bins and other incidentals.
It was officially opened by Nelson Mc Causland Minister (MLA) for Social Development; it is short listed for a UK award to be announced in London in October 19th 2012 to which I have been invited. Visitors from America have come to see the garden and plant a tree, folks from across the peace line have arrived to consider it; the local primary school have sowed and harvested their vegetables and are making it part of their curriculum. Youth leaders and teenagers from the Phoenix Center have also got involved. The second harvested crop was distributed to local pensioners and families. All this sowing and harvesting of tangible food is off course only half the story. There is an actual sowing of Spiritual food into the hearts of men, women and children. There is the preparing of the Spiritual ground with relationship building as we work together. There is the planting of the Spiritual seed of God’s word in season that will in faith, bring forth the fruit of the Spirit back into our communities first and then the Church.