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What if your church notice board read, ‘Minister – All Members’?

In the March issue of the Methodist Newsletter, Grace McGurk, MCI’s Learning and Development officer reflects on her new role.

Grace McGurk interview

Grace says her new role involves working across the Church departments to promote and communicate effectively the vision of every-member-ministry. This involves designing, developing, managing, evaluating and contributing to a range of learning and development activities to help support the ministry and mission of vocational lay employees and local congregations. 

Grace reinforces the point that everyone in the local church should be involved in ministry by asking the question, “What if the noticeboard outside your church said, ‘Minister: all members’?” Church noticeboardA question well worth thinking about!

 

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Will our faith have children?

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In 1993, the Methodist Church in Ireland published a survey called “Will our faith have children?” looking at the impact or lack of it on the next generation in church life. Now some 25 years later IMYC is repeating the survey – The Big Survey.  There is no doubt that the connection of young people with their local Methodist church has continued to decline.  Statistics show that for the three years, 2013-16, the number of children in all groups associated with church from Sunday School to the uniformed organisations had declined by about a third.

However, writing in the March issue of the Methodist Newsletter, Lisa Best says this:

IMYC firmly believes our faith will have children, but it will require us, as the God’s Mission our Mission commitments state, to ‘live as if we want young people and children to be part of the Church family, even if that means making hard choices.’ The hope of IMYC is that the survey will help us to understand more fully what some of those hard choices might be.

February magazine now published

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Copies of the February 2019 issue of  the Methodist Newsletter are now available for collection.

Living the dream

janetteNext month’s Methodist Newsletter includes several stories that show what can happen when people ask God to plant his dreams in their hearts and then trust him to realise them in his way and at the time of his choosing.

On the centre spread, Janette McCormick (pictured) shares the story of ‘Follow the Star’. ‘Back in 2004, while working in a primary school… I asked God for a dream,’ she writes. ‘… I thought to myself there must be something different whereby children could be exposed to the true meaning of Christmas and also be participants in it.’  In 2006, Janette joined the staff of the Irish Methodist Youth and Children’s Department and her dream was ‘taken down off the shelf’.

The result was ‘Follow the Star ‘– an outreach resource hosted by local churches and supported by the Irish Methodist Youth and Children’s Department (IMYCD) – which once again this year saw hundreds of children engage with the true meaning of Christmas.

Read Janette’s account and what participants had to say about Follow the Star 2019 in the February magazine – out next week!

 

So much more than bricks and mortar

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In the next issue of the Methodist Newsletter, the opening and dedication of the new Methodist Centre in Moira is the focus of a special feature by John Switzer and the Rev Robert Loney. They tell the story of Methodism in Moira from the early beginnings when itinerant preacher John Grace arrived in the town on horseback, and show how that same pioneering spirit has encouraged members of the present congregation to completely renew their buildings and facilities. ‘It took courage, wisdom, discernment and sacrifice for the congregation to see that this window of opportunity had to be embraced,’ writes Mr Loney, ‘which led to an open door and the open door to a fresh understanding of how God wanted us to follow him.’

Read the complete article in the February Methodist Newsletter – out next week!

January 2019 magazine out now!

Cover (20)Copies of the January 2019 issue of the Methodist Newsletter are now ready for collection. Agents collecting from Edgehill House please note that the magazines are available on the lower ground floor – entrance through the side door.

Coming to terms with the past

The January issue of the Methodist Newsletter contains a number of items on dealing with dealing with the past in this part of the world.  In one of these, the Rev Dr David Clements discusses a document that the Council on Social Responsibility of the Methodist Church in Ireland has put together to assist in tackling what, at times, appears an almost intractable problem.  The Council, after much soul searching, believes that putting a stay on prosecutions is now the best route to go.  They are not calling for an amnesty. If evidence becomes available, the justice system should take its normal course. The Council proposes that the Northern Ireland Office sets up units of Truth Recovery and Justice Facilitation under a Reconciliation Commission. They pray that they might contribute something useful towards healing in this place and for the Glory of God.

The Rev Dr Harold Good shies away from the term ‘Dealing with the past’ with its

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negotiating overtones, preferring to use ‘Coming to terms with the past’.  In a report printed in the Newsletter of a talk he gave at Agape South Belfast, he suggested three words familiar to the faith community, which have meaning in secular as well as religious talk:

Confession. Or being honest, with God, with each other, with ourselves, on matters of our history.

Grace. Or being generous, open in understanding.

Forgiveness. Harold could not find a equivalent secular word. Its unique meaning is seen in the words of the Dali Lama who when asked what was ‘forgiveness’, replied after long silence, ‘Who knows what forgiveness is?’ Only those who forgive and those who have been forgiven know forgiveness, seen unmistakably in Jesus.

Harold saw the power of these three words in the young German man he met at Corrymeela, walking from Berlin to Jerusalem to acknowledge what his forebears had done, say sorry and ask forgiveness.

The full text of both articles and an accompanying letter is published in the January issue of the Methodist Newsletter.