Monday, 9 May 2011
In my own group of parishes we have set our vision high (it's also the diocesan vision) we want to a group of local churches who transform their local community and radiate Christ as they do it.
I want our local communities to be better because we are here. The church has hundreds of people who volunteer in community groups and organisations motivated by their Christian faith. We are here not simply because we want to be but because we feel God has called us to be there.
Across the four parishes under my leadership we are trying to consider how we can better engage in the issues that matter. In Muff we have a small parish who have been seeking to link with an innovative Sheltered Housing complex opened just last year. Christianity values the experience and wisdom of older people! Many of the things we do try to reflect that value. Addressing isolation and depression amongst older people is an important element for many with older parents and relatives. It is an important issue as we consider that one day we might be in that position ourselves.
In Culmore, we have been building links with a local primary school and hope to play an important role in addressing the needs of young people and families. There is an active community in Culmore and lending our support to address the local issues will be a priority in the coming year.
Saint Peter's, Belmont, has been the diocesan centre for healing ministry for many years and we hope to inject some fresh elements to our ministry. It has traditionally been a ministry that has brought people together. One area that we hope to develop is a ministry of healing to those who have been traumatised by the "Troubles' helping the families and individuals scarred by the past to find healing and peace. We will also continue to pray for healing of body, mind and spirit.
Christ Church, Infirmary road is a parish that is strategically placed to play an important role in reconciliation. We also have a place in the local affection through our music and hosting of community events in the Church building. As we look towards the proposed expansion of Magee we also hope to support the staff and students of Magee.
The challenges are great but I believe that we have much to contribute. I would ask for your prayers to know how share this Good News. the local church can be the Hope of the world. Let us pray that we can be clear about what we want to say and say it.
The themes above will give you some idea of what we are attempting to do. It is not a complete list, but in it I hope that you will get a sense of our belief that the local church can bring hope! Let me know what things your local church is doing.