Tearfund Northern Ireland

At Tearfund, we believe the local church is central to overcoming poverty and transforming lives. We’re part of it, along with others around the world and with each and every one of our amazing supporters. Together, we make up the global church. Tearfund has operated in Northern Ireland for more than 40 years and continues with a strong network of supporters and churches.

We have a vision to see 50 million people released from material and spiritual poverty through a worldwide network of 100,000 local churches.

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1 post tagged Rev Ivan Patterson

 

As part of the Presbyterian Special Assembly I was asked to be interviewed as a panel of PCI Ministers by Tearfund as part of their workshop - Acting Justly & Loving Mercy In The Global Village.

Our church has a history of reaching out into the community. One of the successful ventures has been Nightlight, where a small group from the church provide hot drinks for late night revellers in Newcastle. It’s a great way to show Jesus’ love practically.

One of the key questions we’ve faced is - how do we enable the whole congregation to be outward focused?  

To address this we used the  ’Just People' course to stimulate all of us to take seriously the call of Christ to be salt and light in the world.  The course helped to open our eyes to the needs around us.

The focus on the biblical teaching plus the practical examples of how to ‘love your neighbour’ provoked good debate and helped us think though the implication of mission for our Church, before we use the Discovery resource to implement our Mission Plan.

Now that the reception area at the church is open each day for people to drop in, some of those who took the course realised that they had the ‘gift’ of friendship and have been volunteering to help out. Also, many of our people volunteered to go out on Friday and Saturday nights with Nightlight around Newcastle town, offering refreshments and support to those coming out of pubs and clubs.

During the discussion in the Tearfund Workshop I was reminded of a relatively new Reformed Church in Budapest who sought to reach out into the community. Instead of starting something new they found out what was already happening in their community (albeit a secular setting) and offered to come along side and help them. They are now involved in work with alcoholics and other social programmes.

This type of church transformation is not easy, it won’t happen over night, but if we are to be people of salt and light, we need to be outside the salt cellar and not hide our lamp under a bushel.

 

Rev Ivan Patterson - Newcastle Presbyterian Church

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