normanhamiltonMy friend, and former fellow-presbyter in North Belfast, Norman Hamilton, will succeed me in the moderatorial chair on the first Monday night in June. I wish him God’s blessing and much wisdom as he undertakes that role. I am confident that he will bring his own unique style to the position and will be a blessing to the whole church.

I hope that I will be able to deliver to him a situation in the denomination in which the PMS crisis is a thing of the past. I had hoped that when I took over from Dr Donald Patton last June that the PMS crisis would be resolved by September with the promised report from the PM’s Working Group. How naive I was! This moderatorial year has been dominated by the crisis which I would love to see resolved before another meeting of the General Assembly is convened. ┬áIf that is achieved, then Norman will be able to concentrate on giving a lead with some more positive issues in the church and community, and will enable the church, under God, to move forward.

Norman will remember that he became convenor of the vacancy in the Carnmoney congregation after I resigned in August 2000, and so he has some experience already of mopping up after me.

Multi-screen church

One feature I have noticed in many of the meeting houses I have visited these past months has been the addition of projection screens, with all the necessary sophisticated, hi-tech equipment, to project words and pictures. Even some quite small, rural congregations have installed data projectors and screens for use during worship.

If it were just one screen and one projector in each meeting house, it might not be so obvious. But given the style and architecture of our buildings, and the fact that in many places the only point visible to everyone assembled in the building is the pulpit, it means that projecting words and images to the whole congregation often requires multiple screens and sometimes several mounted on the front of the gallery. In many places, it is a case of multi-screen church. It is an interesting innovation that raises a number of questions. Continue reading “Multi-screen church”

Belfast City Mission

For many years I have had an interest in the work of the Belfast City Mission, largely as a result of my friendship with the late David Hamilton, a Kells man, who was for a number of years the full-time Secretary (or leader) of the Belfast City Mission. David was a great encourager, whose wise counsel was appreciated by so many young men in the ministry of the church as well as in the City Mission.

The work of the Belfast City Mission dates from 1827. Today the Mission continues its work in a number of neighbourhoods across Belfast, and is seeking to minister in the changing urban context of post-conflict Belfast. Bobi Brown, the current Secretary and leader of the BCM, took me to see some of the current work undertaken by the Mission. Continue reading “Belfast City Mission”