President's Blog

The beginning of September can be a challenging time in church life. For some of us there can be a sense of excitement as we think about what God may do this year and as we plan and hope and pray. For others of us our hearts sink a bit, Summer is over and the year ahead stretches out, busy and challenging. And God invites us to follow Him into September, and the sense that God is stirring us up applies to September as well as June; and the truth of God’s encouragement not to be afraid stands.

The “Malarone” tablets are almost finished! We have been back from Ghana for almost a week now and I find that my mind is full of snap-shots, pictures and impressions I have carried home with me. My husband Neil and I travelled to Ghana with Rosamond Bennett, who is the CEO of Christian Aid Ireland. Christian Aid had offered to take me to see some of the work which their partners are doing.

I am writing from the heart this morning (Saturday 13th July) because my heart breaks when I see what happened in Belfast last night. First of all I need to say that there were many things about yesterday which are worth celebrating; Londonderry’s March, with the new banner depicting the Peace Bridge, and similar Demonstrations across the country. Those experiences point us to the day I long for, a day when we can celebrate our different heritages, without rancour; a day when to celebrate one heritage does not mean “putting down” the other.

On the Wednesday afternoon of Conference I took some time to pray and prepare for the Installation service that evening. Those of you who were at Conference on Sunday afternoon when thanks were being expressed, will be aware of just how many people worked incredibly hard and prayed in preparation for and during Conference. That afternoon, I had a sense of God speaking peace (I do have a tendency to worry!) and saying “All you have to do is turn up”. It was a reminder that the work is God’s and our task is simply to step into what God is doing. That is still my sense.