The Presbyterian Church in Ireland published its 2019 General Assembly Summary Report, which details many of the decisions taken at this summer’s Assembly. The 40-page snapshot of June’s week-long meeting also contains an overview of the work and initiatives that the Church has been engaged in at home in Ireland and overseas.
Writing in the Report, which is available at presbyterianireland.org, and also in traditional print format, Presbyterian Moderator, Right Reverend Dr William Henry, said, “My abiding personal memory of this year’s General Assembly was the sense of optimism and hope that springs from a belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ…I was impressed by the reports and speakers, many of them reminding us of the good deeds done in the name of the Church locally and denominationally.”
Dr Henry, who was formally elected as Moderator for 2019-2020 at June’s General Assembly, the youngest person to hold the office in living memory, also wrote, “I have also been encouraged by being reminded of the generosity of our church to worldwide disasters and the willingness of our ordinary people to be involved in mission locally and overseas.”
The report, which is the sixth to be produced, details the Church’s response to two natural disasters, where Presbyterians across Ireland raised over £500,000 for badly needed humanitarian relief following the Indonesian earthquake and typhoon and Cyclone Idai, which impacted Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The Summary Report also highlighted the 2018 World Development Appeal, ‘Seeking Safety’. The Appeal continued its focus on the challenges of sustainable justice in fragile states, with a particular focus on gender justice and the prevention of gender-based violence.
In his introduction to this year’s Summary Report, Rev Trevor Gribben, Clerk of the General Assembly and General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, wrote, “We considered over 100 resolutions on a range of public issues from Northern Ireland’s political situation and concerns over social care services, to praising school governors. We also welcomed opportunities to participate in the public life of the Republic of Ireland…
“Members of Assembly [also] discussed guidelines for planting new churches and resources that will support PCI’s growth in different ways, and were updated on a significant project that explores how Presbyterians responded to the Troubles.”
Considering Grace, one of the project’s principal outworkings, was launched earlier in November. Based on interviews with around 120 people, the book, which is published by Merrion Press, tells a wider story than has been available to date, acknowledges what was good, while reflecting upon the times when Presbyterians failed to be faithful peacemakers.
Mr Gribben concluded his introduction to the Report by saying, “In all that we do, at the heart of the Church, is our central calling to proclaim and live out the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in a constantly changing world. I hope that in the coming pages you get a snapshot of that calling and its outworking, through the life and ministry of PCI.”