Each year the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) sends quite a few Christmas cards across this island and farther afield. For the current Moderator, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce, this year is no different – but the card he will send will be unique.
People of all ages in PCI were invited to either take, or send in, a photograph that they had taken of what ‘Hope at Christmas’ looks like for them, in a special photography competition. Nearly 200 entries were received by the six-person judging panel, which included Dr Bruce, and an image of two travellers walking together across a snowy Cave Hill above Belfast came top. The picture was taken by Bill Corr, who has been taking photos since he was a teenager.
Mr Corr, who lives off the Shore Road and has attended Alexandra Presbyterian Church in north Belfast for the past 45 years, was delighted when Dr Bruce called him to say that he had won. “I was surprised to get the call from the Moderator, but very pleased. My photograph is of two people on a journey along a snowy cold path to journey’s end and the hope of reaching that final destination. It reminded me of the hope that Jesus brings, especially at Christmas, and the journey we are on with Him,” Mr Corr said.
‘Hope at Christmas’ is the Moderator’s theme for this advent season. “I am looking forward to being able to send out my Christmas cards this year with Bill’s evocative photograph on the front. God takes us on a journey through life, walking with us. Sometimes the way is easy, but at other times, it is bleak and harsh. However, his promise of hope at journey’s end puts a spring in our step, as his warm hospitality awaits,” Dr Bruce said.
“It goes without saying that once again this year has been a tough one for many in our society, and that includes the churches. So it is important to acknowledge, even in these uncertain times, the hope we have as Christians. ‘Hope at Christmas’ is also the theme of a bundle of resources to help us as a Church celebrate the coming of Jesus among us as our Saviour and to share this message of joy far and wide.”
The resources are available throughout December on the PCI website www.presbyterianireland.org and include blogs, videos of hope to share on social media channels, the Church’s Let’s Pray bulletins and Tides, PCI’s popular daily Bible reflections that will explore the theme of Hope at Christmas in more detail, with Bible reflections written by the Moderator and others.
Dr Bruce concluded by saying, “It is my hope and prayer, that all of these resources will be a genuine encouragement and blessing to our Presbyterian family at this time, and to everyone who downloads, watches, or reads them. As we look forward to celebrating that moment when God became flesh and dwelt among us, we do so in the hope we have in Jesus, as we journey with Him, especially in these uncertain times and into the New Year.”