Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Down Bible Week looks to next generation

“One of my priorities in this period of my episcopal ministry,” said Bishop Harold Millar, “is to discover, train, mentor and release young people of faith into ministry in its widest sense.”

The Bishop of Down and Dromore was speaking at the end of Bible week which was held last week.

The Diocesan information Officer reports that : Several hundred people gathered each night in The Jethro Centre for our annual Bishop’s Bible Week from 22–25 August.

These four nights of Bible teaching and worship allowed the clergy and lay of the diocese to be encouraged and equipped before parish life gathers pace for the autumn term. 

Many also took the opportunity to avail of prayer ministry which was offered at the end of each evening.

The Bible readers this year included Baroness May Blood, the first woman in Northern Ireland to be given a life peerage, and Sir Nigel Hamilton, former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Our worship was senstitively led by singers and musicians from Shankill Parish, under the guidance of Musical Director, Carl McCambley

Canon John Hughes taught on this year’s theme, ‘Leadership that Transforms’, drawing on the stories of Elijah and Elisha in 1 and 2 Kings. 

Bishop Harold remarked that he was struck by the transformative power of the Word of God in Elijah’s life.

“The reason, why we have the Bible Week,” he said, “is because it’s the Word of God that transforms our lives, our churches and our communities.”

John’s teaching ministry was a gentle one, profoundly informed by his own 43 years of experience in parish leadership, but did not fail to challenge. He encouraged us to listen closely to the voice of God and courageously obey so that the church would be prophetic in word and deed.

John’s title on the final evening was, ‘Passing the baton – Releasing leaders’, and was especially apt with the announcement during the week of the Diocesan Readers ‘2030’ initiative.

“One of my priorities in this period of my episcopal ministry,” said Bishop Harold, “is to discover, train, mentor and release young people of faith into ministry in its widest sense. I have tasked our Warden of Readers, Revd Willie Nixon, with discovering and training a band of young preachers and I encourage those of us in the diocese who are older to play their part in passing on the baton.”

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