United Appeal assists essential church work

St James Parish Church Lower Kilwarlin Picture Steven McAuley
St James Parish Church Lower Kilwarlin Picture Steven McAuley

This Sunday (March 2), Presbyterians will be updated with what their Church can achieve when everyone does things together in support of the Presbyterian Church’s United Appeal.

‘United Appeal for Mission’ is a year-long campaign that annually raises £3m for the mission outreach of the Irish Presbyterian Church.

This year, it will help finance 40 missionaries working on 10 countries, 42 students currently in training for the Presbyterian ministry, 3,500 events for children and young people, provision of 445 bed spaces for older people needing residential and nursing care as well as for those those with learning difficulty, over 60 hospital, university and forces chaplains, 17 community and mission workers, 28 deaconesses.

This is done in addition to the work and witness of local congregations.

“Every aspect of our church’s mission depends to some extent on the United Appeal,“ confirms Presbyterian Moderator the Rev Dr Rob Craig.

“No one congregation could undertake all of this work alone, but, when Presbyterians do things together, we can support hundreds of projects and programmes at home and overseas that are helping to advance God’s kingdom and show God’s love in action to hundreds and thousands of people.”

Ministry is at the heart of the United Appeal and supports training of ministers in Union College, mission workers, lay preachers, deaconesses and chaplains for effective service in preaching and pastoring to local communities.

Recently, 150 people completed ‘Handling the Word’, a course designed help those who are involved in leading church groups while a further 96 have gone on to become accredited preachers that are regularly conducting worship and preaching in congregations that may be without a regular minister.

Children and young people are a vital part of Presbyterian congregations and it is essential that they are taught well, discipled in their faith and protected as part of church families. Across the Presbyterian Church, 33,000 volunteers and staff look after the 119,000 children and young people that attend youth organisations. This is backed up with appropriate training and child protection arrangements, including 140 ‘Taking Care’ training sessions around Ireland with 1,300 leaders participaing in training events to help them lead Sunday school and Bible class and 3,500 attending special youth and children’s events.

Caring for others has always been a Presbyterian Church focus, with a strong desire to others by reaching out to those in need. United Appeal supports helps support a range of social action projects including residential/nursing care for older people and those with learning difficulties, helping people overcome addictions, operation of a counselling service, ministry to people who are deaf and lobbying and campaigning for welfare of vulnerable people.

Another area of Presbyterian Church’s ministry is overseas mission. Forty missionaries work in 10 countries in four continents and partnership arrangements with churches and Christian bodies exist in 25 countries.