The news is now ‘out there’ that after 5 years in Newcastle upon Tyne come summer 2015, we’re heading to Belfast in Northern Ireland where I’ll be the pastor of the Megain Memorial Church of the Nazarene. For those who don’t know, the Church of the Nazarene is, from the UK website, :
” an international evangelical denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, working in over 156 world areas with over 2 million members. In the UK there are 90 churches organised into two districts, North and South. Each local congregation of the Church of the Nazarene is a faith community, ready to greet you in Jesus’ name. There you will discover opportunities not only to encounter Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, but to grow as afollower of Christ.”
Megain is situated close to the centre of Belfast, east of the Lagan, on the Newtonards Road. I initially had a lot of reservations when I heard that the congregation there were interested in talking further with us, not least due to my unhelpful Northern Ireland prejudice which God seems to have called my bluff on…I remember literally saying to The Salvation Army that I’d go anywhere apart from Northern Ireland…big mistake, I guess! But really, having been brought up in the West of Scotland with the challenges of sectarianism I’d really been put off. It is still an issue in Northern Ireland, but I’ve been so encouraged to see and hear of how Megain and other like-minded churches are working for peace, unity and reconciliation through prayer and positive action.
We love being here in Gosforth with the Trinity Community, but as I said to them on Sunday, our call to work in Urban Priority Areas is a call that is much louder than anything else in the longer term. We’ve had, and are having, a great time here and God has richly blessed us, but at the end of the day, we’re made for different stuff. I need to pay tribute to the Trinity Community. It is because of their love, support and sheer graciousness that we’ve been able to ‘recover’ and ‘regroup’ ready to face a new challenge in a new place and to return to our ‘first love.’ I know there will be many opportunities to express that thankfulness in these next 15 months with them. But, until the time comes to move, there are so many things to work on and consolidate at Trinity and I’m looking forward to the coming year.
Thanks to everyone who have expressed good wishes, congratulations and promises of prayer. All very much appreciated as we seek to navigate the path the Lord has for our family at this time. The next year, of course, will be very busy as Tracy completes her PGCE and as I begin my MA in Mission (Celtic Mission and Spirituality)…but we’re thankful for these opportunities too. God is good.