Update from Chairman of Headway (Ireland) – October 2019
From Rev Ken Todd (Chair of Headway Ireland Methodist Evangelicals Together).
Secretary: Rev Ken Robinson
1 Peter 2v11: Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
Church in exile
I spent a blessed day with Rt. Rev Paul Boafo, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Ghana, which has one million members and is growing. It exerts influence for good in the country and is listened to by the common people as well as the political leaders. Bishop Paul studied in our Edgehill College, Belfast. We reflected that in Europe, once upon a time, the Christian Church was regarded as the shaper of culture and occupied a place of influence at the centre of culture but today, rampant secularism wants to push the Christian Church into exile where the Church is regarded as the enemy of culture. In exile, our Christian calling is to live counter-culturally. As a servant church, like the Old Testament exiles, we will become familiar with the language of lament, penitence and hope and singing the Lord’s song in a strange land. We do well to listen to and learn from representatives of the World Church.
Conference meeting in Cork, June 2019
Headway was given the opportunity in June 2019 to organise a Conference Meeting entitled “REACHING EVERY GENERATION IN A CHANGING IRISH CULTURE.” The three speakers were Peter Grier (Team Leader for Munster and Connacht Christian Unions Ireland); Rev Greg Alexander (West Cork); and Rev Dr Heather Morris (now Secretary of Conference). It was an encouraging and challenging time as we heard of people coming to Christ and standing for Christ. We heard that people who have not made room for God in their thinking are likely to be more impressed if we are Christian rather than religious. It was an inspiring evening when we focussed on the changeless Christ.
Pro-Life protest at Stormont, September 2019
On September 6th the Stormont estate in Belfast was filled with an estimated 20,000 people who joined in a silent protest over the imposition by Westminster of a new liberalised abortion regime in Northern Ireland. Many Headway supporters were present and it was encouraging to see the President of our Methodist Conference, Rev Sam McGuffin making his protest.
New book by Rev Jim Rea, October 2019
Rev Jim Rea, preacher and broadcaster and lively raconteur, has published a book of short stories with a spiritual insight. “Stories from the streets and beyond” is available in bookshops at £12.95. Jim is a member of the Headway (Ireland) Executive committee.
Home Mission challenge
We are fully supportive of our Home Mission Department which is encouraging the Circuits in our three Districts to be serious, proactive and committed in:
- Making more followers of Jesus Christ;
- Growing as followers of Jesus;
- Serving God in the wider world.
British Methodist Church controversial report on marriage
I attach a 900 word critique of the controversial document from the British Methodist Church (“God in love unites us”). The document which encourages redefinitions of marriage and chastity has gone to British Circuits for consultation. It is a British document and does not apply to Irish Methodism. Our critique has appeared in the October edition of the Methodist Newsletter under the title: “Full of love and lawlessness.”
Closer to home, Headway (Ireland) encourages churches to prayerfully engage with and confidently respond to, consultations and initiatives from the MCI working group on human sexuality.
Further Headway (Ireland) gatherings are being planned:
“Living Biblically in the Church and the World” April Celebration 2020;
“Sharing faith with the next generation” Conference June 2020.
Details of these are being finalised.
Please feel free to share with us your suggestions and concerns as together with Headway (Ireland) we seek to glorify God and faithfully conserve traditional Biblical values in a changing church and society.
May God bless you.
Rev Ken Todd (Chair of Headway Ireland)