Our names are George and Ann Wright and we have the pleasant duty of arranging speakers for our monthly Missionary Meetings in our home congregation – Ballyclare Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Ballyclare RP is located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The church has for many years, had a particular focus on missionary work.
In past years, a Missionary Meeting was held monthly on a Monday night. Attendance at these meetings over some years declined. In order to get more people present, it was decided to hold these meetings after a Sabbath evening service. This did increase attendance. However, parents with children were unable to attend because it was too late in ending for school children.
Five years ago our new minister, Rev. Nathan Hawthorne suggested having the Missionary Meeting on the first Sabbath evening of the month, replacing the evening service. Session agreed to this change. Also our evening service starting time changed from 7.00 pm to 6.00 pm, thus allowing more families to attend.
These changes have proved to be a tremendous blessing to the congregation. Each month we have a different speaker from a Mission Society. We have a large attendance with many children present. We believe it is so important not just for our adults, but also for the children to learn of God’s work being carried out both locally, and also throughout the whole world.
Then Covid 19 came and in March 2020 our monthly church Missionary Meetings stopped. Well for a time. It was then decided that we try a Missionary Meeting on zoom.
A member of a neighbouring RP congregation, Mr David Fleming had taken a group to Peru for outreach. (His wife is Peruvian). David agreed to take the meeting and it was held on Sabbath evening 5th July. Our minister Nathan acted as host and chairman on the zoom online system. David did an excellent presentation and a good number from the congregation joined and it all proved most successful.
Unfortunately not all Mission Societies are geared up for zoom meetings and so the one planned for August did not take place. But as times has gone on most are now able to participate. We had excellent meetings in October and November and our schedule is planned up to June 2021.
In October we had a most interesting meeting with a missionary in Jerusalem. He works for Christian Witness to Israel. It was thrilling to hear of Jewish people coming to faith in their Messiah Jesus. Then in November local lay people from neighbouring churches, shared about their voluntary work with the Christians Against Poverty mission. An amazing work in this particular climate of hardship.
We would most certainly recommend zoom missionary meetings. It is so important for any church to have a vision, not just for their own church ministry but for world mission. To be informed and challenged helps to enlighten our minds re the missionary ministry and to focus our prayers for the missionaries.
George and Ann Wright, Ballyclare RPC