Moderator’s tour of North Belfast Presbytery
Moderator of The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev Dr David Bruce visited local schools during his tour of the Presbytery of North Belfast.
Unlike his predecessors, Dr Bruce is the first Moderator in nearly 130 years to serve two terms.
Beginning in Rosemary Presbyterian Church on October 31, the North Belfast visit was his first tour of his second term in office.
It concluded the following Sunday when Dr Bruce preached in Carnmoney Central, in an outreach of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church in the south of the city.
Speaking before the tour began, Dr Bruce said: “Presbytery tours are primarily about encouraging the local church and for the Moderator to get ‘out and about’, seeing first-hand the work that congregations are doing in the community on the ground.
“They are very much pastoral visits and after such difficult times I very much want to encourage the Church in all that they do and acknowledge the work that they are doing in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“There is a very strong history of PCI’s community engagement in the north of the city, often in areas where people are neglected or marginalised, those who suffer with addictions, ex-offenders and refugees, for example.
“Along with my wife Zoë, I am looking forward to seeing the work that the Church does in these important areas, and preaching on one of the most devastating of Psalms, Psalm 13, and the message of hope that it ultimately brings.”
Throughout the week, there was a strong focus on education and young people, with the Moderator taking three assemblies at Mossgrove Primary School and a morning with the principal and teachers of Glengormley High School.
He also took part in a question and answer session with the school’s sixth formers, and attended a youth event at Whiteabbey Presbyterian.
Speaking before the tour commenced, Clerk of the North Belfast Presbytery, Trevor Long OBE, said local ministers and congregations were looking forward to meeting Dr Bruce. “North Belfast like everywhere else has found the last 19 months very difficult,” he added. “Add to this the challenges of falling attendances at church, amalgamations of congregations and the need to reach out to younger people who know little or nothing of the Gospel. There is also the growing number of those now making Northern Ireland their new home and we want to love and welcome them.
“David and Zoë’s time with us will be a big help in focusing on these issues, drawing attention to some of the great work that is being done in the Presbytery.”