The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Sellar, will spend this week in the Coleraine and Limavady areas seeing first hand the work of the Church on the ground, encouraging congregations, meeting ministers, local business people, farmers and visiting schools.
Each year Moderators make a weeklong tour of three of the Church’s 19 presbyteries across Ireland.
With 35 congregations, the Presbytery of Coleraine and Limavady is the fourth largest grouping in the denomination.
Accompanied by his wife Claire, Dr. Sellar began his tour on Sunday morning in Coleraine, preaching first at Terrace Row Presbyterian Church and then First Limavady Presbyterian’s evening service.
Speaking at the start of the tour, Dr. Sellar said, “In eight days, we have 32 different engagements across the Presbytery; from Limavady in the west, Portrush to the east, Dungiven and Kilrea to the south and a few points in between, including Coleraine. It will be a privilege to preach in 6 congregations, visiting others, encouraging and being encouraged.
“I am looking forward to spending time in many familiar places, locations where I spent my formative years, including the schools I attended. I look forward to meeting the local church members, hearing people’s stories, and seeing how God is using them in the community.”
During the Presbytery tour Dr. Sellar will take a special evening Harvest service in Ballyrashane Presbyterian Church for Willow Brook residents and preach at a Presbytery Rally in Macosquin Presbyterian. On the last Sunday of the tour he will visit Portrush and Portstewart, speaking in Ballywillan in the morning, then leading evening worship in Burnside Presbyterian Church.
Outside of church engagements, schools and education feature heavily on the agenda. Having spent his early years in the area, the Moderator will visit his old schools, the Irish Society Primary School in Coleraine and Coleraine Inst, now Coleraine Grammar. He will also visit Drumachose Primary in Limavady, Coleraine College and Sandeford School.
Rev. Dr. Trevor McCormick, minister of First Kilrea Presbyterian Church and Clerk of Coleraine and Limavady Presbytery, said that he and his colleagues were very much looking forward to welcoming the Moderator to the North Coast.
“We have arranged a varied and extensive programme, where local congregations will have the opportunity to introduce Dr. Sellar to some of their innovative work. He will visit Dungiven, where the former police station is being converted into new facilities by the local congregation, Portrush Presbyterian’s Charity shop and the Integrated Nurturing Project, which Ballysally Presbyterian is involved in,” Dr. McCormick said.
“With planned visits to the PSNI, HMP Magilligan and Street Pastors in Portrush, the Moderator will have the opportunity to express his thanks to some of those who serve the community in different ways.”
“He will also visit the care facilities run by the Presbyterian Church in the local area, York House in Portrush for older people and Willow Brook in Coleraine, a sheltered housing scheme for people with learning disabilities. It’s going to be a busy week for all involved,” Dr. McCormick said.
Informal receptions have been arranged for ministers’ wives, lead by Mrs. Sellar, and receptions for serving and retired ministers in the Limavady and Coleraine areas. The Moderator will also pay a courtesy call on the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens and meet with business leaders in Coleraine and members of the farming community in Kilrea.
“The emblem of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is a burning bush and its motto in Latin is ‘Ardens sed Virens’, ‘burning but flourishing’. “Having met God in Jesus Christ, He calls us to live flourishing lives in the Holy Spirit’s power and we do this within a challenging, hurting and often indifferent society”, Dr Sellar said.
“During my Presbytery tour, I want to encourage what is being done on the ground and learn new things myself, as I witness God move in the lives of others.”