Life empowered by faith
Welcome to Contemporary Christianity
Our vision is to help both Christian people and wider society in Northern Ireland (and elsewhere) ‘think through’ many of the contemporary issues we face, and to do so from our best understanding of Holy Scripture.
We do not claim to have the answers to issues, which are complex and may be easier to avoid; yet we are committing to working in partnership with others where that is mutually beneficial. We want to draw on the wisdom, expertise and experience of people and organisations in many different spheres of life.
We also will greatly value constructive comment and feedback from you as you browse our website which will progressively be populated with a wealth of material from the former ECONI (Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland), alongside contributions from more recent times. We are also committed to commissioning new material that will appear regularly over the coming months.
Therefore, we offer you a warm welcome. With current COVID-19 restrictions we will initially be sharing some substantial thinking with you, around the theme of “Who is my neighbour?” and an invitation to engage together with us in both articles and the forthcoming podcasts.
Welcome to our new Contemporary Christianity website, which will be further expanded in the months ahead.
Contemporary Christianity is the successor to Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland (ECONI, 1988 – 2005) and the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland (2005-2010). ECONI emerged against the background of our community division and political violence in Northern Ireland, when a group of evangelical Christians argued for a new response. Their conviction was that faithful witness must take seriously the biblical command to make peace and do justice. Where loyalty to political and cultural identities had obscured loyalty to Jesus Christ, Christians needed to rediscover what it meant to live for God and his glory alone. We have always sought to look honestly at our own community, leading us to ask tough questions and acknowledge sectarian attitudes and practices. But while the challenges of building a peaceful and inclusive society locally remain, the bigger challenge now facing us is the reality of wider change in society.
P.S. is an email and web-based blog format issued regularly by Contemporary Christianity.
A number of weeks ago I went to a prayer meeting that began, as almost all such gatherings do, with a time of praise and adoration of God. How we pray spontaneously – the language and the ‘personal liturgy’ that we use – tells us a great deal about who we are, as both individual followers of Jesus, and the collective people of God.
Every summer in our church, we host Meet the Neighbours, a community engagement festival offering free hospitality and welcome to our local community. As this year’s event approached, we found ourselves facing one particular quandary.
I have been on a learning curve in many ways, not least in trying to practice what I preach, that every challenge also brings opportunity. It could be an occasion for despair or another chance to exercise faith, courage and determination.
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Meet our board members
Norman retired a few years ago to the sunny climes of Ballymena after having been the minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church in North Belfast for over 25 years. His hobbies are gardening, walking and photography, all of which he does with more enthusiasm than skill. He is married to Evelyn and their daughter Julie is a maths lecturer.
Stephen worked in Health and Care management until 2009. Since then he has volunteered as a part-time volunteer and is involve d in several other Christian organisations. He enjoys hill walking, simple gardening, easy DIY, walking in Crete and is always up for a conversation over a meal.
Cathy is originally from South Africa and is committed to promoting reconciliation and human flourishing in societies emerging from conflict. She is a PhD graduate from the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University. Currently she works as the research and curriculum development officer at Youthlink:NI.
Jonny works for the community sector in East Belfast and attends Movilla Abbey Church in Newtownards. He is married to Lisa and they have three children.