Local churches launch leaflet

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The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Right Rev Dr Ian McNie, has launched a pastoral leaflet in support of farmers and their families which has been produced by the Presbytery of Ballymena.

The leaflet was launched yesterday (Friday) at Ballymena Livestock Market.

The Rev Daniel Kane, speaking on behalf of the Ballymena Presbytery, said: “Currently farmers and their families are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress due to a range of vitally important factors, beyond their control, which have a major impact on their livelihoods and are putting their profit margins under severe pressure. As farm gate prices continue to fall, coupled with the uncertainty with regard to our future in Europe which has massive repercussions on single farm payments and other subsidies, farmers’ backs are against the wall in a way they have never been before. All of this is significantly compounded by a possible further reduction in global milk prices and the threat of a trade deal with Brazil which would flood the European market with cheaper beef in a shrinking market, therefore challenging the profitability/viability of beef farmers to an even greater extent.

“On the eve of the Balmoral show, one of the most important events in the agri-food industry calendar, and a show case of agriculture in Northern Ireland, the Presbytery of Ballymena decided it is vital to express our heart-felt support for farmers and their families with this pastoral support leaflet. As the strength of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland lies in its rural congregations, and by and large in farming families, we want to sign-post farmers and their families to God and His Word and the comfort and compassion they can find through believing in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, along with other sources of practical help.”

The Ballymena minister, who is himself from a well-known and respected North Antrim farming family, concluded: “The Presbytery of Ballymena wants to reassure all farmers and their families of our on-going pastoral and prayerful support. Your local minister will always be ready and willing to listen in confidence and offer pastoral friendship and prayer.”