The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, through its Dromore Presbytery, is eagerly anticipating being involved in Balmoral Show once again this year.
Congregations within the Presbytery have put their hand to the plough as they take their place in the Eikon Exhibition Centre at Northern Ireland’s premier agri-food event.
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is, as its name suggests, an island-wide body of Believers. From Bushmills in the north to Aghada in the south, 545 congregations make up a church which has traditionally drawn much of its strength from rural areas.
Involvement in Balmoral Show is thus a natural step for a church whose heart is to share the life-changing news of Jesus the Good Shepherd with those who live and work in the rural community.
The church is drawing on a very happy experience from last year, when they took a stand at the show for the very first time.
The organisers recall: “We were thrilled by the very warm response we received last year as we welcomed folk from all arts and parts and backgrounds. The stand was often thronged with people of all ages, from push-chairs to pensioners, and all ages in between.
“The friendly buzz of conversation, a seat to rest weary legs, a refreshing cup of tea, face-painting for the children: all came together in a most enjoyable three days. In everything that we did, we tried to be good ambassadors for Jesus, by pointing people to our Saviour, in word and action.”
This year a similar approach is being taken, with a larger stand being booked, which will allow more room to chat in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Christian hospitality is offered through light refreshments, a comfortable seat and a compassionate pastoral ear, where cares can be shared and support offered. A “family friendly” ethos will again be to the fore, with face painting for children and a gift containing a simple message about Jesus. The hope is to share the good news of Jesus, as conversations arise, supported by suitable literature.
The stand will also serve as an information point, with a leaflet containing details of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, including how to find a church family close to you.
Building on this wider church theme, support for the venture has come from the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Rev Dr Ian McNie, who plans to visit the stand from 11am on Wednesday.
The organisers are keen to stress that the stand is not only for Presbyterians! An open invitation is extended to all.
Do stop by at EK23, in the Eikon Exhibition Centre, which is situated between the cattle tents and the big wheel. A warm welcome awaits you!