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Congregational Life and Witness – Fresh Light reopens

Following its necessary suspension due to pandemic restrictions and some adjustments to how the ministry is delivered, Fresh Light counselling is now open to receive clients from today, 28 September 2022. Counselling offered from a Christian understanding of life and the world is offered to adults of all faiths and none.

Its ministry is offered primarily as a supplement to the pastoral care of the local church, but may also be provided independently of any church link. The wishes of those seeking help will be fully respected. Enquiries can be made by individuals, ministers of congregations, friends or relatives.

Counsellors come with experience in dealing with a variety of stressful life circumstances arising from, but not limited to, relationship difficulties, bereavement and loss, abuse, lack of trust, childlessness, sexual health, family issues, anxiety and depression. There are no set fees for counselling, however clients are invited to make donations where possible.

More details can be found here. Requests for counselling can be made by telephoning +44 (0)28 9261 0586.


Other support and encouragement in pastoral care for you and your congregation as we move beyond the pandemic

Two forthcoming events on the theme of the pastoral life of congregations

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Another look at pastoring our congregations 

Wednesday 5 October 2022 | 10.30am-12.45pm
Conference Room, Assembly Buildings, Belfast 

The Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of the pastoral life of our congregations and forced us into considering and experimenting with a new range of ways of staying connected with our members. As we emerge from the pandemic we have an opportunity to stop and take stock of what we have learned and to think afresh about how we will pastor the flock under our care.

Dr Tim Witmer, author of The Shepherd Leader, has extensive experience as both church pastor and Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary of thinking about models of effective pastoral life in congregations and what it might look like to transition towards doing things differently than we have done before.

This will be a helpful event for ministers, elders and church staff members in a variety of roles.
Cost £5. To book, click here.

Restored: Tending the soul in the wake of the pandemic

Tuesday 15 November 2022 | 7.45-9.15pm 

Conference Area, Assembly Buildings

The last two and a half years have been hard on all of us. Since the emergence of Covid-19, Presbyterian churches across Ireland have been faced with the significant challenge of how to respond to the avalanche of psychological, emotional, and spiritual traumas experienced by many church members of all ages. It would be a mistake to imagine that Covid-19’s effects will simply disappear. As we recommence more regular rhythms of church life, Restored is a free, in-person event, which will give church leaders the space to explore how to biblically and pastorally respond to the avalanche of issues arising in the wake of the pandemic.

Plenary address: Tending the soul in the wake of the pandemic | Andrew Collins, Consultant psychiatrist and biblical counsellor 

Seminars (from which participants can choose one of the following)

  1. Is there any room for the darkness of our lives?Using Bible Society NI’s Daring to Hope resource to discover how learning to lament biblically can positively impact both our growth as disciples and how we do pastoral care. Andrew Dickson (PCI Congregational Life Development Officer)
  1. Still not back yet? Adopting a pastorally sensitive approach to those who have not yet returned to church activities. Neil Harrison (PCI Congregational Life Development Officer) and David Thompson (Secretary, Council for Congregational Life and Witness)
  1. From Shaken to Steady. Exploring the impact of the pandemic on our teens, and equipping leaders with the best practices and tools to journey with them in their good and difficult days. Chris Boucher (Big House)

A free, in-person event for ministers, elders, pastoral care teams, youth leaders and others helping congregations in their pastoral response to the impact of the pandemic. 

To book, click here.