God and Google, Faith and Facebook

Seminar and workshop with Vinoth Ramachanda and Steve Stockman

Vinoth Ramachanda

The technological revolution of the past 20 years is still gaining pace - influencing how we buy goods and services, read newspapers, watch TV, listen to music, bank, use transportation and get new “Friends”! Technology and artificial intelligence initiatives (AI) will be even more ambitious in the next 20 years with driverless cars, robots, more workerless factories, drone deliveries and research in biotechnology for the treatment, managing and prevention of diseases.

On a May Saturday morning in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church leading international Christian leader and thinker Vinoth Ramachandra shared his reflections on the significant challenges, threats and opportunities we face in relation to our social lives, how we shop, and even how employment patterns will be affected by technological advances.

You can listen to Vinoth’s talk here. 


Rev. Steve Stockman from Fitzroy Presbyterian spoke from a pastoral perspective on how social media has enhanced his ministry. He shared about how he has even considered appointing a social media pastor to capitalise on the opportunities presented by facebook and twitter. Steve talked about how he communicates with people differs depending on which social media platform he uses.

The morning concluded with a Q+A and discussion facilitated by board member Cathy Bollaert about how people of faith move forward holding the tension of constructive engagement with advancing technology alongside the timeless message of the Gospel.



In Conversation with Derek Poole and Diane Holt…

Just Living in a Post-truth Society is Contemporary Christianity's theme for 2017.

On 2 May Contemporary Christianity hosted an informal evening with Derek Poole and Diane Holt.

The post-truth society is frequently mentioned in the media. Derek began to explore:
• what it means to live in a post-truth society
• what scripture has to say about the concept
• how people of faith can respond appropriately

Derek Poole used to work for ECONI and the Centre for Contemporary Christianity Diane Holt used to work for Tear Fund and now works for Thrive Ireland.

Click here to listen to the audio from Derek’s address.

A Soul for the Union?

A Soul for the Union?

Faith-based perspectives on the EU Referendum

An event held on Monday 13 June 2016 to help people of faith and others explore some of the issues to be considered in a deciding on how best to vote in the forth-coming referendum. To download a copy of Ben Ryan's talk click here. To listen to a recording click here. To read Evangelical Alliance's summary of the event click here.

Keynote speaker – Ben Ryan (Theos Think Tank)

Ben first joined the Theos think tank as an intern in September 2013 and graduated to a researcher in early 2014. He read Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge and also has an MSc in European Studies from the LSE European Institute. He is the author of the Theos reports A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK and A Soul for the Union.

Responders giving a N.I. perspective:

Colin Harvey (Professor of Human Rights Law, Queen’s University Belfast) responded with reference to Human Rights and Constitutional issues. Esmond Birnie (Chief Economist PWC in Scotland and N.I.) responded with reference to Economic and Financial issues. The Referendum is a democratic opportunity; the outcome will influence our relationships for years to come. Politics is inherently spiritual since God gives us the responsibility to govern within His sovereignty. This evening explored issues of sovereignty and subsidiarity, business and bureaucracy, security, migrants and other national and local challenges we all face in making a decision on how to vote. It encouraged and helped in making an informed response and not just one that thinks of self-interest!

Art, Faith and Peace The Bogside Artists: the Story Behind the Murals

On 8 April 2015 Contemporary Christianity held a series of events with Dr Adrienne Chaplin, a philosopher of art, and Tom Kelly, Kevin Hasson and William Kelly, often known as the Bogside artists. This was a unique opportunity to learn about the story of faith and hope behind the city's well-known - but often little understood - Bogside murals. Below is a video of the lunchtime event and a recording of the evening event. Art, Faith and Healing: Adrienne Chaplin in conversation with Tom Kelly. Tom spoke talk about the role of faith in his work, and the potential of art and storytelling to promote healing and peace.   Art, Faith and Truth: A talk by Adrienne Chaplin gave an address exploring how the murals, and other art throughout the ages, can disclose truth beyond words.

In Conversation With … Joe Campbell

Conflict in the Congregation: Opportunity and Danger?

This event was held on Tuesday 24 February, 7:30pm Many churches face the challenge of conflict. The resulting stress for both those in leadership and in the fellowship are often deep and lasting. Joe brought bring his years of experience in opening up this important issue. Joe is a former teacher and youth worker. He spent 20 years in community relations and peace building mainly with Mediation Northern Ireland. He was profoundly influenced by spending a year on sabbatical at a Mennonite seminary in USA. Joe helped establish the Presbyterian Church's Conciliation Service and presented a report and recommendations to PCI's General Assembly in 2013 based on its experiences. From 2006 to 2010 Joe worked on peacebuilding issues with United Mission to Nepal, also working with the Nepali government's Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

In Conversation With Adrienne Chaplin and Tom Kelly

On 10 October 2014 Adrienne Chaplin spoke on the subject 'Truth in Art and Religion' in Derry/Londonderry. Her talk included references to many pieces of art, with particular reference to the work of the Bogside Artists. Tom Kelly, one of the Bogside Artists, responded to Adrienne's talk.

In Conversation With … Trevor Morrow

Equal to Rule: Leading the Jesus Way.

Why men and women are equal to serve in leadership in the Christian Church This event took place on Tuesday 25 November, 7:30pm In May 2014 at the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly Trevor launched his book Equal to Rule. Disagreements over women's ordination or women in church leadership usually bring up two prominent attitudes: on the one hand, a number of people assume that the plain teaching of Scripture prohibits it; on the other hand, for a number of people, it simply feels right and they do not get to grips with biblical teaching. Both parties end up in the same place; reluctant to study the biblical text freshly, objectively, with the willingness to go where it leads. Dr Trevor Morrow has written Equal to Rule in order to show why churches like the Presbyterian Church in Ireland ascribe to full equality for men and women in leadership in the churches on the basis of the teaching of scripture. It is the fruit of years not only of biblical study and preaching, but also of experience in applying the gospel to the lives of women and men in different cultural contexts. The Very Rev. Dr Trevor W. J. Morrow is the recently retired minister of Lucan Presbyterian Church. In 2000, he became the youngest ever Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and studied Theology at the University of Edinburgh. Carys, his wife, is Welsh. His son, Peter, who is married to an American, is Canadian. His daughter, Ceri, is a Dubliner with an Enniskillen husband.

In Conversation With … David Middleton

Untold Story - the Church in the Middle East

Tuesday 23 September, 7:30pm Many of us are overcome by recent reports from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon Gaza and other Middle Eastern countries. As we look on at the sectarian divides and conflicts that are now being exposed in the Arab world; the open hostility in Syria and Iraq; the way that the region’s national borders drawn up a century or so ago are dissolving – what is happening to the Church in the Middle East?  What is the real story of what is happening.
  • What can we do?
  • How do should we pray?
  • Are we now  reaping what we sowed in the past ?
  • As Christians in “the West”, what can we learn from our brothers and sisters in extremis?
  • Are there examples from the Christians which demonstrate love peace and reconciliation to those outside it, when living under such pressures?
David Middleton worked in Istanbul for 9 years where he established the Christian television ministry that is now SAT-7 TURK. He continues to work as a Director for the channel, based in Belfast and travels regularly to Turkey and the Middle East.