In Conversation With … John Kyle

This season our 'In Conversation With ...' events are on the theme of faith and politics in Northern Ireland. In the first of the series John Kyle spoke on the theme:

Where Faith and Loyalism Collide

17 January 2012
John Kyle is a General Practitioner in East Belfast.  He was an elder in Christian Fellowship Church for several years with responsibility for building bridges with other churches and denominations.  Since 2000 he has been a member of the Progressive Unionist Party, serving for a time as interim Leader.  He is a Belfast City Councillor representing Pottinger Ward in inner East Belfast.
A recording of John's talk can be heard using the player below.

In Conversation With … Sean Mullan

The series of Contemporary Christianity events looking at economic issues continued with a chance to hear about a creative outreach initiative in response to the economic situation in Dublin. Sean Mullan talked about Faith and the Social Economy: A Dublin Perspective. He's the initiator of Third Space, a new social business initiative to create social hubs in the redeveloping parts of Dublin city. In November Third Space will be opening its first meeting and eating place in the Smithfield area of Dublin City Centre. Sean previously worked as a navigation officer in the merchant navy and as a church planter and pastor in Cork and Dublin. He continues to work with church planters and others on mission in the city. He was active in establishing Evangelical Alliance Ireland, was until recently the General Director, and still serves on the board. He is also on the boards of a number of community projects and faith-based initiatives. Married to Ana for 27 years, they have three adult children.

In Conversation With … Maurice Kinkead

Maurice Kinkead has spent the last 25 or so years developing and managing not-for-profit organisations, initially in faith based organisations and more recently with an inter-sectoral partnership. He is Chief Executive of East Belfast Partnership and has responsibility for two subsidiary companies, both leading social enterprises in Belfast. During his talk titled 'The Social Economy: voluntary sector operating with private sector values?' he spoke about his experience as a practitioner, learning at least as much from mistakes as from success, the positive aspects of initiatives like 'Making Belfast Work' that were subsequently lost in red tape, "people have values and ethics, not sectors", described the social economy sector as "businesses that happen to be owned by charitable organisations, are (hopefully) profitable but non-profit distributing, and often employ and train people". Describing some of the issues that face the social economy sector, he suggested that "sometimes private sector values are good values" and went on to explain that the gap between who is paying and who is receiving a service sometimes leads to a drop in service quality in the social economy sector. He also advised that if a business wouldn't be prepared to take its clients to court, then it shouldn't be in a client-focussed industry - after all "running a social economy or charitable organisation doesn't make you soft in the heart or soft in the head". He suggested that bonus schemes could still be applicable in the social economy sector to improve motivation.

In conversation with … David McMillan

It's the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible. Twenty years as a Baptist pastor, a foundation member of ECONI and now a doctorate student, David McMillan talked about and discussed
What authority does the Bible have in 21st century pluralist society?
After sharing his opinion, there was a time of questions.

In conversation with … Lauran Bethell

Lauran BethellAs part of the Human Trafficking Conference organised by the Irish Baptist Network, Lauran Bethell addressed a joint IBN/Contemporary Christianity audience on the evening of 22 March. Lauran is an international consultant on the issue of Human Trafficking. Over twenty years ago she went to Thailand with an American Baptist mission agency to teach in a mission school but quickly became involved in the rescue and care of young women who have been exploited and abused. She pioneered projects in Thailand and directed a centre for ‘at risk’ girls. The New Life Centre has received international recognition and awards for its work. Lauran’s main concern is to initiate and encourage new grass-roots projects, particularly among churches and Christian groups, addressing the exploitation and abuse of women and children. You can hear more from the conference over on the IBN's website.

In Conversation with … Bertha McDougall and Brendan McAllister

Bertha McDougall and Brendan McAllisterBertha McDougall and Brendan McAllister, two of the three remaining victims commissioners, shared their perspectives on the topic of
Dealing with the Present: Addressing the Needs of Victims

In Conversation With … Philip McDonagh

On Tuesday 18 January, Philip McDonagh looked at the subject of "Northern Ireland - Subvention City Or Still A Special Case?" What mechanisms determine the level of public expenditure here? Are they linked to need? Why is public expenditure so high? What choices does the NI Executive have? Should we do more to pay our way? What is the role of the Voluntary sector? Can the Big Society, Welfare Reforms or even the next generation help us through? What about those in need? You can also download the audio of the talk and discussion - though you'll miss the context of reading the slides in the video above.

In Conversation With … Gladys Ganiel and Claire Mitchell

On Tuesday 19 October, Claire Mitchell and Gladys Ganiel spoke around the title of "Choosing Our Religion". They're co-authors of "Evangelical Journeys: Choice and Change in a Religious Subculture" - a book that will shortly be published, based on their research into the faith journeys of 95 Northern Ireland evangelicals and ex-evangelicals that they interviewed. Why do some people become more religiously conservative over time, whilst others moderate their views or abandon faith altogether? The book explores how religious journeys are shaped by social structures and by individual choices. It tells the stories of pro-life picketers, liberal peace-campaigning ministers, housewives afraid of the devil, students deconstructing their faith and atheists mortified by their religious past. Through hearing everyday stories about love, family, work and health, as well as politics, the book explores the many different worlds of ordinary evangelicals in Northern Ireland and the surprising ways in which their beliefs and practices can change over time.

In Conversation With … Philip Orr

On Tuesday 9 March, historian Philip Orr looked at "Forward Towards History". The next few years will see a number of centenaries being celebrated by the Unionist community, such as the signing of the Covenant, the founding of the UVF and the Larne gun-running. How are the churches going to approach these anniversaries? How are they to react to criticisms of the church's role in supporting militant Unionism 100 years ago, and how do they perceive current plans by Loyalism to celebrate this era in Ulster's disputed history?