Where does our comfort come from?

You could describe 2020 in lots of ways; disastrous, tragic, or calamitous, maybe shocking, surprising or unexpected. It’s certainly been unusual, never mind historic and of course, that word that is thrown about all too often, unprecedented.

If I was summing up the past year, I might say that 2020 has been a year of discomfort. Why might I say that? Continue reading

ICW… series – Faith and Arts

In Conversation With


Faith and the Arts:

A series facilitated by our

Faith and Arts group

We are going to make a bit of a break with the usual pattern of "In Conversation With  ..." evenings over the next three months. We have an active Faith and Arts Group which hosted two exhibitions in 2012. They have agreed to facilitate our discussions and to actively engage us in this exciting new series.

All these events will take place at 3rd Floor, 21 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. Click here for map.
19 February, 7:30pm
Room for Art?
An interactive evening focusing on art and artists within our churches
Not so much a talk about art as time spent looking at, and responding to, artworks brought in by members of the Faith and Art group – and, hopefully, you too.

Come and bring a piece of ‘art’ which speaks to you [not compulsory] and which may [or may not] be considered appropriate within our churches. 

This will be an interactive evening focusing on the use of art/artists within our churches.
19 March, 7:30pm
Art as Prayer
Exploring themes such as:
  • God communicates to us through His creation; can we communicate to Him through our creations?
  • Can God communicate to us through the work of a non-Christian artist?
16 April, 7:30pm
Art: The Misunderstood Voice

This evening will explore the two way conversation between the world and the church.

Note: These are open events. Please feel free to join the conversation and bring anyone else who might be interested.

Heaven in a Nightclub

Heaven in a Nightclub

8pm, 1 February 2013
Waterside Theatre

Tickets £8
Concession £5
(Tickets can be booked at Waterside Theatre Booking Office - click here)
The Presbytery of Derry and Donegal and Contemporary Christianity (NI) bring a unique one-night-only event to the Waterside Theatre as part of the City of Culture programme for 2013.  Heaven in a Nightclub is a jazz concert interspersed with historical information about the spiritual roots of jazz, which features Bill Edgar, Ruth Naomi Floyd and Randy Pendleton from Philadelphia, at the start of their UK tour. The audience will have the opportunity to hear examples of ragtime, blues, spirituals, funeral bands and others. Dr Bill Edgar is a professor at Westminister Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.  His approach is that "jazz ought to entertain" but its background is deeply rooted in the history and social and spiritual experiences of African -American people who were reared in slavery yet nurtured on the Gospel message in every aspect of life. Tickets on sale at the Waterside Theater Box Office (click here) or for block bookings from congregations contact Billy McIIwaine on 02871 346718 or billymcilwaine@hotmail.com
Click on the image for a poster for this event. heaven_in_a_nightclub

Book Launch: At Home in Exile


We invite you to the launch of our latest book in our 'Soundings' series

At Home in Exile:

The Journey Towards a New Paradigm

By Peter McDowell


Tuesday, 15 January 2013, 7:30pm

3rd Floor, 21 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.
Click here for map

Copies of the book will be available at the launch, and afterward by contacting the office, or via the website (click here).

Refreshments will be served.

cover The numbers of people attending church are declining. Churches are closing and the influence the church once had in society is waning. The natural response is to immediately look for solutions to the problems. However, finding appropriate solutions depends on a correct understanding of the problem.

In ‘At Home in Exile’ Peter McDowell shows how the experience of exile in the Old Testament can provide a way for the church to understand its current experience of marginalisation. The feelings associated with the three stages of the exile experience resonate with our current experience. The first stage is entering exile, and has associated feelings of shock and denial. The second stage, being in exile, has feelings of anger and depression. The third stage, departing from exile, is associated with acceptance and integration.

“Peter’s book is an invaluable companion for the people of God being taken into exile. Its challenging insights, observations and analysis are complemented by encouragement and hope to journey into an unknown future with a known God and to be at home in exile.”
Roy Searle
Northumbria Community

Copies of the book will be available at the launch.

Books will be available at the office, or ordered via the website - click here

Prayer for Peace

Contemporary Christianity fully supports the following initiative by Christians in Northern Ireland in response to recent events.
Prayer for Peace - City Hall, 8.30am Saturday 15th December

2012-Our time our place!

For 2012 the Northern Ireland Tourist Board slogan has been 'NI 2012 our time our place'. As the body of Christ across the land throughout the last year we have witnessed many examples of the God's kingdom coming amongst us and we have recognised these words 'our time our place' as a prophetic statement and wake-up call for the church.

Unfortunately the events of the last week have been disturbing and disappointing to say the least and we really don't want the year to end like this!

With the permission and cooperation of the police we have planned 'prayer for peace' at 8.30am on Saturday morning outside Belfast City Hall. We are hoping to form a unbroken chain of people right around the city hall who together will take 5 minutes to pray for our leaders, the city and ultimately for peace in our land. We also feel that this non-threatening and humble prayerful approach would be a wonderful show of church unity and a powerful declaration to the nation of the heart of Christ reflected through His body.

We would love as many people as possible to join us and form a wall of prayer around the city hall.

Your time? To join in this public prayer.

Your place? There will be a place for you at Belfast City Hall in time for the 8.30am Prayer for Peace.

Hope you can join us.


1912: A Hundred Years On Autumn Schdule


1912: A Hundred Years On

A play exploring the events of the year the Ulster Covenant was signed.

Tuesday 16 October at 7.30pm in Ulster Museum
Community Performance - for community groups
Places are free.
Book on www.nmni.com or telephone 028 90440000


Wednesday 17 October at 2.00pm in Ulster Museum
Student Performance - for students followed by a question and answer session with author Phillip Orr.
Places are free.
Book on www.nmni.com or telephone 028 90440000
Friday 19 October at 10.30am in Ulster Museum
Lifelong Learning Performance.
There will be a free performance followed by a question and answer session with exhibition curator William Blair.
Places are free.
Book on www.nmni.com or telephone 028 90440000
Saturday 20 October at 2.00pm in Ulster Museum
Public Performance.
Places are free.
Book on www.nmni.com or telephone 028 90440000
Monday 22 October at 7.00pm in Ulster Hall.
Public Performance.
Places are free. 
Tickets available from the Ulster Hall and Waterfront Box Office (90 334455) or online at www.ulsterhall.co.uk.
Tuesday 23 October in Ulster Hall.
All day event for schools. 
Wednesday 24 October at 1:00pm in Ulster Hall.
Lunchtime performance in Ulster Hall Group Space.
Wednesday 24 October at 7:15pm in Belfast City Hall.
Venue: Banqueting Hall.
Evening will be chaired by Belfast historian, Dr Jonathan Bardon.  Followed by a panel discussion. 
Tickets are available, free of charge, from the Belfast Welcome Centre. Call 9024 6609 or call into the Welcome Centre at 47 Donegall Place.
Thursday 25th October in Lurgan Town Hall.
Invited audience only.
Contact person: Olive Hobson at Jethro Centre. Phone: 02838325673. Email: olive.hobson@jethrocentre.org
Friday 26 October at 7.30 pm in Hopelink Centre, Carlisle Circus, Belfast.
Arranged by 174 Trust.
Entry is free but please contact 174 Trust to reserve your seats.
Contact The 174 Trust. Phone: 02890747114. E-mail: paul@174trust.org
Monday 29 October at 7.30pm in Braid Museum, Ballymena
Free admission by ticket only.
Contact Braid Box Office for tickets. Telephone: 028 25635900. Email: tourist.information@ballymena.gov.uk or call at 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena.
Tuesday 30 October - Evening Private Performance.
Wednesday 31 October at 7.30pm in Drumalis Retreat Centre, Larne.
A facilitated discussion will follow after the play and tea/coffee will be served.
To book, contact Drumalis – 028 28272196/28276455 (during office hours, Mon-Fri – 9 am – 5 pm).
Thursday 1 November at 7.30pm in Alley Theatre , Railway Street, Strabane, BT82 9FJ.
To Book contact Alley Theatre. Phone 028 71384444   www.alley-theatre.com
Friday 2 November at 7.30pm in Glenavna Hotel, Cookstown.
Doors open 7:00pm. Booking is essential.
Entry is free. 
To book contact Sarah-Jane Goldring at Magherafelt District Council  50, Ballyronan Road, Magherafelt. BT45 6EN. Tel: 028 79 397979. Mob: 07730761095. Email:  sj.goldring@magherafelt.gov.uk
Saturday 3 November at 7.30pm in Enniskillen Library.
Refreshments served at 7.00pm.
Arranged by Fermanagh Churches Forum and Cavan Family Resource Centre, in association with the Rural Enablers Programme.
All Welcome, free admittance.
To register call Tanya on 028 66340227 or email: info@fermanaghchurchesforum.org
Monday 5 November at 7:30pm in Kilmorey Arms Hotel, Kilkeel
Entry  is free. No booking required.
Arranged in cooperation with Peace III and Good Relations Officers of Newry and Mourne District Council.
For further information contact: Suzanne Rice, External Good Relations Officer, 028 30313065,or Andrew Kernaghan, Community Liaison Officer  Peace III, 02830313097, email: andrew.kernaghan@newryandmourne.gov.uk
Tuesday 6 November at 6:30pm in the Ceramic Room, National Museum of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin
Arranged in cooperation with Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.
For any further information, phone Sue Paterson or Val Kiernan at (+353) 01 282 9711 or Geoffrey Corry at (+353) 087 2351792.
Please RSVP by email by Monday 5th November to sue.paterson@glencree.ie
This play has been arranged by the Centenaries Cluster Group of Contemporary Christianity.
This project has received the support of  the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation/Anti Sectarian Fund,  and the Lyric Theatre.

A Contemporary Covenant Service

A Contemporary Covenant Service

On 29 September 1912 the majority of the adult Protestant population of Ulster signed a document known as the Solemn League and Covenant. Many churches were involved in services associated to the signing of the Covenant.

One hundred years on we offer an order of service which we hope will be of use for churches, groups or individuals who wish to recognise this historic event in an appropriate way.

The order of service can be downloaded, free of charge, as a pdf document (click here) and as a powerpoint presentation (click here).

The service is in the form of a written liturgy. We hope that those who do not normally use a written liturgy might use elements of it, as appropriate in their worship. Alternatively, the liturgy may provide ideas and inspiration which can be included in other ways in other styles of worship service.

Please feel free to pass on information about this resource to anyone you think may be interested.

We pray that it will prove a helpful resource, however it is used, in encouraging local churches and individuals to Covenant as citizens of the Kingdom of God.

The Board of Contemporary Christianity

Autumn Economics Series 2012


Faithful Economics:

An Autumn Series on Economic Issues

Economic issues continue to dominate the news stories and have a profound effect on each of our lives. This autumn our 'In Conversation With ...' events will take a slightly different format and will aim to help us to apply our faith to these issues. While each evening will deal with important and complex issues we will also be seeking ways in which we can live faithfully as disciples in this economic world.

All these events will take place at 3rd Floor, 21 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. Click here for map.

18 September, 7:30pm
Very High Top Salaries:
Necessary for Global Economics or Offensive to Biblical Justice?
Esmond Birnie and Allen Sleith both seek to apply their faith to all areas of life, including economics. However, on this issue they come to different conclusions.

This evening will not be a debate, to see 'who wins', but a conversation to explore and learn. It is conversation which all will be invited to join.

Esmond Birnie is Chief Economist for PWC in Northern Ireland.
Allen Sleith is minister of Regent Street Presbyterian Church.

16 October, 7:30pm
What Money Can't Buy:
The Moral Limits of Markets
sandel_book_coverPhilip McDonagh will facilitate a discussion on this book by Michael Sandel, who is political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University.

In What Money Can't Buy, Sandel examines one of the biggest ethical questions of our time and provokes a debate that's been missing in our market-driven age: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society, and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets do not honour and money cannot buy?

Note: it is not necessary to have read the book to join the conversation, but it is a good read if you can!

Philip McDonagh is an economist. He formerly worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers; he has over 30 years experience in dealing with local economic matters. He is a Charity Commissioner with the new Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. He is also a member of the Society of Friends

20 November, 7:30pm
Where the Narrow Road Meets the High Street

Across the UK, the supermarkets are opening at a rate of five per week. Churches are closing at a rate of two per week.

There are more Clubcards on key rings than there are crosses around necks!

But do we ever stop and think? Are supermarkets a force for good or a force for bad? What do they do to communities? What do they do to the environment? How do they treat their suppliers?

Do Christians ever think about these things? If not, why not, and what would the Bible say to them?

Colin Neill is a member of Waringstown Presbyterian Church and the author of ‘Turas - a story of strangers in a strange land.’


Note: These are open events. Please feel free to join the conversation and bring anyone else who might be interested.

Other events

On this page we will occasionally post details of events not organized by us, but which are in line with our aims and ethos.


Christians in Science Ireland

We are privileged to have Derick and Marian Woods joining us on Monday 25 February at 7.30pm at the Hub, at the CoI Centre, 22 Elmwood Avenue, Belfast to tell us about ‘E. T. S. Walton, Physicist and Nobel Laureate: His Life, Work, and Faith’ (http://www.cis.org.uk/ireland/ ).  Marian is E. T. S. Walton’s daughter and she introduced the first CiS Ireland Walton Lecture held  in November 2011 given by Rev. David Wilkinson.

The evening will be informal and a wonderful opportunity to learn about Ireland’s only Nobel Laureate in Science to date: http://www.cis.org.uk/ireland/walton/walton.html .