Newry Centre of Mission
Newry is a beautiful city in Northern Ireland with a population of just under 30,000. Despite Newry’s painful past regarding sovereignty and the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit’s impact on the city, our centre of Mission, in partnership with the Diocese of Down and Dromore, is committed to sharing the Good News of the Gospel. With a diverse community and a high number of single parent families, there are endless opportunities to make a positive impact. Our Centre of Mission is working hard to bring hope and love to this community.
Scott McDonald, Lead Evangelist, is making a real difference in the community! Scott is not only the Rector of two local parish churches, he is also passionate about working alongside Pioneer Evangelist Laurence Bellew to run the Newry Centre of Mission. Laurence, a qualified personal trainer, has worked with over 40 schools in the Belfast area and has now brought his expertise to the Newry Centre of Mission. His “Life Guards” initiative is making waves in the local schools, where children learn to look after their hearts physically and emotionally through a range of interactive workshops and fitness lessons. The programme often then leads to opportunities to share about spiritual health in schools, too. This year alone it has opened the door to take school assemblies and share the gospel with over 1,200 kids and young people in Newry and the surrounding areas.
Every Thursday evening, the Centre of Mission hosts ‘Kids & Youth Gym’ – an environment designed specifically for local children and young people. With gym equipment scaled down to their size, they can enjoy getting active with their peers, and it’s a great way for them to connect with others in their community. The gym has been so well received that adults are asking for something for them! There has also been an increase in people coming forward to volunteer, with a core group of people committing themselves. They, too, can see positive change and want to be part of it. The Centre has also been working closely with local communities, particularly through supporting a new food bank. This serves many people, including a local Romanian community. Though there have been language barriers, the team are committed to learning more and forming important connections.
Laurence recently hosted a Youth Alpha group with 15 young people. The inclusive environment empowered them to invite their friends, eventually growing to a community of up to 20 young people from various backgrounds. Whether familiar with a church environment or not, everyone felt welcome. The group was such a hit that it evolved into a Young People Worshipping Community, which is now thriving. Some of this group are already getting involved as Leaders in Training with the younger age groups and are doing a fantastic job.
Through the Centre of Mission, Scott and Laurence strive to serve all members of the Newry community on a multitude of levels. The pandemic has affected many people, leading to increased feelings of loneliness, isolation and mental health issues. In response, the two parish churches, which are in partnership with the CoM, have come together to explore the potential for a community garden. Thanks to £4,500 awarded by the Church of Ireland Mind Matters initiative, plans are at a very forward stage to bring this vision to reality. Pioneer Evangelist Stephen Whitten (North Belfast CoM) has been brilliant in his advice and the inspirational work that he has been doing with a similar project in the Shankill area of Belfast. It is hoped that the garden in Newry will become a hub of activity, where people of all ages and walks of life can come together, work alongside one another and engage in something truly meaningful. With your support, we can continue to foster a vibrant, supportive community where all are welcome.
Would you donate £3 a month to help Scott and his team reach more young people with the gospel?I want to help young people in Newry
- Pray and give thanks for everything that Laurence, Scott and others have started within the Centre of Mission and work hard to continue.
- Pray for the Lord to continue to lead Centre of Mission staff with boldness, compassion and wisdom.
- Pray for more people to volunteer.
- Pray for the food bank and community garden initiatives to continue and flourish.
- Pray for the continuing emergence and deepening of a relevant expression of Christian Community.