Newry Centre of Mission
Newry, County Armagh and County Down
Newry is a short drive from the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and is situated on the main route between Belfast and Dublin. With a long and painful history of fiercely contested sovereignty, and now with uncertainties related to Brexit, the centre of mission’s aim of proclaiming the gospel’s Good News, peace, and reconciliation is timely and poignant. The last national census showed that the average age of Newry is thirty-five, with single-parents making up one in ten households. The centre of mission began work in 2021, so this make-up of Newry will guide how it’s work develops and how they reach out to the area.
“My inspiration for pursuing health for myself and for young people came from a personal tragedy when my uncle died of a heart attack at just 44. I’ve since been using my own healthy heart fitness programme called ‘Life Guards’ to work with children of all ages in schools across Northern Ireland. It’s based on Proverbs 4.23 which says ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’
My motivation is to see these young people learn to care for their hearts; emotionally and spiritually, and to look after their bodies and minds.
A lot of us are becoming increasingly sedentary, and particularly after COVID, so many kids were permanently fixed to screens, not going out, not meeting people. This inspired us to launch our Kids & Youth Gym in Newry and we currently have 70 kids registered and coming regularly on Thursday evenings. Nearly all the kids have met connected with us in schools through the Healthy Heart programme.
We call it ‘Life Guards’ because it’s about taking responsibility for our own lives and choices. It’s about so much more than achieving physical fitness, we want to inspire them to be fit for life.
Kids face a lot of pressures. Some have significant challenges with their self-esteem, body image, eating disorders, lack of confidence…
We come alongside these young people and help them set SMART targets and equip and empower them to achieve these goals. One of the things you’ll hear us say is, ‘a bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you can’t get anywhere unless you change it.’
Now about 15 young people, met through the work in schools and the gym, come to our Youth Church on a Sunday evening.
WE’RE ABOUT MORE THAN BEING PHYSICALLY FIT. WE WANT THEM TO DISCOVER WHERE TO FIND VALUE, IDENTITY, AND PURPOSE, AND TO LIVE THEIR LIVES THROUGH THAT.”
Type of Work
Evangelists & Leaders
Scott McDonald, Lead Evangelist
Diocese of Down and Dromore
Diocese of Down and Dromore is one of the two biggest dioceses of the Church of Ireland and their parishes are to be found in County Down and part of County Armagh in Northern Ireland.