VETERAN peace-maker and a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Very Reverend Dr Ken Newell, is full of hope as he visits Coalisland to preach at the Churches Together Service, hosted this year by Brackaville Church of Ireland parish on January 23.
Dr Newell said: “My faith has awakened in me real hope and confidence for Ireland, north and south, for Belfast where I live and for Coalisland.
“It is part of the Church’s mission to tackle the big issues that still confront the community – to bring in from the cold all who are marginalized economically, socially, politically and spiritually.” Although Dr Newell retired from full time ministry four years ago he is still passionate about what he calls ‘Adopting the Inclusive Lifestyle of Jesus Christ’, and building bridges in and between communities based on Christ’s New Commandment to ‘love one another as I have loved you’.
At the height of the Troubles in 1981 he founded the Fitzroy-Clonard Fellowship with Fr Gerry Reynolds, which connected a Presbyterian congregation in South Belfast with Clonard Monastery in West Belfast.
His friendship with Fr Reynolds continues over 30 years later.
This will be Dr Newell’s first visit to Coalisland and he is looking forward to meeting and learning from local people.
He was invited to preach by Revd Andrew Rawding, the Church of Ireland Rector, and Fr Paul Byrne, the Parish Priest, who will be organising the service together for the second consecutive year.
The Churches Together service, which takes place in the worldwide ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’, will be at 8pm on Wednesday, January 23, in Brackaville Church of Ireland church.
Everyone, from all churches and none, is very welcome to attend.