NEWS FROM THE IRISH MISSION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: 7 MAY 2017
2nd June 2017
Sad farewells, joyous welcomes, tithe increases, improved technology to manage membership data, and advances in safeguarding practices were highlights of the Irish Mission Executive Committee meeting that was held in Banbridge on 7 May 2017.
The meeting began with a farewell. Dr Nomsa Maphango, who managed the Cuisle Centre in Dublin is moving on to other engagements when her contract expires in July. The committee acknowledged her dedicated work in the centre, first as a volunteer, and then as a manager. "She's been instrumental in developing the core vision of the centre. She brought stability and order and structure to the centre's programme offerings. The positive impact of her work has been felt around Ranelagh over the last few years", said Pastor Dan Serb as he wished her well for the future endeavours. The Dublin churches are now recruiting a new manager for the Cuisle Centre project.
Nomsa did not leave without presenting the committee with a report full of stories. She told of a morning when she was at the centre with a very bad cold. She needed to go in to open the building for a counselling session. At that point Martin (not his real name) came in. He is Hungarian but has recently decided to be a vegetarian. He asked for some advice, took some leaflets and was very interested in our cooking classes. Nomsa explained how this is just the beginning of a story and while it is unfinished, it is exciting to see what will happen over the next few months and years. These stories happen almost on a weekly basis due to the fact that volunteers are making themselves available to serve the local community. Soon there will be enough of them to fill a book. See Nomsa's latest report to the Executive Committee on our website.
The Irish Mission's financial report contained positive news. The Mission has recorded a 14% increase in tithe for 2017, compared to the same time in 2016. Expenses have so far remained below the budget for the year, meaning that the Mission is showing a small surplus in the financial statement for the first three months. Part of the reason for this is the departmental expenditure on events will come later in the year. Properties in the West of Ireland that had previously been registered under the Emerald Health & Education Trust, have now been transferred into the Irish Mission portfolio (held by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ireland). This has resulted in a significant increase in the listing for Fixed Assets on the financial statement. (View a copy of the latest financial report on our website.)
Irish Mission Membership
Pastor Paul Lockham reported that Irish Mission membership now officially stands at 847 members This is an increase from 833 at the end of 2016. Pastors and local churches are still encouraging members who have immigrated to Ireland to transfer their membership to the Irish Mission in order to establish a more accurate picture of the membership of the Mission.
Exciting news is that a new small church group has been recognised in Monaghan. A handful of refugee Seventh-day Adventists have moved to Monaghan from Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. They have started meeting together on a weekly basis under the leadership of Lesley Mkoko. Retired pastor, Mart de Groot lives in Armagh, which is not too far from Monaghan and he has offered to support the group as they establish themselves.
Pastor Paul Lockham further reported that the British Union Conference is in the process of moving membership records to a new 'Adventist Church Management System' (ACMS) originally developed in Brazil but adopted and standardised for international use by the General Conference. The system will allow trained local congregation clerks to directly update local membership information and hopefully improve the accuracy of membership information held. It will also improve the transfer of members, initially within the British Union Conference but, as other Unions in the European Divisions move to the system, this function will be expanded across Europe. It was noted that the data is sited on a server in Germany and that no personal data leaves the EU.
New Staff Member
Having received a grant from the British Union Conference to continue support for the evangelistic work of the Irish Mission after the Dublin City of Hope campaign, the Executive Committee approved the appointment of a new part-time Bible instructor / associate in pastoral care.
Miss Heather Haynes will be joining the Irish Mission staff on a part-time basis later in the year. Heather is no stranger to the Irish Mission. She has been a volunteer in the Lighthouse Centre in Cork for the last two years. Heather brings a great deal of life experience to her position. She initially qualified as a nurse, and worked in Chad, in West Africa. Later she studied Religion at Southern Adventist University before working as a dormitory dean at a Seventh-day Adventist academy for two years.
Heather is excited about the new transition to work with pastoral staff in the greater Dublin area. Her primary responsibilities will be to provide associate pastoral care in the Ballinacrow and Drogheda congregations alongside Pastors Serb and Samuel.
A summary of other discussions of the day
Pastor Adam Keough, has recently been appointed as designated safeguarding officer for the Irish Mission in the Republic of Ireland. He reported steady progress in ensuring that we comply to the statutory requirements to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. A facility has now been set-up to ensure that all staff and volunteers who regularly work with children will be Garda vetted and the process has begun to complete this vetting and provide further safeguarding training.
Progress is being made in updating the registration of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ireland as a charitable company limited by guarantee in the Republic of Ireland. The Church has long been registered as a charity, but some technical and legal adjustments were needed to make it possible to process revenue returns legally.
The committee recorded that the Dublin West and Newmarket companies were officially being organised as churches in the next few weeks.
Progress was reported in processing the appointment of Erin Gordon as an AVS volunteer in Cork as a Pathfinder assistant.
Pastor Dan Serb also presented a report of his work over the last quarter.
The next meeting of the Irish Mission Executive Committee will be held on 17 September 2017.