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Edgehill & CITI integrative seminar
Added on Tuesday 6th June 2017

staff and students

(Staff & students at Edgehill)

On 15–16 May 2017, the staff and students of CITI joined with their Methodist counterparts at Edgehill Theological College, Belfast for a combined “Integrative Seminar”. It was great to meet, worship and spend time with those training for ministry in the Methodist church – to grow friendships and learn from one another. Taking its cue from the prophet Jeremiah’s letter to those living in exile (Jer 29:7), the theme for this year was “Seeking the Welfare of the City: The Challenges of Urban Ministry”.

tuesday panel speaker

(Tuesday’s panel speakers)

Over the course of two days we heard from a variety of speakers on the challenges which face Christian ministry in Belfast in the 21st century: economic, social, political and spiritual. Yet among the challenges lay opportunities to reach out and ‘incarnate’ the love of God. I was particularly struck by Glenn Jordan, the former director of the Skainos Project, who reflected on Isaiah’s message to the returning exiles from Babylon to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. He urged us to exercise a similar prophetic imagination. We should be people who know our past to speak into the present and so cast a vision for others of what the future might hold.

Glenn Jordan

(Glenn Jordan’s presentation)

In addition to the invited speakers, time and space was given to have a ‘personal encounter’ with the city of Belfast. The ‘Passion Walk’ incorporated a retelling of the story of Christ’s passion while we walked through the hustle and bustle of city centre streets and then beyond out to the Titanic Quarter. As we reached the end of the Quay and had to turn around to look back to the city itself the crucifixion scene was recounted. Inhabiting this moment, hearing again of how Jesus was taken outside the city walls of Jerusalem to where his love ran red, was both profound and poignant.

passion walk

(Derek, David, Johnny and Jonathan on the Passion Walk)

Belfast has such a chequered history and legacy, from the proud achievements of its shipbuilding past through to the gritty reality of urban poverty evident in the inner city. In the end, the Seminar has left me with both a question and the foundation of an answer. ‘How might the presence of the crucified and risen Jesus be brought to such a city?’ Ultimately, it is about sharing the hope we have within because of the love that first found us. To seek the welfare of the city means to display love–in–action, even if that means that we too will be cast away outside the city walls.

By Jonathan Brown, CITI student.

 

captain johnny        lucy  

(Captain Johnny)                             (Lucy and Speaker 1)

chapel

(Edgehill Chapel)