Reaching out together
By Peter Grier
(From the January - March 2017 issue of VOX.)
NAME THE YEAR…
Do you remember the first mobile phone? Were you one of the first students in the new Dublin IT? Were you groovin’ to “Grease” being played over the new RTE2 station, or playing “Space Invaders”?! Or perhaps, on a more sombre note, there are memories of The Troubles. And many of you weren’t even born yet!
1978 was the year when all of the evangelical churches in Cork came together to reach out, using the (now deceased) cinema on North Main Street for films with short Gospel talks after them, among other things. A few projects since then have united some of the churches to reach out with visits of the OM ships and St. Patrick’s Day outreach but not on the same scale.
2017 - 39 years later, many people in the churches in Cork are intent on putting aside differences and partnering together once more in a city-wide mission, led by the example of the Christian Unions. We’re excited because the very same week some of us were chatting and praying about this idea, elsewhere in the city, believers we’d not yet met felt God leading them to start a prayer room (“Citygates”) that would be open 24/7 to pray for the city. Together we’re going forward!
“‘Uncover Cork’ is one of the best things to happen in my years in Cork - Christians coming together to make the way clear for people to be reconciled to God. - Rev. John Faris, Presbyterian chaplain at UCC
WHAT IS IT?
Uncover Cork is a three-part mission initiative shaped around ten days of events in March 2017. One student put it simply: “It’s that natural, organic response to an all-consuming, lovely belief in a being so amazing and awesome that you find yourself telling everyone you can in whatever way you can because knowing Him is just better than everything else together.” - Miryam Lightbody, UCC psychology student
Uncover Cork is not just an events week. We believe we’re called to be living out our lives in very real ways, right now. We’ll be helping Christians reach out to unique parts of Cork life that perhaps wouldn’t have been as easy to engage with by themselves or as an individual church. There’s a “Christians in Sport” group, “Christians in the Arts” project, prayer group for the Muslim world, groups reaching the more intellectual communities in the city, the city’s International Café and much more.
A WEEK OF EVENTS
Ten days of high profile events will happen across the city, to feed into those pre-existing relationships and also to give those who don’t have Christian friends a chance to come along and meet the beauty of His church community in action and hear something of the good news of Jesus.
From art spaces and dramatic performances of John’s Gospel, through to persuasive evangelistic café talks from John Lennox and local Irish thought leaders, a debate with William Lane-Craig and community events like a ceilidh, teen night and more – Uncover Cork will have something for everyone.
We’ll also be equipping believers to open up John’s eyewitness account of Jesus’ life one-to-one with their friends and colleagues, because God uncovers Himself in the person of Jesus by the power of the Spirit as He walks off the pages of the Scriptures. We’ve seen it across the universities and colleges of Ireland and Europe as many have come to know Him through this in recent years.
The events will only be the first chance people will have to engage with the good news of Jesus. For those still sceptical, we will continue to run events throughout the year. For those wanting to hear more, several churches are running follow-up courses. And for whom the message rings true, Easter services will gladly welcome in new brothers and sisters.
Peter leads the Munster and Connacht team of Christian Unions Ireland (formerly IFES Ireland) and in his spare time can be found with the Cork Islamic community and blogging about a theology of travel at www.aljabr7.wordpress.com.