St Paul's Parish Church, Lisburn, was the venue for the Commissioning of Ronnie Briggs as Church Mission Society Ireland (CMSI) Mission Director on Tuesday December 7.
Despite the snow and -8C conditions outside, a sizeable group of members, supporters, local clergy and family joined together in the warmth of the church for a significant evening as they looked to the future of CMSI.
The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Alan Harper and the Rt Rev Jeremiah Taama, Bishop of Kajiado Diocese, Kenya, assisted the rector of St Paul’s, the Rev James Carson in bringing the CMSI supporters together for a special time of worship, prayer and an Act of Commissioning. Partnership was a major theme throughout the evening.
Archbishop Harper called Christians all over Ireland to work together in mission. He said: “We’re in it together!” and commented that mission agencies are a ‘vital part’ of the Church – demonstrating best practice methods and offering support to mission efforts.
Bishop Taama challenged the congregation on their understanding of mission, saying: “Sometimes our view is narrow. Mission is more than money, mission is more than the CMS Ireland offices, mission is more than Mission Partners – it is about sharing, coming together – in partnership.”
Mr Briggs addressed the congregation of familiar faces as the new Mission Director for the first time – and urged them to stand with the Society through this next chapter. He called on them to ‘own’ the society and feel that they have a part to play in mission.
Prior to his appointment, Mr Briggs was for a time part of CMSI’s staff team, but for much of his 30 years with the organisation he and his wife Maggie have served as mission partners, working alongside the Church in Kajiado Diocese, Kenya. A number of Connor parishes have links with Kajiado Diocese, and Bishop Alan visited with a small team in summer 2009.