Today saw the launch of the Belfast City Chaplaincy Initiative at City Hall, introduced by Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson alongside Andrew Irvine, Belfast City Centre Manager.
Everyday up to 100,000 people work, visit or live in the city centre area, and each year, Belfast city centre is likely to host approximately eight million tourists.
In a city were fewer people are attending church and fewer churches have full-time ministers there has never been a more important time for the establishing of a Belfast City Centre Chaplaincy.
The Belfast City Centre Chaplaincy initiative has been birthed by a number of organisations coming together to create a partnership to provide frontline services and establish a networking hub for ministries operating in the city centre area. Belfast Central Mission, Street Pastors and Urban Soul Café are among the primary partners in this initiative.
The mission of The Belfast City Chaplaincy is: ‘To serve every person who is in the city centre in a manner that demonstrates the love of God. To show compassion; share the Good News of the Christian gospel, and to empower other Christians to impact Belfast city centre for good’.
Speaking at the event Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson said: “It is always encouraging when voluntary organisations come together for the greater good of the city.
“Today we are witnessing the launch of an initiative to promote greater cooperation between existing organisations already doing a great job and the birthing of a new exciting city centre initiative.
“I am pleased to be in a position to host today’s event and endorse what is being planned. I am optimistic that many good things will come out of the Belfast City Centre Chaplaincy as it works in our city for years to come, and encourage all who trade in our city to support this initiative”.
Mr Andrew Irvine, Belfast City Manager and volunteer with Street Pastors said “We are delighted to be part of this very important and much needed initiative.
“Like any community Belfast’s population of employers, employees, shoppers, visitors and residents carry with them their hopes, aspirations, fears and concerns Our hope is that the Belfast City Centre Chaplaincy will be a resource used by anyone seeking pastoral support, advice and encouragement.
“We also envisage the Belfast City Centre Chaplaincy providing a networking resource to existing Christian groups currently ministering in the city centre area”.
Drawing on the experience of partner organisations working in Belfast and the shared knowledge of similar chaplaincies across the United Kingdom Belfast City Centre Chaplaincy will seek to provide pastoral support to the city centre population.
· For the employer there will be a facility that they can turn to whenever they identify a member of staff in need of pastoral support.
· For the employee there will be a listening ear, someone to share concerns, hurts and worries.
· For the visitor there will be a point of contact and support should they need help.
· For existing ministries the Chaplaincy will provide a point of contact and a networking hub.
· For established churches and emerging congregations the Chaplaincy will be a source of information supplementing existing activities and ministries.
Belfast City Chaplaincy will have training staff on the ground in the city centre providing support, care and advice.
For further information contact Andrew Irvine, Belfast City Centre Manager on 028 9024 2111 or Rev Richard Johnston 028 9024 1917.