At the heart of Whitehouse is the desire to serve Christ and demonstrate His love to the church community, the parish and further afield. We are currently developing our mission strategy for mission in our parish. Not neglecting any areas of our parish or previous mission partners, we feel guided to develop and enhance our relationship with the lower Whitewell, Graymount, Parkmount, Shore Crescent and Donegal Park Avenue areas of our parish. Through increasing our presence, providing community project including a youth programme and serving the needs of the elderly, we want to bring the love and grace of Christ to these areas and to build His kingdom through co-operation with our neighbouring churches.
Open Doors supports persecuted Christians with Bibles, Christian materials, training, livelihood skills, advocacy – and in a whole host of other ways – so that they know they are not forgotten and can stand strong to serve their communities. So that they can give life.
We also seek to mobilise the church in the UK & Ireland not only to serve Christians living under religious persecution but also to learn from them what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
At Whitehouse we are one of many churches who financially support the work of CAP, below is an except from their website about the organisation.
We exist because nobody should be held hostage by debt and poverty. But the truth is that they are rife in the UK. In a society where people live behind closed doors, thousands are desperately poor. Unable to feed their children, incapable of paying to heat their homes in winter, the grip of poverty is relentless. It breaks families apart and drives many to think that suicide is the only solution.
We are passionate about releasing people in our nation from a life sentence of debt, poverty and their causes. Through our services, which are all run through local churches, we are tackling poverty head on. Our vision is to bring freedom and good news to people in every community through 1,000 CAP projects by 2021.
As part of a joint church initiative Whitehouse Presbyterian are part of the Greencastle Foodbank, one of the satellite distribution points for Newtownabbey Foodbank. Members of the church donate food to the main store depot at Carnmoney and several members are on the Tuesday evening rota based at Greencastle Methodist. Covering all the churches’ parishes, people in need receive a hamper depending on the family size, and prayer is offered as well as a listening ear to those who wish to chat over a cup of tea or coffee. Christian love in word and deed.
Whitehouse have a number of the congregation who belong to Newtownabbey Street Pastors.
Street pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about their community.
They patrol in teams of men and women, usually from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on a Friday and Saturday night, to care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets.
A street pastor is someone who is…
- A Christian and is part of a local church;
- Concerned for society and their local community;
- Willing to engage with people, whatever their perspective on life and wherever they hang out;
- Happy to work in a team and in collaboration with other agencies and projects, both statutory and voluntary.
Mission work in Whitehouse is not new, with many individuals and groups participating in the past in both local and overseas projects. In 2011 Alf McCreary, author, journalist and Elder in Whitehouse was asked to visit Uganda and Rwanda for Tearfund. Many of us in Whitehouse noted how this trip had transformed Alf and this laid the foundation for the Kirk Session Mission group as they considered taking on a church wide mission project. With God’s guiding hand we learnt more as a congregation about Rwanda and unexpectantly to us other Elders had the opportunity to visit Rwanda. Having decided on the country Alf on a return visit was tasked to look into whom we could link with under certain criteria.
After prayer and deliberation in June 2013 we entered into a partnership through Tearfund’s Connected Church project with an organisation called Moucecore in Rwanda. They have a programme known as Church and Community Mobilisation Process (CCMP) that reaches over 60 churches. The programme transforms people’s lives through Solidarity Transformation Groups (STGs) through establishing small savings groups, promoting small business ideas and community concern groups as well as encouraging reconciliation, all from a biblical perspective.
Specifically we wanted to engage and build a relationship with a church of similar size to Whitehouse to learn together how to improve community relations, develop our communities spiritually, relieve material poverty and overcome difficult situations. We established a link with Gikondo Presbyterian church in Kigali and its four outlying chapels Murambi, Burema, Karugira, and Kimisange.
Since the project began we have maintained contact with Gikondo sharing prayer requests and stories about both our congregations. In August 2015 a team of twelve had the pleasure to visit Gikondo on a skills exchange programme. During the visit stories about the personal and community benefits of the STGs were heard at all the chapels and churches. There was opportunity to experience Rwanda life first hand when we were welcomed into family homes for a day. Training in both youth work and finance was given over two days which also included a sharing of experiences and biblical perspective on peace and reconciliation from both a Northern Ireland and a Rwanda perspective.
Through all these experiences as well as the times of fellowship and prayer our relationship with Gikondo has grown and we have come back with a greater understanding of Moucecore’s work. We realize how much their work has benefitted the people both materially and spiritually, and that was from visiting only 6 churches let alone the 60 other churches that Moucecore are working in.
Please pray for
- Moucecore staff – Claudette and Laurence that God will continue to bless their work
- Gikondo Presbyterian church and the connected four chapels – for Pastor Emmanuel Muhozi, the Evangelists and the Elders as they bring the Good News of Jesus to the congregations and communities in both a spiritual and practical way.
- Whitehouse as they bring home learning points that could benefit our congregation and local community.