Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Bringing the love of Christ
even into the darkest places

Pointing the way forward ... a walk through the countryside at High Leigh (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

The annual conference of Us (formerly USPG) came to an end at High Leigh at lunchtime today [25 June 2014] with a celebration of the Eucharist. Bishop Jacob Ayeebo from Ghana, one of the retiring trustees, presided and the preacher was the Chief Executive of Us, Ms Janette O’Neill.

Janette spoke movingly as she related the story of Christ’s healing of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15: 21-28) with the plight of women who are the victims if gender-based violence, including the 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria, the woman stoned to death on the steps of a courthouse in Pakistan, teenage girls raped and hanged in India and women who are the victims of domestic violence in Zambia.

She spoke of the work of Us in challenging gender-based violence and bringing the love and light of Christ even into the darkest places.

Earlier in the morning we talked about fundraising, legacies and recruiting volunteers as part of carrying the vision of Us forward in the coming years and generations.

The directors of Us Ireland and Us Northern Ireland who are here also met briefly during the morning session to discuss our vision for future plans and projects.

The Revd Tim Harford, the newly-appointed Director of Fundraising and Communications, spoke about recruiting, training and enabling volunteers and the need for legacies,

.One new initiative is the Bray Circle, which replaces the 300 + Club, set up to mark the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1701. This new initiative invites two levels of membership, with members pledging £300 or more a year, and patrons giving £1,200 a year or more.

Tim and Carrie Myers, the Volunteering Manager, emphasised the need for invitations to churches and parishes to talk about the work of Us.

Looking up at High Leigh (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

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