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  • CHRISTIAN VOICES TOGETHER CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

    "Christian Voices Together Conference a beacon of hope for our community"

    "The conference today is a significant beacon of hope for our community. Christianity in practice makes a difference to peoples' lives. We hope to clearly identify what needs to be done in the Mullingar area "Rev Alastair Graham said after the event.

    120 people attended the conference with 97 people participating in the working groups creating positive proposals for the community to action.

    The Conference was facilitated by Martin Kennedy an experienced freelance trainer and facilitator who managed to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable with sharing ideas and praying together as Christians.

    Fr John Nally welcomed everyone to the conference and shared his hope for a very successful day.

    Miriam Blennerhasset International Singer and member of the community opened the conference with a wonderful rendition of Amazing Grace setting a beautiful and inspiring tone for the day

    Pastor Arun Kamur of the Christian Fellowship Church offered prayer and a Persian fable "The Mango Tree"as well as some background to the outcomes of the initial meeting of Christian Voices Together under six headings of CHRIST.

    C - Community what Christians can do to play a bigger role in their community

    H - Help - what supports we can put in place to help each other

    R - Receive - what are the obstacles that are in the way of giving and receiving that help and how can we remove them.

    I Individual - In Society today - how we as individuals can play our part.

    S - Support for the Local Economy and local Business - In turn how local Business can support the community

    T - Team how we can all work together in a practical way.

    An overview was given of the day and "A story of our time" was presented. A very brave member of the community Rosemary spoke about how recession had affected her & her family and he mental health. Rosemary spoke with huge honesty about how hard it was to accept adjustments that had to be made in order for her to continue to work in a very stressful working environment - which finally came to an end when she was made redundant last July. It was an end of one chapter but it was also an end of so many stresses that she was able to take the time and step back and reflect on how going forward she could help her family in other ways and allow her build her strength to face the future with ambition and determination. Rosemary's story touched us all we could all recognise a little bit of ourselves in what she had to say but her story spoke volumes in how we could help ourselves and each other but only if we can openly share and ask for help.

    Prayers and thoughts were presented by Rev. Alastair Graham and Graham and Rev. Tom Gilroy this was a time for quiet reflection. There was a wonderful sense of togetherness during this time.

    As the conference was split into small groups a great buzz of excitement was heard around the room as people eagerly put forward ideas and developed them for the open forum - 30 minutes flew by as young and old pooled their experiences ideas enthusiasm to create a better community and show how Christians could be a part of the solution to Irelands difficulties.

    Prayer and action was the format for the day and this indeed was achieved with great balance with ideas being brought to the forum many of which overlapped and a common theme developed - People wanted a place to meet to share pool resources and skills have a needs matching requirement service - "Time Rich and Money Poor" was one of the quotes put forward - but all with a great need to be doing something valuable with their time and enriching each other's lives with by doing simple "Christian Acts"in the home, the workplace and the community - helping take the some of stress out of todays' stressful world. The importance of supporting existing volunteer agencies in their work was highlighted as opposed to setting up a new one doing the same thing with particular reference being placed on supporting St Vincent de Paul who do great work at the heart of the community.

    The proposals were categorised and people volunteered to join working groups to work on the feasibility of those ideas and how to action them as soon as possible for the greatest benefit.

    Rev Alastair Graham thanked all who were involved in making the conference such a success but the greatest thanks has to go to the people who attended the conference and took part so wholeheartedly. A truly ecumenical gathering of Christians with a common goal. Caring about their neighbours and their community.

    Supported by the Christian Churches in the Mullingar Area