Photo by Sadie Lyda
In a country with few evangelical believers, a time together strengthens their shared vision
Knowing Calvary Cork, Ireland’s 11:15 a.m. Sunday service was early by Irish standards, Pastor Mike Neglia had expected his 9 a.m. prayer service to be sparsely attended. He recalled, “I started off in a side room with a few chairs and began my devotion as people started trickling in. Before long, I had to stop in the middle of my message to move to the main sanctuary. For once, I was thrilled to be interrupted, because people wanted to pray!”
In September 2011, the second annual Calvary Chapel Ireland Conference was held in Avoca, Ireland. A joint effort of Calvary Chapel pastors in Ireland, the weekend retreat was intended to encourage and inform CC congregations and likeminded Irish believers. “We hope this conference can be a place for people to be affirmed in their faith and celebrate Jesus with others,” said Mike.
CC Pastor Kevin Fitzgerald of CrossPoint Community Church in Dublin, Ireland, remembers the power of shared vision at his first pastors’ conference in the U.S. After a decade of church-planting in Ireland, he feels the need for uniting is greater among Ireland’s evangelical minority. He explained, “The Republic of Ireland is over 98 percent culturally Catholic. The remaining two percent includes non-Christian religions, cults, and a few evangelical Christians. Out of those, how many are receiving solid, biblical teaching?” For the 120 attendees of the 2011 event, the weekend was a once-a-year experience of corporate worship that many American Christians enjoy every Sunday. Mike commented, “We all have pretty small congregations by American standards, so fellowship can be scarce.” Though united with believers of varying denominations, Mike said there is something special about gathering the CC family and those who share its values, such as verse-by-verse teaching and exercising spiritual gifts.
You can find the complete article in the Spring 2012 issue of Calvary Chapel Magazine. To subscribe click here.