BICCI Executive comprises Rev Frances Rutledge (Chairman), Mary Braithwaite, Trevor Magee, David McClarin, Helen Sloan and Gwen Patterson, with Irene Armstrong as co-opted note taker.
The executive met on 2 March 2015, 1 June, 14 September, 18 February 2016 and 4 April. The main topics of discussion have been:-
• Disability Inclusion Group
• Seniors Support Group
• Flagship Project
• Safe Zone
• Kilcooley Neighbourhood Partnership
• Community Support Panel
BICCI Disability Inclusion Group
This group is has been active in raising awareness and holding seminars to address the need for inclusion of all peoples in churches – with particular emphasis on those with learning disability, those with autism and the churches response to the mental health issues of older people.
In March, about 60 people attended a seminar entitled “Let me In” aimed at the inclusion of all people in church
services with particular emphasis on those with learning disability.. Feed-back was good and indicated an interest
in learning more about managing issues relating to those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD’s).
Ards and North Down Council made an award of £370 towards the cost of a follow up seminar focusing on
ASD’s.. It was held in Kings Church, on Saturday morning 14
th November. The main speaker was Shirelle
Stewart from the National Autistic Society (N.I.)
It looked at ASDs and how we in our churches can get better at including people who are living with these
conditions and gave guidance about managing behaviours and becoming better at welcoming people who often
feel left out.
Individual churches in Bangor are also encouraging disability inclusion in a variety of ways. In October a seminar
in the series entitled “Life is a roller coaster – even for Christians’ was held in West Church. This addressed the
Church’s response to the mental health issues of older people specifically depression and dementia.
Ministries to Seniors Group
The Executive met with this group in July 2015. It aims to support churches working to improve provision and ministry to their senior members and to older people in the wider community. They held a conference in April 2016 facilitated by “Pilgrim’s Friends”
Flagship Centre Project
The Executive met with Rev Brian Anderson in July. The aim of this project is to bring people to faith through activities in the Flagship Centre and through practical help and prayer. BICCI has no current involvement in this project.
Safe Zone is a group of volunteers who minister on the streets of Bangor at weekends. It is now working out of the new North Down YMCA premises in High Street, and still needs volunteers.
Kilcooley Neighbourhood Partnership
Derek Cummings, who represented BICCI on the KNP has been replaced by Alan Black who is interested in education issues.
Community support panel
The aim of the Community Support Panel is to provide an opportunity for churches to support local communities, in particular those who are the most disadvantaged and marginalised in Bangor. The group has concentrated resources in Breezemount estate in Conlig. The experience could be shared with other communities but the Group has had difficulty retaining members and BICCI needs to examine its role and future.
Christmas day lunch
Bangor Parish hosted the Christmas Day lunch in 2015 and will do it again in 2016.
Web site – www.churchworksnorthdown.com
The web site can now be used to post events and to engage in “conversations” and it is hoped that it could be developed more as a magazine of stories and achievements. BICCI is currently examining the feasibility of engaging someone to achieve greater use of the web.
It did not prove possible to hold a conference in 2015. No decision has yet been made about a conference theme for 2016.
Storehouse North Down
Storehouse continues to support people in need. New innovations this year include a “Cook It” programme and a “Lunch Club”. Before Christmas around 400 hampers, each including a £10 meat voucher, were delivered.
Since the last AGM, Derek Cummings resigned as a member of BICCI Executive and as a Trustee.
Mary Braithwaite and Irene Armstrong have been proposed and seconded as trustees taking the total number of trustees to seven.