“The Whole Gospel, for the Whole Person, with the Whole Church, in the Whole World”
The Kirk Session adopted this Vision Statement in 1999 in its first strategic plan. These core values are deeply ingrained in the DNA of the congregation and many of them can be traced back to the ministry in previous generations. They include:
The Whole Gospel
Fisherwick is unashamedly evangelical and believes that each person needs to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through His work on the Cross. Fisherwick’s second minister, Henry Williamson, was renowned as an evangelist and was in the heart of the work of the 1859 revival as it touched Belfast. His successor, Charles Davey, was described by a contemporary as having a “warm evangelical heart”.
The whole Gospel is not about a narrow “salvation” which ignores the need for society, politics, economics, culture and social relationships to be redeemed. The ministry of David Lapsley, in particular, emphasised the “Kingdom” aspect of the Gospel – though it was and is intrinsic to the other ministries before and since.
The whole Gospel includes doing “all the things that I commanded you to do”. This healing, the casting out of demons and the bringing of Christ’s peace to individuals and scoieties, the preaching of good news to the poor – all these are as much a part of the Gospel as preaching salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ. This “whole” Gospel is central to the work of Prayer Ministry and to methods of “servant” evangelism which the congregation holds precious.
The Whole Person
Fisherwick holds that it is the person Jesus came to save, not simply the soul. We are created whole beings, Body, Mind and Spirit. This is practically demonstrated in how Fisherwick welcomes, accepts and listens. How we provide a wide range of recreational and social programmes as well as spiritual. How Prayer and Healing Ministry and Lifeline Counselling Centre have grown and are an integral part of Fisherwick even extending beyond the boundaries of the Church itself into the wider community.
The Whole Church
Fisherwick has sought for over forty years to build strong links with all other local fellowships. This ministry being pioneered at great personal cost by Dr Jack Withers. For most of that time this has been developed through Ecumenical cooperation, joint worship, joint Alpha, multi-church engagement with Nightreach and SOS Bus and multi-church involvement in the Lifeline Counselling team. These covenantal relationships have been with churches such as St Brigid’s (Roman Catholic), St Thomas (Church of Ireland) and Lisburn Road (Methodist) Churches.
In addition to this there are many strong relationships that have been formed with individual ministers and those in ministry from not only the wider Presbyterian Church, but from the wider Christian denominations and ministries.
Fisherwick is committed to developing meaningful relationships and active cooperation in sharing the Gospel. Our congregation is made up of a wide range of people from many different denominational backgrounds which, along with a “moving” congregation (students who worship at Fisherwick while at University), creates a varied community. Part of the vision of Fisherwick is to disciple, equip and train the whole congregation which will include people who may never serve in Fisherwick but are released to the wider church.
The Whole World
Dr Morgan, the first minister of Fisherwick, was also the first convenor of Foreign mission. The first missionaries from the recently formed General Assembly in 1840 went from Fisherwick and the roll of serving missionaries down the years is a lengthy one. Fisherwick is committed to mission at home and overseas and this commitment is presently seen in our active involvement in the World Development Appeal, Christian Aid, PCI Missions through its United Appeal and the work of Presbyterian Women’s Fisherwick Branches.
Our link with the Vellore Diocese of the Church of South India has Fisherwick involved in school building programmes for Dalits, training nurses and midwives for Dalits and a programme of personal and spiritual development for the pastors and leaders of the church. In addition, Fisherwick regularily sends Youth, Young Adult and Adult teams to such places as India, South Africa and Romania and supports through the Waddell Trust members travelling on Mission overseas. The commitment to mission flows through the veins of Fisherwick.
The Kirk Session is committed to developing and providing a variety of relevant programmes, worship and prayer opportunities, organisations and events to enhance and incorporate the above vision into all aspects of Fisherwick’s ministry..