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A fond farewell and a new start 16th September, 2019

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Peter Hilton, TLM NI’s Church and School Engagement Officer, is moving on to new pastures. We are sad to see him go but we are so grateful to him for the strong relationships he has built between TLM NI and church leaders, church groups, schools and youth groups.

Peter has been instrumental in encouraging greater ownership of our God-given mission to love and include the outcast and marginalised. Here, Peter answers a few questions about his time with TLM NI and his future plans

How long have you been working for TLM NI and what prompted you to apply for the job?

I’ve been involved since 2007, starting off in a part-time role focused on engaging young people with the work of TLM. In 2015, I began working full-time as the Church and School Engagement Officer. I’ve always felt called to speak up for and reach out to those on the edge of society, and this role offered me the opportunity to do just that.

The work of The Leprosy Mission really appeals to my sense that, as a Christian, I need to be involved in challenging injustice and acting with compassion.

Can you tell us a particular highlight of your time with TLM NI?

I loved visiting India and Nepal. It is a special privilege to sit with leprosy patients in hospital wards and hear their story. Getting the opportunity to visit outreach clinics and self-help groups and, moreover, meet with families who have benefitted from TLM’s work through medical treatment, education and housing afforded me the chance to see first-hand the complete transformation in the lives of leprosy-affected people which we strive to bring about at TLM.

Give thanks for our many wonderful supporters, like you, and our staff in NI and around the world whose faithfulness to God brings light into some of the darkest places. Pray too for Peter Hilton in his new church leadership position and for Rebecca Parnell as she joins the TLM NI team.

What will you miss most about this job?

The people! Be it the small, close-knit staff team, the amazing volunteer speaker team, or the supporters in the different churches I’ve visited over the years, I’ve been blessed to be a part of the big Christian network of people which make up TLM NI.

What are you going on to do now and what are you looking forward to?

I’m going to be a Church of Ireland minister! I’ll be serving as a curate at St Mark’s, Newtownards. I’m really looking forward to ordained ministry and the call to be a pastor to God’s people and bear faithful witness to the Gospel. While I am leaving TLM with a heavy heart, I’m excited to be starting out on this new chapter in my walk of faith.

A new start

Although we are sad to see Peter leave, we are delighted to welcome Rebecca Parnell as our new Church Partnerships Officer. We have asked Rebecca a few questions about her background and her hopes for the future

My background:

My first proper job was in a jewellers in Belfast. I worked there part-time while studying at Belfast Bible College and then full-time after I finished my degree. From my studies I have developed a love for mission and caring for people but I didn’t know how or where God would lead me to fulfil that.

I now know that God was preparing me – teaching me skills, patience and the need to depend on him, and his timing.

How I came to apply for the role:

A few months ago, I felt God telling me it was time to change my job to one where I would be working to serve him and help those in need. I honestly didn’t know where to start. I have always been aware of the amazing work The Leprosy Mission carries out through hearing talks in church, but it had never occurred to me to look for employment with them. I prayed that the right opportunity would present itself, and the next day I noticed the advertisement for this position. It was everything I felt God wanting me to do.

What I’m looking forward to:

Apart from being in the role itself and contributing towards this amazing work, I am looking forward to speaking in churches. I can’t wait to share about the Mission, the work we are doing and being able to build relationships. I would describe myself as a people person, so being able to chat, share and pray with people from all different denominations is an incredible opportunity and an answer to prayer.


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