It is now commonplace to talk about ‘lifelong learning’ and that fairly sums up our attitude to Christian discipleship. Because so many people, even in a so-called ‘Christian society’ have mixed up ideas about who God is and what Christianity is, we can’t assume that people really understand what they are accepting or rejecting. And because Christian faith is essentially about becoming the human beings that God has designed us to be, so that we relate properly to Him, to one another and to the world, it really is a lifelong learning process. Having said that, there are two false notions that need to be dismissed: first, that you can become a mature Christian simply by living a long time (especially if you are a church attender); second, that until you have been a Christian a long time you can’t be considered mature. Both of these are wrong for much the same reason – coming to faith and growing in faith depends on the work of the Holy Spirit and on the work you put into collaborating with the Spirit, according to God’s means, towards Christian character. God expects every Christian to become ‘mature in Christ’ (Ephesians 4:11-16), to develop the Christ-like character summed up in ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22), and to live the virtuous life of faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). It is important that we introduce people to all of this with clarity and in community.
The ‘formal’ learning aspects take place in our Cells, in our Celebrations and in the various courses that we host or recommend from time to time. Please go to ‘Connect’ to find out more.
Minister/ Teaching Elder: Rev. Alan Boal
Alan has been Minister of Abbey since 1998. Following a career in catering and theological training in Belfast, he moved with his family (Ruth, Sam and Kirsten) to Dublin. Alan’s tenure has witnessed considerable social changes in and around the congregation as Ireland has passed through the Celtic Tiger years and now wrestles with the challenges of economic crises. Alan’s experience working in multi-cultural settings has stood him in good stead for the diversity of congregation and city life.
Clerk of Session: David Colvin
David is currently our Clerk of Session – the ruling body of a Presbyterian congregation. The members of Session are all ordained Elders who have been elected by the voting members of the congregation and ordained by the Presbytery to this special office. These Elders then periodically vote one of their members to act as Clerk (similar to ‘Secretary’). Our Session compromises six males and three females in active service with other Elders now retired from active service (Elders are ordained for life). David is a Dublin man born and bred, a supporter of Bohemians FC and has been a member of Abbey since his marriage to Pat. The combination of Abbey, children and grandchildren keeps them fully occupied.
Secretary of Committee: Mark Gorman
Hi! I’ve been a part of the Abbey community for three to four years. I grew up going to a church in the suburbs but joined Abbey when I moved into the city centre. I love to read, play sports (I play hockey with Clontarf Hockey Club) and to drink coffee. Indeed if you come to the LovinSpoon (a great coffee shop near the church building) on a Saturday morning you’ll likely find me there! I work as a Trainee Solicitor in Phibsboro with Cormac O Ceallaigh & Co. Solicitors. I also have an interest in taxation and am studying to qualify as a Chartered Tax Adviser. I love my work as it gives me a chance to seek reconciliation for all people which is at the heart of the good news.
I live near the church and am growing in appreciation for the north inner city and long to see my friends and neighbours hear the incredible news that God in Jesus has changed everything and that there is hope for human flourishing! My role with Abbey involves helping to organise our Committee look after the practical matters of being a church and also looking out for the needs of the people in our community and neighbourhood.
Treasurer: David Shaw
David’s family have had a long connection with Abbey; his father, Euart, was one of our Elders and David has continued to offer his talents to help manage our financial affairs. As legislation changes and accountancy practices become increasingly involved, it is no small matter to serve in this way, but David does it with skill and grace and we are grateful to him for this.
WFO Secretary: William Smith
William is one of our newest Elders, but his family again have a long connection with Abbey; a connection that is continuing with his own children. Whilst his practical skills have helped maintain our buildings in the past, it is his role as Weekly Freewill Offering Secretary that now comes to the fore. If you want to join the scheme to give regularly and tax-efficiently to our work, then William is the man to see.
Organist: Thomas Hanley
Thomas was born on 15th August 1980 to parents, Ann and Liam Hanley, began learning piano at age 5 and now teaches and plays music as a career. He was appointed organist of Abbey Presbyterian Church in March 2001, having studied organ under Professor Gerard Gillen, graduating with a B.A. Mus. from National University of Ireland, Maynooth. When not playing organ for Abbey, Thomas teaches piano from his house in Bailieborough, Co. Cavan. He also runs and accompanies a multitude of choirs around Cavan, as well as playing as Organist/Pianist in St. Anne’s Church, Bailieborough. He is also a (not so secret) ‘Trekkie’ and aspiring food critic – probably in that order!
OAKs Co-ordinator: Ruth Boal
Ruth brings a wealth of experience to the role of OAKs Co-ordinator. She has worked professionally with children for nearly twenty-five years; managing a playgroup in Belfast and now running her own child-minding provision in Dublin. She has spent most of her life in and around children’s ministry and has developed the OAKs programme in response to the changing demography and needs of our families. Ruth is committed to the creative exploration of faith in and from children in line with our overall vision and mission.
Kirk Session Elders:
Lucy Bell, Alan Boal, David Colvin, Neill Fitzell, Jennifer Fulton, Robert Poynton, Olivia Smith, William Smith, Albert Stuart, Jo van der Flier.
Robert Poynton, David Shaw, Albert Stuart, Jo van der Flier
Abbey Day Nursery Supervisor:
Abbey Day Nursery is now our longest running outreach project and its continuity has been down to our supervisor, Deirdre Moore and our link Elder, Jennifer Fulton. Together they have established a project that is highly respected in the community and in professional childcare circles. Not only do we provide quality childcare and family support, we also train and develop staff, many of whom have gone on to secure significant positions in the childcare sector. Deirdre is herself highly qualified in the field and is committed to the development of both children and staff in her care. In a recent affiliation with the organisation, One Family, additional opportunities for parent and staff training have become available and we look forward to future collaborations in this regard. For more information about the nursery and how to apply please contact the Nursery directly on: (01) 8742810.
Principal Lindsay Road National School:
Sheila took up the post of Principal in September 2011 following the retirement of our long-serving teacher/principal, Jenifer Fulton (who remains one of our Elders). As teaching-principal she is responsible for the day to day running of the school, which includes some 85pupils and 6 staff. She is a member of our neighbouring Trinity Network Church, where she co-ordinates prayer ministry. Having recently celebrated the School’s centenary, we look forward to its continued success and development. Sheila qualified from UCD with an Honours Degree in English & History before pursuing her teaching qualifications. She has taken a particular interest in Special Education and is a strong advocate of tailoring education to the needs of the child. In addition to her considerable experience as a teacher Sheila also brings an international dimension to the job, having taught in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. For more information about the school and how to apply please contact the school secretary directly: (01) 8600247.