Faith Matters

Fr Martin Magill and Rev Steve Stockman offer birthday refugee support

WELCOMING THE STRANGER: Fr Martin Magill and Rev Steve Stockman don't want 60th birthday presents in the coming weeks, instead encouraging donations for refugee support group Embrace NI. Pictured, left to right, are committee member Irene Jovaras, Fr Magill, Embrace NI chair Scott Boldt, Rev Stockman and Malini Colville, Embrace NI vice-chair. Picture by Bernie Brown

CATHOLIC priest Fr Martin Magill and Presbyterian minister the Rev Steve Stockman are familiar figures in the Faith matters pages and beyond, not least for their pioneering work with the 4 Corners Festival.

The duo have much in common, including birthdays that fall within days of each other - a particularly auspicious occasion this year, with both men celebrating their landmark 60th birthdays in the coming days (Fr Magill on September 13, Rev Stockman on October 10).

"We have often found it so interesting that, though not meeting until we were almost 50, our birthdays are so close together," says Rev Stockman.

"We have had an amazing decade working together and both feel that God has really blessed us in our friendship, our lives and vocations.

"We also feel that they are blessed enough with things. So, instead of gifts to celebrate our 60th birthdays we would love it if people would give a donation to Embrace NI."

They have chosen Embrace NI because "it is interdenominational and helps us fulfil a clear Biblical mandate to take care of the refugee".

"Watching the news footage from Afghanistan reminds us that all over the world people are fleeing terrible wars, oppression and poverty to find a better, safer life for their family," says Rev Stockman.

"We are of course aware that Jesus was a refugee too. We see the work Embrace does, not only in its emergency response to refugees but also their role of educating and resourcing the church, as being so crucial.

"We therefore encourage you, if you have benefited in any way from our individual ministries or our work together to make a contribution to Embrace NI."

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