It’s been eight months since I re-joined the Evangelical Alliance to take up the combined roles of team administrator in Northern Ireland and Both Lives research and communications assistant. I say ‘re-joined’ because I served the team previously as a graduate research assistant from 2019–20). When the opportunity arose to serve God alongside this incredible team again, I jumped at the chance!

Meet the team 

We are based in Belfast and our team consists of David Smyth, head of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, Danielle McElhinney, our public policy officer, myself, and our newest team member Laura Coey, our church engagement co-ordinator. Dawn McAvoy, Both Lives UK lead is also based in the Belfast office. 



Here is a snapshot of what we got up to in 2023

1 Changes to the team 

In June, we said a bittersweet farewell to Donna Jennings, our church and mission co-ordinator who left to begin her PhD studies. In August, Dawn took up a new role, devoting all her time to Both Lives as the new UK lead. This is when I re-joined the team in my new dual roles! Then in November, Laura joined our team as church engagement co-ordinator. Here’s what Laura had to say about joining the team: 

I feel really blessed to be appointed in this role; my desire is to help equip church leaders with tools and resources to help make Jesus known. I look forward to building up strong, lasting relationships with church leaders and partnering with them to serve and glorify God.”

2 Trip to Washington 

In January, David, Dawn and Danielle jetted off to Washington DC to participate in meetings, contribute to an international panel discussion at Stand for Life and attend the first March for Life, post the overturning of Roe v Wade. Following the march, Dawn said, I can’t even describe how amazing it was. Thousands and thousands of people, all ages, celebrating life. The trip provided a wonderful opportunity to share about Both Lives and our revolutionary pro- both approach that values the woman and unborn baby, in every pregnancy.” 

3 Coalition of Christian Voices Against Poverty NI

Over the past 18 months, we have collaborated with various Christian church leaders and faith organisations and charities to address the impact of poverty on local communities. This has led to us forming the Coalition of Christian Voices against Poverty and together we have engaged with political representatives, expressed concerns to the NI secretary of state, and supported the Cliff Edge Coalition Stormont event (in September 2022). We are challenging Christians across Northern Ireland to think beyond food banks and consider how they might speak up about the injustice of poverty and call for political and social changes that will transform the outlook for people living in hardship.

4 Good Friday Agreement 25 years on 

10 April 2023 marked 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. We see peacebuilding as an integral part of our witness and discipleship and have been working for many years to see peace and stability in Northern Ireland. We have co-hosted a series of Welcome to the Table’ events, designed to foster conversation and understanding of different perspectives and explore the role that the church can play in promoting peacebuilding in our society. This work will continue throughout 2024

5 Changes to Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Northern Ireland 

In response to changes being made to RSE in Northern Ireland, we held in-person events in Dungannon, Portstewart, Belfast and Enniskillen, attended by around 1,000 people! These events focused on the changes being made to RSE and informed people on how they could respond to the consultation in a helpful and meaningful way. We distributed hundreds of copies of our resource Time to Talk which was created to help parents and carers have better conversations on the topic with their children and school. 

6 Meetings with the secretary and shadow secretary for NI 

In October, David and Danielle met with both Steve Baker, Minister of State for Northern Ireland and Fleur Anderson, Shadow Minister of State for Northern Ireland. We raised concerns about the lack of a functioning executive and new legislation on the legacy of the Troubles which was passed in Westminster among other things. 

What’s our focus for 2024?

We launched our Good News People research which was received widely across the church and wider society. It is full of encouragement and challenges and will form the basis of most of our church engagement in 2024 and beyond.

In 2023, the launch of Reimagine caught the attention of our members, friends and some political leaders. It called on Christians in Northern Ireland to have a hopeful imagination for the people and place where we live, even amidst political crises and bad news on our screens. In 2024, we will gather good news stories from Christians who will share their dreams for the people and issues they care about. Through the Reimagine stories we want to inspire hope in conversations about Northern Ireland. More than 100 individuals joined us as individual members in 2023, along with new churches and Christian charities. We love connecting with, equipping, and serving our members and we are really looking forward to creating new relationships and developing existing friendships throughout 2024

We want to continue to be a trusted, compassionate, and honest voice on a range of issues, around the many tables and spaces that we occupy across Northern Ireland and beyond.

Stay connected

We reached over 48,200 people in 2023 on Facebook alone. Why not connect with us on Facebook, X and Instagram to stay up to date with what we are doing in Northern Ireland. Stay inspired with regular news, updates and fundraising from Northern Ireland, as we seek to strengthen the church in unity, advocacy, and the gospel – sign up to our weekly email Think Friday here.

Related pages:

Northern Ireland: Who are the good news people?

Northern Ireland: Who are the good news people?

David Smyth, head of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, shares some key findings from our recent research on evangelicals across Northern Ireland


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