The Irish Mission is a dynamic and growing church community working on a historical step to change its organisational status to a Conference. It consists of a diverse, cosmopolitan and mission-oriented membership which, in partnership with the relatively small but dedicated pastoral team, is 'making God known' in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
One of the reasons why the work on the Emerald Isle has grown in leaps and bounds is because of networking with like-minded people and ministries worldwide. Among them all, one partner that stands out is the Emerald Health and Education Foundation based in California.
Legally established in 1984, the Foundation has had a tremendous impact on the work and advancement of the Adventist Church in the two countries. But how did it all begin? Tom Miller, the Foundation's president, reminisces: "It was almost 60 years ago that Elder and Mrs B R Spear took their first trip to Ireland to locate distant cousins, and were astonished to learn that after many years of Adventist presence in Ireland, there were still only three Seventh-day Adventist churches! Resolved to do something about this dire situation, the Spears teamed up with Cliff Dinning, a fellow American with Irish ancestry and a heart for Ireland, to form 'The Friends of Ireland'."
Over the years, the Foundation has provided financial assistance for the building of four churches: Banbridge, Coleraine, Larne and Ballinacrow and helped with the purchase of four properties to house the Derry/Londonderry, Galway, Cork and Newmarket churches. The Galway property also housed the Grianach House School for 27 years, and there is a family campsite in Newmarket.
More recently, the Foundation supported the Drumcondra church plant, various ministries (e.g. Adventist Community Services, Discover Truth, Centre for Conflict Resolution Europe, Dublin Cuisle Centre and the Prehen Centre in Derry/Londonderry, mental health training, etc.), the purchase of a multipurpose building in Dublin and contributed 50% to the salary of the Irish Mission youth sponsor. And this is, by no means, a comprehensive list.
Unfortunately, this partnership is now coming to an end. Tom Miller explains why: "Sadly, like many non-profits, the Emerald Foundation suffered financially during the pandemic and, as a result, has not been able to provide the kind of support that we have had in the past. A reduction in donations and the realities of an ageing Board have led us to decide that the time has now come to retire the organisation."
On behalf of the members of the Irish Mission and all executive officers who have served throughout the time of this partnership, I wish to express our sincerest thanks and most profound appreciation to Tom and Vera Miller, the Emerald Board and all the donors for their prayerful and dedicated support of the work in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Your generosity has caused a lasting change in the destiny of the Adventist Church here, and your legacy will endure forever.
We want to run a feature in Messenger sometime soon and compile a tribute of thanks. To this end, we invite all those who have been associated with or benefitted from the work and generosity of the Foundation to send us messages, pictures and videos, which will be compiled in a final format to be sent to the current Board members and friends of the Emerald Foundation. All information can be sent to email@example.com.