NEW

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia: Northern Churchman

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia? The Northern Churchman There is a familiar feel to this time of year. The Christmas advertising on television, the darker evenings, the Carol Services – and the inevitable scoffers who call the Christmas story a myth. Not ‘Once in Royal...

Mark Pickles: The Story of Two Trampolines

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Story of the Two Trampolines:  A passage that is frequently referred to during times of great revival is Isaiah 64:1-3:  “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your...

Ten Thousand Bibles for London’s Children

TBS Auxiliary Meets Ten Thousand Bibles For London’s Children The Greater London Auxiliary of the Trinitarian Bible Society was delighted to report at its Annual Meeting held on 15 November that over 10,000 Bibles have been distributed to London schools since the...

Good News for Egypt’s Christians

Barnabas Fund Reports Good News for Egypt’s Christians The government of Egypt licensed 125 churches and church-affiliated buildings on 14 November. It is the 24th batch of approvals made since the government committee overseeing the licensing process started work in...

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw In the aftermath of Desmond Tutu’s daughter being refused permission to preside at a funeral in a Church of England parish, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told The Guardian that the “C of E must move swiftly to welcome lesbian...

Collins: Who’s Your Righteousness?

Who’s Your Righteousness? By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Who’s your righteousness? "The Lord our Righteousness" was the sermon preached March 20, 1757 at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. It offended nearly everyone that day and William Romaine was invited to never preach...

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963 Persons Against Whom Proceedings May be Instituted. Proceedings under this Measure may be instituted against an archbishop, any diocesan bishop or any suffragan bishop commissioned by a diocesan bishop or any other bishop or a...

Editorial: Joy to the World Cup

Editorial Joy to the World Cup The result of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already in. And it appears the Church of England has lost. The latest advice from the Church of England’s Support Hub is for parishes to consider the timing of Christmas Carol Services to avoid...

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership By Chris Sugden Andrew Symes is to stand down as Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream on January 1, 2023, after nearly ten years in post. Rev Symes, 56, who had earlier served with Crosslinks in South...

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension By George Conger The former Bishop of Ramsbury has been suspended for life from the ordained ministry after he admitted to having sexually abused two women. The Daily Mail reported the Rt Rev. Peter Hullah had been the subject of...

EC Interviews Arlene Foster, MLA

EC Interviews Arlene Foster

The Rt Hon Arlene Foster is one of those rare people in public life that in her home patch is known by one name.  In Northern Ireland, her first name suffices.  There are other women with the same name but there’s only one, Arlene.  She has been in public life the majority of her fifty-one years.

She was born in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and still lives there.  It is the most westerly location in the UK. Married for over 25 years to her husband Brian, they have three children.  From December of 2015 until the end of May this year, she was the Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and along the way served two stints as First Minister of Northern Ireland.  Stepping down on 14 June of this year, she was the first woman to hold that office.  Mrs Foster was first elected MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in 2003 and will be leaving office in the near future.

The MLA from Fermanagh & South Tyrone has known great adversity.  During the Troubles, her father survived a murder attempt by the IRA.  This necessitated the family moving to a safer location.  Later, in 1988, the school bus on which she was riding was blown up by an IRA bomb in an attempt to kill the driver, Ernie Wilson.  Mr Wilson was a part-time UDR soldier and was credited with saving an injured girl’s life. The injured girl was Arlene’s seat mate and was severely injured but everyone on the bus survived.

Still a practising member of the Church of Ireland, Mrs Foster credits her Christian faith with giving her the understanding that, “you are never alone and that there is a bigger plan at work”.  She continued, “My faith has given me resilience and hope”.  Her faith was shaped by regular attendance in her very traditional home parish.  “I still miss the old service, not just the form, but the content as well”.  The Church of Ireland service she spoke of was almost identical to that of the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer.

Foster said that leaving home to attend Queen’s University in Belfast was an eye-opening experience for her.  “Growing up in Fermanagh, I thought most Protestants were Church of Ireland but it didn’t take me long to figure out there were more Presbyterians in Belfast than Church of Ireland”.  

She continued, “Christians are called to be salt and light in the world and it is pretty difficult, especially for young Christians growing up today”.  She added,“finding space for the Christian point of view in society is also growing more difficult”.  Mrs Foster’s political party, the DUP, is the only political party left in the UK to oppose abortion.

Leaving office means her life will change in heretofore unknown ways.  She was recently hired by GBNews as a contributor and has met with good reviews for her on-camera appearances from the London studios.

When asked by a reporter from the Belfast Telegraph why she was making the move to GBNews she said, “  

“First of all I see it as an opportunity to have a space for civilised discussion in a meaningful way, and very often political programmes are very sort of short and snappy and there is not an opportunity to develop stories so that is one of the reasons.  

“Of course the second reason is to bring Northern Ireland very much into the mainstream of UK politics and it is something I feel very passionate about and something I thought as a student a very long time ago”. 

Toward that end, she was recently appointed as the Chairman of the Castlereagh Foundation and hopes to increase the understanding of Unionism  in the UK through empirical research.

On top of her other efforts, she intends to serve as an advocate for those suffering from the increasing problem of online abuse.  

Previous

Next