28 February 2011
New director for Northern Ireland
Churches in Northern Ireland have been given a timely opportunity to make a difference to their communities by working together.
Peter Lynas, who has been appointed Director of Northern Ireland for the Evangelical Alliance, says: "It's a great time for churches to share a prophetic vision that will not only critique the prevailing state of affairs, but also offer hope to a society at a time of transition."
In his role, Peter aims to inspire and equip churches to create a more unified society. He says Prime Minister David Cameron's vision of a Big Society - whereby local people are given a greater say in managing their communities - is something that all churches can have a stake in.
"The Evangelical Alliance is about evangelical unity, not for its own sake, but to point people to God. Similarly, working in advocacy is not about protecting our Christian sub-culture. Rather it's about wanting to transform society. That's why I am excited to be joining the team in Northern Ireland.
"The Big Society agenda means less control from Westminster and a stronger civil society. This also means that churches can fill the gap left by a shrinking state."
As Director for Northern Ireland, Peter aims to provide opportunities for churches of different denominations to present a united voice to government as well as their own communities and wider society.
"A fractured evangelical community has little to offer a fractured society. As churches unite at a local level, they can then model social change and transform society," he says.
Peter, 35, brings to the role a wealth of experience. He was born in Coleraine, studied law at the University of Dundee and afterwards gained a certificate in Professional Legal Studies at Queens University in Belfast. He practised as a barrister in Belfast for five years before heading off to Vancouver to study theology at Regent College.
Peter's vision of a better society led him to work for the Relationships Foundation, a non-government think-tank based in Cambridge. The charity works on the premise that personal and social wellbeing depends upon the quality of relationships within families and communities, and within and between organisations.
As a former project manager, Peter was responsible for fronting the Keep Sunday Special campaign to ensure trading hours were restricted on the national day of rest. It was during this time that Peter became increasingly aware of the effect relationships have on society and in doing so presented his findings to key policy makers and politicians. This approach and area of interest later led him to designing and lecturing on a course entitled faith@work at Belfast Bible College; a role that brought him into contact with many church, community and business leaders.
Peter says his new role at the Evangelical Alliance not only marks a continuation of working toward a united society, but an opportunity to bring together all of the different experiences and contacts he has made over the years.
Mr Lynas, who is married with a baby daughter, is also a keen snow boarder, landscape photographer and long-distance cyclist.
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.