Behind the Stand

By Rebecca Smyth

Throughout New Horizon 2023, the Mission Hub provided people with an opportunity to find out about some of the wonderful ministries that are reaching out in the UK and Ireland and around the world. Rebecca Smyth from the New Horizon Media Team visited a number of the stands to find out more and to speak to the inspirational people behind the stands!

One Mission Society 

Ali McClure is a wife and mother of three loud but lovely daughters, with a background in Theology and French. 

She is passionate about two things: Sharing the gospel work of One Mission Society and trying not to pass her Cullybackey accent on to her children. Ali has worked with OMS for three years in communications and what she loves most about her job is the foundation of prayer warriors who carry the organisation in the background. 

She wants people to know God sees the individual – He wants to use your particular gifts and skills on the mission field. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Maybe you have a TEFL qualification? Could you be a wheelchair engineer? Do you prefer administration tasks? Could you join the team of prayer warriors?

International Justice Mission (IJM)

In 2020, Ben McMechan was sitting on a deck chair with his new wife in the driveway of their one-bedroom apartment, when he received a message from his friend. The friend asked him to take part in running 5k a day in May to raise funds for IJM. And having been furloughed from work, Ben couldn’t see any reason not to run 31 times in a month.

After hearing some stories of what IJM does, Ben’s heart was immediately captivated by their mission and he has been running for them ever since. 

International Justice Mission is a global organisation protecting people in poverty from violence. Their aim is justice and freedom for all! They work to combat crimes like human trafficking, violence against women and children, police abuse of power and sexual exploitation of children. They don’t just bring people to safety but work in partnership with local governments and law enforcement to create systemic change. They are in it for the long haul. 

The Christian Institute 

Meet Daniella from London and Joanna from Aberdeen who are visiting Northern Ireland for the first time with the Christian Institute, a charity that seeks to protect Christian religious freedom. They are the best people to talk to about the political, social and legal issues we are facing as Christians. As a charity they haven’t been at New Horizon for seven years so they enjoyed chatting to people visiting their stand, some of whom have been supporters for 20 years.

In 2022 the Christian Institute legal team helped 244 people – perhaps you have heard of their most high-profile case with Asher’s Baking Company?

Before God brought her to work in education at the Christian Institute, Daniella was a teacher in Italy. At New Horizon, she wanted a really good ice cream but she is torn between Morelli’s and Mauds (the ultimate battle of the ice creams). Where would you send her?

Christian Unions Ireland 

Elin is a CUI staff worker in Galway, with an infectious love for people and a lyrical Welsh accent. After her own university experience was such a formative time in her faith, she became passionate about the work of Christian Unions Ireland. 

Elin has the desire to walk alongside students and help them see their time at university for the exciting mission field that it is, rather than a time to get comfortable and just coast along. Why not connect with Christian Unions Ireland to find out more about the work they do and to pray for their ministry with students across Ireland and Northern Ireland?

Mercy UK

After listening to her engaging and encouraging teaching, Arianna was perhaps one of the more recognisable people at New Horizon this week. I spoke with her colleague Ashleigh from Mercy UK who told us more about the work they do with the whole church in the area of mental health. 

You may have missed Ashleigh’s mission stand this week as her banners never made it to N.I. (is there anything worse than losing your parcel in the post?!) but don’t miss out on what this charity is doing. 

In particular, you might be interested in their MPOWER Training which will equip you in providing pastoral care to those who are struggling. Or check out the Freedom Course – 16 weeks of one-to-one mentoring, counselling, and access to other specialist support to help Christians live free and stay free with

Ashleigh’s background in social work initially drew her to the residential work at Mercy U.K. and 5 years later, her role has changed but she is still as passionate as ever about the life-changing work they do.

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