MARATHON RUNNER NOW GOING THE SECOND MILE FOR BLYTHSWOOD
When Londonderry solicitor Nathan Hawthorne ran a marathon to raise funds for Blythswood’s Daniel Centre, he couldn’t have foreseen that he would take a leading role in the organisation.
But sixteen years later he now serves as chairman of Blythswood’s board in Ireland, as well as being pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ballyclare.
In that period he has visited Romania many times as part of a team of volunteers, renovating kindergartens, doing construction work at venues for summer camps and helping with other building projects.
Why did he choose to become involved in Blythswood rather than in any other charity? “Blythswood is not just doing social work but has at its heart the gospel and a desire to share the gospel and show the compassion found in the gospel,” he says. “We do what we do out of love for Christ because he has done so much for his people and we want others to come to know and experience that love.”
Over the years Nathan has observed changes in the churches in Romania. “They are more aware of needs in their own communities and in neighbouring countries like Serbia and Ukraine,” he says. “Our role is to support rather than to lead. We go to encourage local church-based groups to carry on what they are doing. The work is driven by Romanian leaders.”
Looking forward to Blythswood’s 50th anniversary in 2016, Nathan wants to increase awareness of Blythswood amongst churches in Ireland. “When I do presentations at churches, people say to me: ‘I didn’t know Blythswood did all that.’ Our organisation is doing great work and we need to tell as many people as possible about it.”
Photo above: Nathan volunteering on a construction project in Romania: “Our role is to support rather than to lead”