The Methodist Newsletter seeks to reflect life and faith in the Methodist Church throughout Ireland. It is an independent journal, but, at the same time, carries stories, views, news and articles from across the Methodist spectrum. It strives to inform, educate and challenge.


Rev. Des Bain


Growing up in Methodist manses, mostly in Northern Ireland, Des was appointed to Cork to complete ministerial training in 1972. He and Valerie married two years later. They have two sons, Darren and Trevor.  After ordination, he spent five years’ ministry (and trout fishing!) in West Cork, before moving to the multi-denominational churches in Limerick and Shannon where he and the congregations were enriched by ex-pats from several places and many Christian backgrounds. During the twelve years following 1986, at the Dublin Central Mission, Des participated in projects to extend DCM’s ministry for older people, which established the new care centres at Ailt an Óir and Mount Tabor.  His involvement with the Methodist Newsletter began with his appointment as Home Mission secretary in 1998.  Since retiring in 2014 he and Valerie have lived in Dun Laoghaire where, in addition to some preaching, he has learned to garden, a bit; paint, a bit less; and suffer the frustration of issue being a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur!

Don Black

Business Manager

Don Black has just taken over the position of Business Manager from Harold Baird. In a nutshell his job entails making the Newsletter financially viable while looking after the business side. Don is married to Lynda with two adult children and recently became a very proud grandfather. He is a member of Methodist Centenary in Dublin and enjoys leading their praise band in services of worship. He has two part-time roles, one as Facilities Administrator in Centenary and the other as Administrator in Eastwell Residential Home. For over 25 years he has held the post of Publications Manager for Enterprise Ireland (equivalent of Invest Northern Ireland). Along with press and communications, his responsibilities included publishing a science and technology magazine entitled Technology Ireland and a magazine for exporters entitled The Market. His sport passion is playing tennis. He is looking forward to working with the Newsletter team as all members of the team bring different experience and skills but with one united purpose.

Nigel Ewing

Circulation Manager

Nigel is a life-long member of the Methodist Church. His twin sister and he were born on the 22 September 1955. Their parents ensured that, as a family of eight, they had access to every possible Christian influence. In his boyhood he attended Omagh Methodist Church with his family, and there he met his wife Ruth (Armstrong). They have been married over 40 years and have been blessed with two daughters, Rachel and Hannah and three young grandchildren. Nigel lives in Holywood where he attends the Methodist church. He has had a variety of roles within the society and is currently Society Steward. Having retired from the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) as Examinations Print Production Manager he welcomes the opportunity to help voluntarily in the circulation and distribution of the Methodist Newsletter. He considers it a privilege.

Rev. Dr Peter Mercer

Senior Editor

Peter was born in Liverpool, the son of a Presbyterian minister. His mother was a schoolteacher. Both parents were from Ireland and the family moved to Coagh in County Tyrone in 1951 and that was where Peter grew up. He moved to Dublin in 1967 where he acquired a degree in botany and a fiancée, Hazel. Thence to London where they had their first run-in with the Methodists at Westminster Central Hall where they were married. Peter, having acquired a PhD, the couple went to Malawi for five years where Peter was a peanut pathologist. Six years in Hampshire as a tree pathologist and as a society steward in the local Methodist church were followed by 40 years in Belfast as a cereal pathologist, society steward and non-stipendiary Methodist minister. Peter became an editor of the Methodist Newsletter ten years ago under the excellent tutelage of Lynda Neilands.

Dr Lindsay Easson


Lindsay was brought up in Dundee and became a Christian during his school years through a Crusader Bible Class near his home. He taught agriculture in Edinburgh University and completed a PhD in 1975. After a short spell teaching biology, he took up a research post in Northern Ireland in 1977 with the Department of Agriculture and based at Hillsborough, working mainly on arable crops and renewable energy. He retired in 2012. In both Scotland and Northern Ireland, he led Scripture Mission teams over many years, and was also a ski instructor at the Compass Christian Centre in Glenshee. Since joining Seymour Street Methodist Church, Lisburn, in 1977 he has been involved in many leadership roles with young people and the local church. In 1992 he married Gwyneth Hinds, also from Seymour Street, and their family of Catherine and Jack are currently settled in Newtownards and in Oxfordshire.

Gillian McDade


Gillian is originally from Carnmoney, but now lives in Ballyclare, County Antrim. Her parents attended Shankill Methodist and she was baptised in Joanmount Methodist. The family then moved when Gillian was three and she has been a member of Glengormley Methodist ever since. She is married to Richard Hastings and they have a nine-year-old daughter, Amelie. She began her career as a print journalist in 1998 and went on to work as a broadcast journalist before her role became redundant in 2017. She then decided she wanted to work for herself and now teaches English online to children in China. She also curates her own news website, South Antrim Vox, and writes brand copy and works in artificial intelligence. She is a school governor at Ashgrove Primary in Carnmoney. She loves reading novels, writing, podcasts, running, healthy vegan food and good weather. She began working with the Methodist Newsletter in 2012 and is delighted to be one of the new editors. She hopes that she can use her decades of journalistic expertise in the job as we move forward.

Laura Kerr


Laura lives in Newtownards with her husband, Peter. If she’d been asked to tell you a bit about herself a year ago, she would have said that Peter and she enjoy spending time with friends and family, eating out, travelling…. and while that is still very true, they obviously haven’t been able to do much of that in the last few months! So, she recently has been enjoying cooking, reading, yoga and getting outside for walks. Laura works for two departments of the Methodist Church in Ireland – World Development & Relief and World Mission Partnership. She has been on the Board of the Methodist Newsletter for a few years now and it has been for her a great experience to see how the magazine comes together, and all the hard work that goes into it.

Paula Lough

Board Member

Paula is originally from Newtownabbey and spent her childhood attending the Church of the Good Shepherd (Methodist and Church of Ireland Church) in Monkstown. In her early adult life, Paula spent a number of years working as a full-time missionary in America and Cambodia. Upon returning to Northern Ireland Paula attended university to study Youth and Community work with Practical Theology, where she spent time as a student youth worker in Carrickfergus Methodist Church. She has a keen interest in all things creative, including art, music and digital design. She has recently started working as a Communications Officer for the Methodist Church in Ireland, working mostly with IMYC. She is excited to be part of the Methodist Newsletter team and can’t wait to contribute to the magazine.