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YMCA Chaplaincy

YMCA Ireland has a number of volunteer chaplains in place to deliver a chaplaincy service for anyone involved in the movement. Our main duties are to provide pastoral care and spiritual direction for staff, volunteers and service users.

Currently we have volunteer chaplains in place in Belfast, Cork and Portadown.

At YMCA Ireland, our chaplains not only provide a supportive service, but we are also committed to achieving the wider goals of the organisation and as such collaborate with our colleagues in strategic ways helping to address issues such as climate justice, wellbeing and managing conflict.

If you’d like to get involved in the chaplaincy email alex.bartholomew@ymca-ireland.net

What's On

Monthly Prayer Meeting

Our chaplains organise a monthly prayer meeting online, which is open to anyone involved in the movement in Ireland.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 2nd May 2024. Join us on Google Meet by clicking here.

Unify Ireland

Inspired by the recent Unify Europe Conference, plans are in place for the inaugural Unify Ireland event on Monday 10th June 2024.

UNIFY Ireland gathering will be an opportunity for us to come together as people of faith from various YMCA branches across Ireland. The day will feature a blend of prayer, worship, meaningful discussions, and reflections centred around our Christian mission.

And, of course, there will be delicious food and ample time for fellowship. Click here to register.

Since 1904, World YMCA has teamed up with the YWCA to host a week of prayer.  

This year, the Week of Prayer takes place from 12-18 November 2023 and our YMCA Chaplaincy team put together a series of resources here.

Chaplaincy Team

We are the YMCA’s team of chaplains in Ireland. 

Alex Bartholomew
National Coordinating Chaplain

Alex is from Portadown but has lived in East Belfast for the past ten years. Before working for the YMCA she was based in a local church working with kids and young people. Above all, Alex loves working with people and seeing others flourish and this is underpinned by her faith and spirituality. She recently trained to become an Integrative Counsellor to enhance and deepen her supportive and caring skills. In her spare time Alex likes a cold water swim with friends and running. She is an avid sewist and knitter but doesn’t get much time to do it!

Laura Bell

Laura is married to her teenage sweetheart Chris and they currently live in Belfast with their 2 girls Maeve and Fia. She is the Pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in South Belfast which she planted 6 years ago. She is an activist, loves people, enjoys working collaboratively on lots of projects, and is an aspiring house renovator. She is passionate about seeing young leaders empowered and equipped to lead across all sectors of society and in particular seeing women released to lead in the church in Ireland. She enjoys sports, travel, reading, movies, inspirational people & good conversations. She currently serves on the board of YMCA Belfast, the leadership of Women’s Explore and Kyria, and has just completed a Masters in Kingdom Theology.

Merle Patterson

Merle is married to Mark & they have 4 children. She’s a BA Hons in Applied Theology & recently graduated from Queen’s with a PGCE. She’s passionate about Jesus & living for Him. She loves to help & disciple people. She enjoys walks in the local park with her British Bulldog Winston, crocheting, & making jam!

Evancia Aboussou

Hey, my name is Evancia, and I go by Eva. I have been living in Cork since 2017. I am working as a Software Quality Analyst and have recently started a childcare course. If you don’t find me at my work desk, I will probably be walking, running, playing some music, or hanging out with my friend or the teens of my church.

Cherise Boraski

My name is Cherise, I’m 23 years old, Canadian and I have lived in Ireland for the last five years. While originally I had planned on being a secondary school teacher, I have found that my passion is for youth work and pastoral care within the community. I really enjoy playing music and having a jam session with my friends as well as going on hikes.

Courtney Lynch

Hi, my name is Courtney and I have been living in Dublin/Wicklow for almost 2 years. I love playing and listening to music and animals, especially dogs. When not at work you can find me bordering/ rock climbing (indoors), hiking in the Wicklow Mountains, or reading while drinking tea.


Self Care & Reflection

Self care is vital to holistic health, practicing reflection, good rhythms, and more can boost our health for our mind, body, & spirit. 

Here’s a self care resource which might be helpful to do now and then review in a few months time. 

Contact us if you’d like help with these or to simply chat through them or more guidance in your reflection.

React, Pray, Take Action

Breige O’Hare, writer, spiritual director and facilitator, has put together a lovely resource that can help inform and guide our prayers and reflections on Climate Action.

Download it here