About me

peterHi. My name is Peter McDowell.

Contact me: home@belfastexile.co.uk


Many people, places and experiences have made me the person that I am and have influenced my journey.



I am married to Åsa, a wonderfully talented Swedish textile artist. Åsa has established the Textile Studio, which, as well as being a wool and textile shop, is a ‘third space’ building community among yarn addicts in East Belfast.

We have two teenage children, Hannah and Daniel.


Nepal (1991 – 2003 on and off!)

umnI spent the best part of six formative years working in Nepal: two years as a single person, during which time I met Åsa; two years as a married person, and; almost two years with Hannah and Daniel.

We worked with the United Mission to Nepal, an incredible Christian mission/development organisation made up of people from all over the world with a variety of church backgrounds.

Nepal gave me experience of living as an ‘alien’ in a different culture, how Christian faith relates to that culture and building friendships with people from a wide variety of cultural and faith backgrounds.


Ministry in Presbyterian Church in Ireland (2003 – 2013)

pci-logoI have served as a minster of two congregations:

Christ Church, Limerick this is a united Presbyterian and Methodist congregation and is also a multi-ethnic congregation, with about 19 nationalities represented!

Garnerville, East Belfast – this is a congregation close to two Loyalist housing estates and an strong emphasis during my time here was building community relations, particularly through the Kncoknagoney Area Forum.


Irish Churches Peace Project (2013 – 2015)

logo_white_bgThe Irish Churches Peace Project was set up by the Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches. The aim of the project was to get local congregations to address issues arising from the Troubles and the fact that Northern Ireland remains a divided society.

I was Good Relations Officer for the Newry and Mourne area, developing opportunities for churches in various towns to engage with each other across the community divide, without compromising often deep seated theological differences.


Northumbria Community

northumbria-community-logo1For several years I have been a companion of the Northumbria Community. The community’s draws from the Celtic and monastic traditions in seeking ‘the one thing necessary’ answer the questions: who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? and How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.


Studying Theology

Studying theology has been a large part of my journey of faith. I completed an undergraduate degree as part of my training for the Presbyterian ministry, which whet my appetite for thinking seriously about my faith.

In 2015 I completed a PhD examining the theology of Lesslie Newbigin (see below) and how the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is adapting to the changing cultural context in which it finds itself.


Lesslie Newbigin

newbiginLesslie Newbigin (1909 – 1998) spent most of his career in the Church of South India and in the World Council of Churches in Geneva. However, he is perhaps most well-known for his influence after his return to Britain in 1974 after almost thirty years overseas. On his return he discovered a totally changed culture, and proceeded to explore what a missionary encounter with this culture would entail.

The influence of Newbigin’s thought can still be seen in areas such as Fresh Expressions and the Emerging Church.


Leave a Reply