Bishop Harold has ordained Stephen Doherty as deacon for ordained local ministry as the church plant leader in Glen Community Church.
The service took place in Willowfield Church on Sunday 1 September and the preacher was Bishop Bill Love (Albany Diocese).
Congratulations to Stephen, who tells us his story below.
I was raised in the wee fishing village of Portavogie and was one of those young people who thoroughly enjoyed everything about church. In the mornings, I’d attend the Sunday School at Ballyhalbert Parish Church (Ballyeasboro) just outside Portavogie before staying for the church service typically with my mum. Each Sunday afternoon, I would set off to Sunday School in the local Free Presbyterian Church where sometimes, my mum and I would attend their evening service. I believe it was the nurturing I received at both churches that led me to faith in Christ at a young age.
On turning 18, my Rector, Canon Frank Bell took me to two meetings of the Fellowship of Vocation, and that’s when I had my personal “Jonah moment” running as far away from God, His church and ordination.
It wasn’t until I got married to Gemma at 23 years old when I began attending St Mark’s Parish Church in Newtownards. Gemma and I have three boys, Bayley (21), Matthew (18) and James (15). After working in a variety of situations with young people, ranging from schools to projects for socially excluded youth, I was encouraged to become a Sunday School leader for the older ones in St Mark’s. Shortly after, I landed myself the role of Youth and Children’s Worker in my own parish and spent 10 years in the role.
Throughout this decade, little did I know I was being moulded by God to be enabled and empowered to lead a church in the form of a Church Plant on behalf of St Mark’s. Just five years ago, Glen Community Church was launched and I have the privileged role of Church Leader.
I have witnessed at first hand, the amazing transformation God has done to individuals, families and the wider community over the last five years…I am so excited to see what God has in store for the Glen and myself in the years to come.