Congratulations to Revd Colin Birnie who has been ordained presbyter (OLM) for his continuing ministry in St Clement’s, Templemore Avenue.
Bishop David ordained Colin along with Jim Fleming at an outdoor service in C.S. Lewis Square in East Belfast on Sunday 29 August. The preacher was Canon Phil Potter who was formerly the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions UK. Phil is now in a part–time role leading a Pioneer Ministry initiative within the Church of Ireland. His address centred on Christ’s call on our lives which is radical and challenging but also personal. Worship was led by James and Elise Turner and soloist, Jenny Hart.
Colin’s deacon year in St Clement’s
I was born and raised in East Belfast and live a five–minute walk from St Clement’s. I came to faith nine and a half years ago through witnessing the transforming power of the Gospel, as my wife Angela began to follow Jesus. I was amazed at how her life was transformed by the love of Jesus and I began searching for myself, only to find that Jesus was already searching for me. After completing an Alpha Course I came to the realisation that I needed to surrender my life to Jesus, and my life has never been the same since that day. My passion is for everyone to experience the love and freedom that comes with encountering Jesus face to face.
I have been serving God in St Clement’s these past five years and Angela and I love the people of this Church. We both have a burning desire to see the lives of the people who live in the streets around us impacted and transformed by the power of the Gospel.
This past year serving the people of St Clement’s as a deacon OLM has had its challenges due to lockdowns and the various restrictions but as always, God has been working, drawing people by His Holy Spirit into a deeper relationship with Him. As I reflect over this past year I am reminded of Zechariah 4:6, “So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel; Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” At times during this past year, I have felt weak, tired and discouraged but God is always faithful and always good.
This past year I have had the privilege of walking with people through heartbreaking seasons of life, and it was only through God’s Holy Spirit, and not in my own strengths or abilities that I was able to do this. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” It is an honour to walk with people through all seasons of life and I had the joy of conducting two Baptisms in St Clement’s, one adult and one child.
As we cautiously begin to return to some sort of normality my prayer is that we as a Church would catch the vision of God for our Parish and the people we are called to serve, and faithfully and courageously share the good news of the Gospel with everyone we meet. Please pray that we would not run ahead of God and try to do things in our own strength but wait and listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading and guidance. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”
I am looking forward to this next step of my journey with an expectation that the Holy Spirit will move in power; that the Kingdom of God will break into the everyday lives of people, that people would encounter Jesus face to face and know they are loved by Him; and that God’s Church would continue to flourish and grow.