The diocese has marked a decade of church planting with a special anniversary event and the release of a new film telling our church planting story.
The current phase of church planting was begun by Bishop Harold Miller in 2013 and continues under Bishop David McClay. Ten years, eight churches and three outreaches later, there was much to celebrate as 80–90 pioneer leaders and supporters gathered in the T3 Conference Centre on Tuesday 17 October.
As well as the film premiere, the evening was an opportunity to meet and hear from our courageous pioneer leaders. There were presentations from Revd Rory Blake–Knox, who is the leader of Moneyreagh Community Church, the first to be planted in this current season. and from Raymond McClure, who, as leader of Ards Connect, is at the beginning of his church planting journey. It was encouraging to hear that Moneyreagh has continued to grow and has become financially self–sufficient just as it reaches its 10 year anniversary.
A panel of leaders also shared some of their experiences and took questions while Keith Gardiner outlined the support network we have in place for those who are pioneering.
As part of that support, Bishop David invited us as churches and individuals to partner with our church plants in any way we can – by praying for workers, in caring for leaders, in going along to services, and in giving financially.
Bishop Harold said a few words and closed with prayer before we enjoyed more refreshments, including some anniversary cake!