On Sundays you will find me in Church, leading the people of God in the praise of the risen Christ.
Mondays to Fridays I come and go from our busy Parish Centre and from the several hundred homes which comprise our immediate Church of Ireland family.
Alongside three other local Christian congregations, and in the time-honoured fashion of all Jesus’ disciples, our call as Ballyholme Parish is to witness, pray and serve, laughing and crying together as circumstances require.
Our driving spiritual objective is to care for one another as brothers and sisters and so create a community in which everyone feels at home: young, old and greying in-betweens.
On Saturdays, by the way, usually you won’t find me at all because likely as not I will be somewhere in the Mournes with my wife Heidi. It’s one of the few places we know to rival our beautiful surroundings in Ballyholme Bay.
It is my privilege to serve Jesus by encouraging new expressions of worship in Ballyholme Parish and by helping parishoners develop relationships with our local community.
My role involves building together teams to run:
- Café Church - an all-age service in the Parish Centre on the first Sunday of the month, where families talk about bible themes as well as praying and laughing together.
- Prayer & Praise an informal service every third Sunday at 10am, is a lovely time to draw close to God.
- Love Ballyholme is an Unincorporated Association whose aim is to bring local residents, churches, schools and businesses together.
- Ballyholme Connect is another team that uses Community Fun days, Book Swaps, Litter Picking events to build deeper relationships with the local community.
- Peaced Together and Alpha courses to draw people to Jesus.
Andrew Watson is the Youth Worker at Ballyholme Parish, having started this role in September 2018. This is his first job, having graduated from Queens with a Theology degree in June 2018.
Andrew is originally from Moira, and in his spare time he likes to spend time with his wife Hannah, walk their dog, spend time with his friends and read. He also runs a YouTube channel called All Things Theology, where he posts videos about his faith and Christianity in a way that (he hopes) people find interesting!
Growing up, good youth ministry played a massive role in Andrew coming to faith. This makes him passionate about sharing his faith with young people, because when he was their age he benefitted so much from leaders sharing their faith with him. Being a youth worker, then, is a dream come true! Not only does he get to teach young people the goodness of God and his gospel, but he also gets to act like a kid again!
Andrew can be found in the office Tuesday to Friday, and also runs Emerge (senior Sunday School) on Sunday mornings, YF on Sunday evenings and a number of other programmes throughout the rest of the week.
I’m a mum of 2 teenage boys and I started my working life as a geography teacher in North Belfast. However, as I have always had a passion for church, children, craft and music, it seemed natural for me to accept the post as children’s worker at Ballyholme Parish in September 2017. Since starting this work, I have received so much joy as I watch our church family children embrace God’s unconditional love for them. I love seeing the children increase in confidence as they grow in the knowledge that God’s love and power is available to them right now! My vision is that they may know that they are a valuable part of the church community, right from the very youngest age to the oldest.
I can be found in the Parish Centre on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, and of course, Sunday mornings. Thursday and Sunday mornings are particular highlights as I spend time with our children at Tune Tots (Thursday 10-11am) and Muddy Church (Sunday 10am), although Easter and Summer Jumpin’ are much anticipated events!
On 1st November, Heather McKee began in the church office as our new Parish Administrator. One of our youth volunteers since 2019, Heather is 23 years old and lives with her Mum and Dad on the Old Belfast Road. Until recently, Heather and her family belonged to Bangor Elim Church at Balloo. Heather comes to us with a wide range of IT skills and three years’ experience as a church office intern at Bangor Elim where she also worked part-time in the café. Heather spent her first few weeks working closely with our Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer. For the next few years, Heather will be working her 24 hours on Monday through to Thursday but a rota of volunteers is now in place to ensure the office continues to be staffed on Friday mornings. If you are available to help in this way once every couple of months, please get in touch with Heather.
Ian has been Organist & Choirmaster / Musical Director since 1987 and is now the longest serving incumbent of this post in the parish’s history.
He is committed to collaborative and inclusive worship through music which has seen the variety of worship styles and musical accompaniments expand over the years to embrace the significant changes which have taken place in the parish. The ‘all–age’ nature of the worship at Ballyholme involves many instrumentalists, singers and a 4 part robed choir.
Ian is also very involved in developing the creative role of music in worship and this has been evident in the wide variety of Taize, Iona, worship song, liturgical chant and choral music now used every Sunday.
Ian is also a busy Principal of Movilla High School, Newtownards, and Musical Director for Ards Choral Society. He acts as Producer for Upstage Downstage Musical company which began in the parish in 1998. He also maintains his musical interests with many local amateur musical societies and is Chorus Director for touring productions at the Grand Opera House, Belfast.