PARTY FROM SEATTLE HELPS OUT AT HOLIDAY BIBLE CLUB
A PRESBYTERIAN Minister from the USA who previously served in
both First Lisburn and Kilmakee Churches returned to Lisburn
this week along with one of his best friends who is a Jesuit
Rev. Barry Keating arrived in the city last Thursday
with a party of three teenagers and three adults from the church
of which he is now Minister - Maplewood Presbyterian in Edmonds,
a suburb of the city of Seattle.
Meanwhile, Father Peter Byrne
who is Parish Priest of St. Ignatius Church in Portland, Oregon,
arrived on Sunday. Rev. Keating whose party is helping out with
the Holiday Bible Club at First Lisburn explained he became a
Minister at the church in 1978 and remained there until the
After marrying his US born wife Nancy he moved
to the United States but later the couple returned to Northern
Ireland and he spent some time during the 1990's as Minister at
He and his wife then moved back to the US with their
Rev. Keating is now keen to develop church
links between Seattle and Lisburn to coincide with the links
already being developed between the City Council and its Seattle
He was also very keen that Father Byrne should
visit Lisburn with him and was glad he was able to accept the
have become firm friends since meeting at a study
programme last September and Rev. Keating explained what they
hoped to achieve in Lisburn.
"Really, we are just hoping to
try and enhance the relationship between some of the churches
here," he said.
"We are also hoping some of the people from
First Lisburn and St. Patrick's in Chapel Hill will be able to
visit us in Seattle."
Rev. Keating is heavily involved with
inter-faith work in the US and takes part in reconciliation
programmes at a venue called 'Camp Brotherhood'.
the aim of this is to develop and create dialogue between
Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Since arriving he has met many
people who knew him during his time as a local Minister.
and Father Byrne whose parish is made up of around 1500 people
have also met the Mayor Councillor Jonathan Craig and taken
coffee with Councillor Paul Butler.
Father Byrne, however, has
yet to meet any representatives of St. Patrick's Parish as his
visit coincides with the departure of Father Sean Rogan for his
new charge in Downpatrick.
"We arc hoping to visit some
friends of mine in Belfast who are members of the Catholic
Church," said Rev. Keating.
"Really, one of the main purposes
of our trip is to let young people from Maplewood meet real
Northern Ireland people instead of the political representatives
they see on television."
Lagan Valley MLA Billy Bell has
arranged a visit to Stormont for the party followed by lunch at
They also hope to tour around visiting
tourist attractions such as the Giants Causeway and have
arranged to enjoy a day trip to Dublin by train.