Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Bishop's Bible Week 2008 - "Keeping the Faith in Hard Times"

The Bishop of Down and Dromore, The Rt Rev Harold Miller welcomes guest speaker Bishop Derek Eaton to the opening evening of Bishop's Bible Week in Willowfield Parish Church, East Belfast last night (Tuesday 26th August).Representatives from churches throughout the diocese of Down and Dromore gathered in Willowfield Parish Church (East Belfast) last night (Tuesday 26th August) for the opening evening of Bishop's Bible week where they were welcomed by The Bishop of Down and Dromore, The Rt Rev Harold Miller. Building on the success of last year's event in St Saviour's Parish Church, Dollingstown, the second of what is now an annual event, is being held from Tuesday 26th to Friday 29th August.

This year's speaker is Bishop Derek Eaton, former Bishop of Nelson in New Zealand; he held butterfly and medley records in his late teens and is much in demand as a speaker at NZ Keswick and NZ New Wine. Bishop Derek has spent many years doing missionary work ' 10 years in Tunisia and 6 years in Egypt, before returning to Bishop as Assistant Bishop. He 'bucked the trend' with 47% growth in the Diocese of New Zealand during his time at Bishop. His theme 'Keeping the Faith in Hard Times' has never been more relevant than in today's society. Each evening he will speak on 1 and 2 Timothy, looking at challenges to the local church, challenges to the men and women of God, challenges to keep going and challenges for the 'last days'. The four evenings are designed to give encouragement as parishes prepare for the busy year ahead. Bishop Miller feels that this is the ideal time - at the end of the holiday season, before the schools go back and a new year of church activities begin across the Diocese - to focus on the Word of God.

At the opening service last night (Tuesday), John Little presided at the organ and together with a group of musicians from Willowfield Parish Church led the lively praise which included 'Jesus calls us'. Scott Mackey, the newly appointed Down & Dromore Diocesan Communications & Projects Officer, read the Scripture lesson. Some local television personalities will be reading lessons during the remainder of the week, including Neil Brittain (UTV), Noreen Erskine and Mervyn Jess (both BBC). Other musicians taking part during the week will include New Dawn (St Patrick's Newry) who will be playing on Wednesday night and Ballybeen Music Group (St Mary's, Ballybeen), including soloist Susannah Manning, winner of the under 18's regional final of Hope Academy, a competition to find a voice for the Persecuted Church.