L to R: (front) Keith Parker, Tom
McKinstry, Lisburn Mayor Councillor Ronnie
Crawford, Bob Evans (USA) and David Frazer.
(back row) Joan McKinstry, Judith Reid, Dorothy
Armstrong, Elizabeth Spence, Avril McGrath and
Young people from local churches
who attended BCM Bible clubs and camps over
The 60th anniversary of Bible Centred Ministries,
International, previously known as the Bible Club Movement
was celebrated last Saturday (8th November) in Lisburn
Baptist Church. Keith Parker, chairman of the BCM Committee
led the service; the guest speaker was Bob Evans (USA); and
the special guest was the Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford
who as a young teenager attended the first BCM camp at
Carnlough in August 1966.
During the evening retired missionaries Tom and Joan
McKinstry spoke with great affection of their 60 years
involvement with BCM including the first after school
meetings in a hut at the back of the YWCA's Pimm House in
Wallace Avenue; the move later to the Boys' Hall in
Wardsborough Road; the first Bible Club Rally in Lisburn
Orange Hall in 1951; and the spread of BCM fellowships
throughout the area. Also taking part were: Harry Dowds,
Stephen Spence, Gus McComisky, David Frazer, Jean Hull,
Dorothy Armstrong, Julie Koorts, Sharon Parker, Judith Reid,
Avril McGrath, Maureen Jamieson, Rachel Hewitt, Nikki Lunn,
Nathan Anderson, Neil Snooddy, Robert Millar and Caroline
60th anniversary cake.
Tom McKinstry and his wife Joan
cutting the 60th anniversary cake.
Puppeteer Louise Watterson
pictured with Peter and Thomas Dundas at the
60th anniversary of BCM last Saturday evening
After the service ladies of the BCM committee served a
delightful supper allowing visitors and friends to recall 60
years of fun and fellowship at BCM Bible classes and camps.
Tom McKinstry left his teaching job in 1967 and with his
wife Joan they started Bible Clubs in many areas of Lisburn
and in towns around the country from Omagh to Comber and
Ballymena. The clubs came together for annual sports days in
Lisburn's Castle Gardens and Wallace Park; and at Rallies
where awards for Bible memorisation and inter club quizzes
Bible Club camps have been very popular, since the first one
in 1966. Many people in Lisburn will have been at one of
those camps themselves, or will know someone else who has
been there. BCM bought Mullartown House in Annalong in 1978.
Each summer more than 400 young people, looked after by over
100 staff spend time at camp there. The site is closed at
present for building work but it is due to be operational
again on 5th July 2009.
BCM is a worldwide organisation, working on over 50
countries. Bob Evans brought greetings from the Headquarters
in Philadelphia, USA. He challenged the audience in telling
them of the practical demonstration of the love of God, in
countries where BCM is working like relief work in Sri
Lanka, and in setting up refugee camps for Christians forced
to leave their homes in Orissa, India. A generous offering
was collected during the evening for that project.
It is intended to produce a booklet summarising the
memories. Anyone who would like to contribute memories of
Bible Club is asked to contact Tom and Joan at through the
BCM Centre in Seymour Street phone 028 9260 3864.
the first BCM camp at Carnlough in August 1966
are Tom McKinstry (second from left) and Ronnie
Crawford (6th from left).
Parker pictured with some of the children who
took part in the service.