A LISBURN man who is about to become President of the
Methodist Church in Ireland first felt the call to the
Christian Ministry during one of the camps for young people
run by local department store proprietor Harold Patterson
and his wife Meta in the early 1970's. Rev. Aian Wesley
Ferguson, the son of Thomas and Lily Ferguson of Warren
Park, was in his late teens when he attended the camp.
Born in 1953, he attended Lisburn Central
Primary and Wallace High Schools until 1970 when he began a
career with the Northern Bank at Donegall Square West in
Belfast City Centre.
However, just four years later he left
the world of finance to enter Edgehill College. His decision
to train for the Ministry was supported by his home church,
Seymour Street, and its then Minister Rev. Winston Good.
Before his entry to Edgehill he also
studied for his Local Preachers Exam - the starting point
for anyone wanting to become a member of the Methodist
Mr. Ferguson spent three years at
College. He left in 1977 when he also married his wife Joan
(nee Maze) a fellow member of Seymour Street who grew up.
in the Magheralave area.
His first charge was Moville after which
he moved to Sligo, Finaghy and Enniskillen. He also served
as District Superintendent in both the Lakeland and North
East Districts. He is currently Minister of Carrickfergus
Methodist Church and was designated for position of Church
President at its 2007 Conference in Cork.
He will officially take up the position
at this year's Conference due to take place in Londonderry
Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson have four children
-Gillian, Nicola, Stephen and Peter.
A Methodist spokesperson said although
perceived as a 'conservative evangelical', Mr. Ferguson
'worked well ecumenically' and would represent Methodism
effectively alongside the other church leaders.
"His ministry has always been characterised
by his willingness to reach out across the community.
"He rejoices in the progress that has
been made politically," the spokesperson added. "He cares
deeply about evangelism and is highly interested in how we
connect the gospel to people in this modern age.
"He will not sidestep controversial
issues but will address them from a biblical standpoint."
The spokesperson also said Mr. Ferguson
had 'always been in demand' as Minister in some of
Methodism's largest churches.
"He has excelled as a Pastor and his
Ministry has had a remarkable influence on many," he