Gareth grew up in County Armagh and became a Christian after a remarkable series of events when he was eleven but it was an unforgettable conversation with a fellow student while at university that had the effect of really turning his life around. After completing a degree in business and IT, he took on a youth position in a Belfast Presbyterian church before training for ordained ministry.
In our conversation Gareth talks about some of the experiences and people that have had a big impact on him, including the serious illness of his young son.
He also talks about the advice he would have for his twenty-year-old self, including underlining the importance of time with God.
Coming up on the next episode of the podcast, my guest will be Derek McKelvey, former minister of Fisherwick Presbyterian Church.
Open Doors traces its origins back to 1955 and the visit by a young Dutch Christian to a Communist youth congress in Poland. So began the work of Brother Andrew and today Open Doors is a ministry that seeks to support and strengthen persecuted Christians in some 60 nations.
Dave has been working with Open Doors since the start of this year. Previously he worked with The Evangelical Alliance and with the Bible Society. Before his work with these Christian organisations that has spanned the past two decades, Dave lectured in politics and social sciences at Edge Hill University College.
In our conversation we talk about the work of Open Doors and what is involved in Dave’s role. We also talk about Christian attitudes to politics as well as some of the key things Dave has learned about leadership. There may even be a reference to Everton!
John Dickinson is the recently-retired minister of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church in Newtownabbey – a congregation he served for nineteen years. Previously John served in churches in various parts of Northern Ireland, including Seaview, in North Belfast.
In our conversation John talks openly about the recent loss of his wife, Christine, just a few weeks after a cancer diagnosis in 2019. He talks about growing up in a ministry family, about some of the people who have influenced him, and about his growing awareness of God’s presence in the ‘now’ of ministry. Looking back over his nineteen years in Carnmoney, he talks about aspect of his ministry that most stands out, and he shares two things he would like to say to his twenty-year old self.
The next guest on the podcast will be Dave Landrum, Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs with Open Doors.