Where We Come From
By describing ourselves as “evangelical” we continue something that was at the heart of the early church,namely the belief that the gospel message can profoundly change our lives. This Gospel, Paul asserted in Romans 1:16 to be “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes”. By this gospel a person who is deeply conscious of his/her failures to please God is made aware that this God sent His only Son so that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Thus a person’s standing before God is not built on works but on faith in Christ alone. The gospel message offers God’s free gift of salvation which brings a repenting sinner into peace with God, joy in ones’ heart and a real assurance about heaven and home. For more about this see Romans chapter 5 in the Bible.
It was this Gospel which was the heartbeat of Patrick and the early Celtic Christians in Ireland whose message overturned a pagan culture and put Ireland to the forefront of vibrant Christianity in what became the golden era of our Irish culture.
At various times in the following centuries the truth of this gospel was rediscovered and fresh outpourings of the Holy Spirit took place. In the late 1700’s John Wesley travelled extensively throughout Ireland and a fresh vibrant Gospel took hold of the spiritual lives of thousands of people. Though he himself did not visit Bantry some of his followers did and their preaching of the Gospel soon had an effect on a number of families in Bantry who in turn reached out to their neighbours and friends. This was in the early 1800’s but the effect of this movement continued in Bantry until the 1970’s.
The early 1980’s saw a fresh interest in the Bible and a new movement of God’s Spirit in Ireland, and this began to impact Bantry also. People began to meet in homes to worship and pray. There was an expectancy of what God would do. David Ross the present pastor of BCF had begun some outreach work in Bantry in 1979, and on his return from Northumbria Bible College in England in 1981 it seemed to be the Lord’s time and place to continue to reach out with the simple Gospel message in a variety of ways. As the 1980’s drew to a close a house had been purchased at Church Road which served as a meeting room for what had now become Bantry Christian Fellowship . . . a small group of people whose lives had been changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and who were eager to meet for fellowship, Bible study and prayer. The untimely death of David’s first wife in 1988 further underlined the power and beauty of the Gospel message in the face of adversity.
It was in 1991 that Bantry Christian Fellowship entered into a new stage and became a church in its own right. Sunday morning meetings began as people came to realize this was their church family. The church soon became affiliated to the Association of Irish Evangelical Churches, some thirty like-minded independent evangelical churches who serve in almost every town in Ireland. Since then we have continued to grow both in numbers and in spiritual depth.
The church soon outgrew its premises at No 3, Church Road and the search began for a larger building. A derelict site near the Quay was being developed by local builders Murnane and O,Shea, and after lengthy negotiations a new purpose built church was constructed which is now the property of the trustees of Bantry Christian Fellowship Church. It is a multi-purpose building, right in the heart of Bantry. It is available at a moderate rent for the use of community groups as well as serving the needs of BCFC.
And so, Bantry Christian Fellowship Church follows in the tradition of many centuries of vibrant Christian witness in Bantry. We believe that the person and message of the Lord Jesus Christ is the key to the fulfillment of life as the Maker intended. We look for new and effective ways to get this message across, yet we know that the most effective message is the way we live our lives.
A Photo from the Church Dedication
Visitors to south-west Ireland are welcome to our Sunday morning meeting in Bantry at 11.00am.
For further details ring 00 353 28 31547, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit AIEC@irishchristian.com
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