Christ Church Parish, Lisburn, held a Service of Welcome for its new curate, the Rev Julie Bell, on Sunday August 30.
The service was followed by a reception in the hall, when Julie spoke of her faith, call and hopes for her curacy.
Julie was born and raised in Belfast and was a pupil of Victoria College. During her teenage years she was a violin student at the City of Belfast School of Music, and at 16 began organ lessons through the Church of Ireland Down and Dromore and Connor Organ Scholarship Scheme. At the age of 15 she committed her life to Christ and was confirmed in Knockbreda Parish Church.
She went on to study music at Queen’s University Belfast, completing a BMus and an MA, in which she specialised in violin performance and performance practice research. During her final two years at Queen’s she was leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra.
Following university, Julie worked as a freelance violinist and teacher. She began work as organist and director of music in Bangor Parish in 2004 and then in Hillsborough Parish in 2008. It was out of these years spent quietly studying scripture, preparing services, and thinking creatively about how we might best nurture and strengthen people of all ages in their faith through worship that she eventually began to discern a calling to ordained ministry.
In 2012 Julie began training for ordination at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and was ordained deacon in September 2014. Julie served her internship in Glenavy Parish. She is a member of the Church of Ireland Liturgical Advisory Committee, and worked on the subcommittee which prepared ‘Thanks and Praise,’ a supplement to the Church Hymnal which was published earlier this year.
Julie and three others will be ordained priests at a service in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on Sunday September 6.
Julie’s proud mum Diana is a receptionist in Church of Ireland House, Belfast.