More than 180 people attended the third annual Clive West memorial lecture at All Saints Church, Belfast on February 20 by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.
The Bishop is President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue and former Bishop of Rochester.
The evening began with an introduction from trustees Mr David Scholes and the Rev Tim Anderson (St Elizabeth’s) who spoke of the trust’s inspiration: God’s powerful work through the ministry of the Rev Clive West (All Saints, 1984-2000).
Well known amongst his contemporaries and juniors for his profound love of the Bible and a passion for teaching the next generation of pastor-teachers, Clive’s ministry sparked the establishment of a Trust which aims to assist young men through their increasingly expensive ministry education, where fees and living expenses can reach up to £100,000 over three to four years. Were Clive ever to place his own name at the head of a cause (he most certainly wouldn’t!) this would undoubtedly be it, the audience was told.
The rector of All Saints, the Rev Trevor Johnston, said the topic of the evening was particularly relevant.
“In a society which increasingly harbours a distaste for claims of truth: ‘Only one way?’ – Confidence in the unique Christ in our multi-cultural, multi-faith world was a title guaranteed to strike close to the heart of our culture’s sacred calves of diversity and tolerance,” he said.
The lecture was poignant and insightful as Bishop Nazir-Ali demonstrated the uniqueness and relevance Jesus brings to bear on every worldview, from hardened atheists to devout Muslims.
Trevor said: “His many years in ministry have undoubtedly allowed him to witness the truth of the gospel penetrate the hearts and minds of people from every spiritual persuasion, bringing to mind the truthful words of the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians: ‘We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.’”
Discussion continued afterwards in a lively Q&A session, primarily addressing the merits of interfaith dialogue and alternative strategies to reach those from differing cultures and backgrounds. Bishop Nazir-Ali’s responses were extremely wise and helpful, provoking conversations which overflowed into tea and coffee at the close of the evening.
“Despite the annual Clive West memorial lecture’s relative youth, this yearly meeting is fast becoming a date to mark well in advance on the calendar,” Trevor said. “The aim of the Trust should sit close to the heart of every believer, but perhaps especially so for faithful Anglicans who wish to see the gospel preached and the next generation of leaders taught with excellence for the growth of Christ’s church on our island.”
For more information or to make a donation, please visit http://www.westtrust.co.uk.