A new face has joined our Church Army team at Connect Base, Connor’s North Belfast Centre of Mission.
Stephen Fitzgerald, who goes by Ste, is a native of Liverpool, but has been living in Northern Ireland since moving here to enrol in Charis Bible College in 2013. He has just finished working with Jordanstown Christian Centre where he was involved in many areas of ministry for eight years, primarily focusing on youth work and worship.
Ste, 52, met his wife Fiona at Jordanstown Christian Centre during the pandemic, and the couple married last year.
Ste’s childhood was spent in the Toxteth area of Liverpool which he says was ‘a difficult place to grow up.’
“I was born into large inner-city family that had no or little Christian input,” he said. “I left school with no qualifications and was heading nowhere, drifting in the world until I fully heard the Gospel of Jesus and the Lord’s gift of transformation through his forgiveness.”
Ste was 23 when he attended the Linacre Methodist Mission in north Liverpool, before going to a New Wine festival in southern England. Here, he said, ‘I was wonderfully filled with the Holy Spirit; my life was transformed from any earlier life of unemployment, loneliness and a worldly lifestyle of drink and drugs.’
Ste got his first taste of youth work when volunteering with the Presbyterian Church USA in Los Angeles and later went to university in Liverpool to study Youth and Community Studies.
He moved to the Bethany Christian Trust in Edinburgh, working with the homeless, coming to Belfast to enrol in Charis Bible College in 2013.
He describes this a ‘great experience’ which led to the job in Jordanstown Christian Centre.
Ste is just settling into his new role, visiting the churches in the Mid Belfast Rural Deanery and getting stuck into the Glencairn Community Garden, with guidance from Evangelist Stephen Whitten and the volunteers there – gardening, he admits, is new to him!
He has been leading Bible Studies and spoke at the JAM Service in St Andrew’s.
Ste added that he is enjoying getting to know people in the area. “My heart’s desire is to see the Lord Jesus change peoples’ lives and for transformation in communities take place. To see his Church be the family God has called us to be,” he said.
The North Belfast Centre of Mission is located in St Columba’s Parish Church, Whiterock. Lead Evangelist is Sister Karen Webb.