Priesthill (Zion) Methodist

“centred in Christ, caring for people”

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The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds
has come;
Song of Solomon 2v12

History

Why A Youth Club At Priesthill (Zion) Methodist Church
(by: Margaret Patterson)

During 1969 God really challenged me about serving Him. I went on an outreach team with Evangelical Youth Movement ((E.Y.M.) and saw how God answered prayer for the different events. It was then discussed with the minister of Priesthill, Rev. John Fee about doing something for the youth in the Priesthill (Zion) area. After all there were 5 estates and very little for teenagers to do. After some discussion it was decided in September 1970 to open a youth club for the 14 + age group. We borrowed a table tennis table and bought some table games. We had an epilogue at the end of each night where someone told what Jesus Christ meant to them - some nights we had gospel groups to sing and speak of their faith in Jesus. Sometimes we went swimming, roller skating or to a leisure centre for football etc. There were a lot of young people came. During the months of May/June we went for walks or Pony Trekking near Newcastle (Co. Down) and at the end of the season had a Barbecue.

In 1972 the Church built a new hall, we did a sponsored walk to Newcastle (26 miles) to help with the finance. The new building gave us a lovely kitchen and 2 halls where we could have badminton and some of the members of the Youth Club made their own table tennis table. Having kept in touch with E.Y.M. they helped us organise special outreach weekends and sometime a full week of Coffee Bars where groups would sing, someone (usually Mr. Uel Finlay) would speak using the Bible to challenge us. Round coffee and biscuits the young people would have an opportunity to ask questions and express their thoughts on God, the Church and Christians. Many of them saw their need of a Saviour and trusted Jesus Christ to forgive their sins and change their lives. There would have been up to 150 young people at the coffee bars. Prayer times were held both for the youth club and for the special outreach.

During the year we would have had socials were young people came together for a night's fun and it was a good way for us to raise money for the youth club and also for other charity work. The young people would have come from all over Northern Ireland and there would have been a musical group playing. At the Christmas social there could have been up to 400 (nearly standing room only) so it was decided to hire a larger hall at the Lisburn Leisure centre for this one ending up with up to 600 young. People.

During the 1980's there were a few changes in leadership and in 1985 Mr Michael McCarthy became leader. During this time as well as the usual youth club activities the youth club had week-ends away, sometimes to Ardnabannon outdoor pursuits centre, Castlewellan, Newcastle Y.M.C.A. or to the South of Ireland. Once we even took a group to the isle of Aaron in Scotland. At these weekends there were activities such as canoeing, mountain climbing, absailing, sailing and walking. This was also a great time when everyone could get to know one another better.

Over the years we really knew God with us in many different ways and it is good to see the youth club still going to-day and now some of the sons/daughters of former members coming. If you want to know more about what happens check on the welcome for the night, time and come along.