As we headed out of Enniskillen Jeanette said, ‘It’s always good to be back in Fermanagh!’ We had just had tea with some friends, and we visited others before we left, but the main reason for our visit on Friday, 23 September was the induction of Jonathan Graham. Enniskillen was the church of my childhood and teenage years. I was taught faithfully in Sunday School and Bible Class by Doris Stinson and Tom McDaniel (both now in glory) and baptised by then pastor Alvin Mullan. We also know Jonathan and June through our time as members of Mullaghmeen Baptist Church and we were delighted to receive an invitation to attend.
The History of the Call
What an encouragement to go into a packed and recently re-decorated building, with ancillary rooms being used. The meeting was ably chaired by Stephen Scott (deacon) and started with greetings and an opening prayer by Ian Jones - Fermanagh Christian Fellowship. Following the first hymn, the history of the call was related by Roy Robinson (deacon). Roy recounted how he had got to know Jonathan through his work with CEF. He explained that over the years Jonathan had helped the church in children’s work and with his ‘big red double decker Lego bus’. More recently however, during a pastoral vacancy (following the retirement of Howard McNally) and during COVID, Jonathan had been helping with Sunday Services. This led to the church discussing the vacancy with Jonathan and June and the consequent call to take up the role of pastor.
The Act of Induction
Harry Dowds pastor in Stonepark, conducted the act of induction. Jonathan replied, highlighting Isaiah 6:8 ‘Here am I. Send me’, which he had committed to as a teenager. Jonathan’s desire to share the gospel was evident. Andy Compton, pastor in Mullaghmeen, prayed for Jonathan and June and the family (Matthew, Timothy, Ethan and Naomi-Jane), before the right hand of fellowship was extended to Jonathan, June and their eldest son Matthew.
The Sufficiency of Christ
Harry Dowds spoke powerfully and clearly from John 21 reminding Jonathan about his need to rely on the sufficiency of Christ, his need to love Christ which will lead to a love for his sheep and the importance of feeding the sheep as well as the privilege of shepherding. Harry concluded by encouraging the congregation to live sacrificially (Romans 12:1), which after all was the purpose of shepherding. After the singing of another hymn, Dave Ramsey extended greetings from the Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland.
The church in Enniskillen is small numerically but big in heart, so please pray for the work of God as Jonathan leads, that the believers would be strengthened in their faith. Pray too that the witness, which started in 1966 as a churchplant from Stonepark under Bobby Hodgen, will continue and that the gospel will be proclaimed to the large number of people who live in and around the church and in the wider Enniskillen area.
It is always good to be back in Fermanagh and for those of you who enjoy visiting that beautiful county, why not pop into one of our churches there and encourage your brothers and sisters in their work in the gospel.
This News Article was first published in the ABCI Insight Magazine, Dec 22 - Jan 23 Edition. For more information or enquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org