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Our church - the Metropolitan Tabernacle Belfast

Our website wouldn't be complete without a link to our church. The Metropolitan Tabernacle started with 10 people back in 1957, but the numbers grew so quickly that new churches had to be built in 1969, again in 1981, and finally the building which you see pictured which was opened on 19th February 1994 (this picture is a few years old now and the fence which is spoiling the photo has now been replaced by a much smaller wall).

Currently the church has a congregation of around 2000 people, although the building will accommodate up to 1000 more than that, which is useful as many visitors come to the regular meetings, not to mention special events such as concerts and musicals.

The church has 5 main meetings per week, aside from smaller prayer meetings, etc. Since 1995 I have been part of the team responsible for sound, video and lighting in the church.


The technical facilities

The sound system consists of two digital mixing desks - one for live sound and one for audio and video recording. A new line array speaker system was installed in 2009. Talkback is provided between stage, sound, video and lighting. 

The church streams the main services live (audio and video) direct to the internet.

So why is church so important to us? Well, I was saved when I was 14 and Fiona when she was 16 (we were both saved in other churches, and before we met!). After that we began to look for a lively, evangelical church which catered for the needs of young people as well as the other age groups, and I believe that this is what we have found at 'The Met'.

However, what I have been able to give here is only a very, very brief overview of what goes on in the place. If you're interested, I can't recommend our church's website highly enough. Visit it - I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed!!!

Here are some pictures:


New video studio under construction - March 2001


New video studio - September 2003


Audio studio (just before refurbishment) - September 2003


Old audio studio mixing desk


Update June 2005:

Here, finally, are a few pics of the new church audio studio!

New audio studio - June 2005


Audio studio desk - June 2005


Audio studio equipment room - June 2005




My testimony:

My church page wouldn't be complete without the very reason for its inclusion in my personal website, and that is my own personal faith in Christ Jesus as my Saviour. Sadly we are living in intolerant days when even to say such a thing can have one perceived as a religious fanatic or a wierdo. And if that's what you think of me while reading this, then that's fine! But I'm not really a wierdo (don't think so anyway :)). I'm just a regular guy who some years ago came to realise that this imperfect, trouble-laden life is not all there is (thank God), and that there's something better beyond it that is available for all who would accept it - God's unspeakable free gift to mankind! Such Christian beliefs and principles are what many great nations including the UK were built upon; sadly the prevalence of Christian beliefs and values is waning in this day and age, but thank God He remains the same!

Now I've heard many people give their testimonies over the years, and there have been plenty of 'juicy' ones among them - great stories of drug addiction, immorality, even criminality, and how God subsequently gloriously saved the person concerned. And we are unendingly thankful that God does do such great things and changes lives right around, and that so many precious souls have been saved from all of these things. If that is you then God can do the very same for you right now! My testimony on the other hand includes none of the above - so that means it's boring, right? Well perhaps. But boring or not, my testimony is every bit as important in the eyes of God as the 'juicy' ones! Why is that? Because while I was never involved in any of the above, and may even have been considered 'good' by human standards (although my parents may have disagreed with this during my teenage years!), in the eyes of God I was still a sinner and therefore like every other human being who ever lived, fell short of His perfect standards. But thank God He provided a way out for everyone who would accept it - the free gift of salvation through Christ Jesus, the one and only sacrifice for sin and the overcomer of death itself!

So I was born on 4th July 1968, into the Christian home of <name removed for privacy> and <name removed for privacy> McCormick. At that time my mum was saved, but my dad wasn't (but thank God he came to saving faith when I was in my 20s). I was taken to church from the day I was born and enrolled in Sunday School as soon as I was old enough. But until I was in my very early teens, that was it. It's so true: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger" - and that was exactly the case for me; church was a routine, and one that given the brevity of the weekend I sometimes felt I could do without! Now we attended a Methodist church in Belfast, and for those who don't know the Methodist Church rotate their ministers periodically (it used to be every 5 or 8 years, but I'm not sure if that is still the case). Around the turn of the (1980) decade, we got a new minister who was markedly evangelical. Now I don't recall anything happening right away with regard to my own conviction, but I did sit up and take notice the following year when my uncle got saved. In the months that followed that event, I began to feel a stronger and stronger conviction and desire to come to Christ. I can't explain it, and it wasn't the bight light, road-to Damascus type conversion, but I simply over a period of time felt an increasing need and desire to get right with God. This culminated in me telling my parents I wanted to get saved, and on the first Sunday in May of 1982 our minister prayed with me and I accepted Christ as my Saviour. Well when I say "I accepted", really that's just a turn of phrase as it was He who saved me - all glory goes to Him, always.

Now that's not the end of the story - far from it. I went on with God enthusiastically for a while, but as the months and years passed life got busy and my attention was distracted somewhat. Nothing particularly bad happened - I still went to church, and God had allowed me to be in a position of responsibility (looking after the sound recording ministry in the church). I even spent two summers in the church while I was at school, further building and improving the technical facilities, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, I had started to neglect reading God's word and spending time with Him in prayer, the very life-blood of the Christian life which is after all a personal relationship with God. Looking back I couldn't disagree that I had slipped into a somewhat backslidden state, despite my ongoing enthusiasm for the church and the technical ministry that I had been involved in. But it's wonderful how God puts the right situations and indeed the right people in the way of His children to wake them up and get them back on the straight and narrow. This happened for me when a Christian friend in school invited me to a gospel meeting in October 1985. Now I need to come clean here. As far as school was concerned I was a "secret disciple" - I hadn't told anyone there that I was saved (shame on me!). So I guess my friend had invited me and another unsaved guy because he thought we were both unsaved. Well I agreed to go and so did the other guy. Now I thought I was just going to another church service, but I was in for a shock. The preacher made an appeal at the end of the meeting (something that didn't happen in my own church) and the other guy put his hand up to get saved. After the meeting the friend who invited us asked me if I'd like to get saved too. So that was it - caught out! I had to come clean and say I'd got saved a few years previously but hadn't mentioned it at school. Looking back this taught me never to be afraid to identify myself with Christ - I was reluctant back then but I was a quiet shy teenager who "wouldn't say boo to a goose" as they say in Northern Ireland - I think it's safe to say I've changed a teeny bit since then! But God also got my attention that night and reminded me that I wasn't exactly where I needed to be with Him. It was time to get back on track and fully live for Him again.

It was around two years after that, in the autumn of 1987, when my life changed again as I moved from school to the big exciting world of university. In November of that year a friend invited me to Whitewell for the first time. I went with him and I can honestly say I hadn't experienced anything quite like it - the lively, enthusiastic worship and the sheer volume when the congregation belted out even the old 17th century hymns. And the powerful preaching of Pastor James McConnell, surely one of the great gospel preachers of our time. Again I felt that conviction, as there were still (and I guess always will be) things that were not 100% perfect in my life. So when Pastor McConnell made his appeal I prayed the sinner's prayer again, although I didn't put my hand up (I know now that it only needs to be - sincerely - prayed once!). Shortly after this, on 21st December 1987, I was invited to a small midweek house group run by a guy who used to go to the same church as me. I subsequently grew to love this house group, but it was on that first night there that I met the woman who was later to become my wife. Over the subsequent months I would say that circumstances that only God Himself could have brought about led to us getting together. It wasn't too long after that that I mentioned Whitewell and brought her to the Sunday evening service one night in the summer of 1988. Subsequently we decided to start going to Whitewell on Sunday nights, and in the summer of 1990 made the somewhat difficult decision to leave our respective churches and make Whitewell our church. But looking back we are glad we made this move and are thankful to God for making us part of this great church.

We got engaged at the end of 1990 and were married in Whitewell (the old church on the Whitewell Road) in 1993. Two years after that we were baptised. It was soon after that that we were asked by an assistant pastor if we would like to join the choir. Well we both politely declined, as neither of us were great singers. But he didn't give up trying to get us involved in something, and it wasn't long before I was privileged to become a part of the Whitewell technical team (sound engineer) and Fiona became involved in the church nursery. Good practice for when our own kids would come along! But I can't overstate how much more a part of the church I felt once I got properly involved, and would encourage every Christian to do something in their church rather than just sit in the meetings. In 1996 we had the privilege of joining a church trip to Israel, which was just fantastic and I can't wait to make a return visit at some point.

God blessed us with two wonderful children in 1999 and 2003. It's been an incredible blessing to be father to Rachel and Andrew, and I'm even more thankful that both of them have subsequently trusted Christ as their Saviour. I pray every day that God will continue to lead them on with Himself. As they grew up I brought them to Sunday School, as my parents had done with me, and ended up getting involved there on the technical side of things (helping with visual and audio aids), which I did for a number of years until my kids grew too old for Sunday School. At that time I felt it was right to move on from the Sunday School, although I have fond memories of my time being involved in that particular ministry.

In the 2000s Whitewell started two African missions, first in Kenya and then in Ethiopia. In 2008 I learned of a church trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Kenya outreach, but unfortunately by the time I found out about it there were no places left. I had done some research and although I had heard of Kilimanjaro, I had presumed that it was something that would be out of reach of most "normal" people. But it seemed this was not the case - it did not involve any technical climbing and was in fact one of the highest mountains in the world that didn't. I was confident that this was something I could maybe have a crack at - so was disappointed that I couldn't go. I did mention to one or two people though that if there was ever another such trip I'd be interested, and happily the very next year another trip to Kili was planned. I signed up and after a number of months of fairly tough training days (trekking the Mournes in Northern Ireland) we set off, flying to Nairobi and then across land to Arusha, Tanzania. What followed was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. To see the sun rise at the edge of the Kili crater, above the clouds at 19000ft above sea level and gasping for breath, was just fantastic. Sorry to use the word again, but it was an incredible privilege. It was also a privilege for both myself and Fiona to spend a few days helping out at the mission in Nyeri, Kenya afterwards.

Two years later in 2011, I had the chance to do it all over again with a sponsored trek to Mount Everest Base Camp. Again this was a stunning trip, although we got stuck for nearly a week in Lukla, Nepal on the way down, and couldn't get out due to persistent low cloud. Just adds to the memories I guess!

So if you still think my testimony is boring at this point (if you've made it this far), fair enough. But I am thankful that the lack of any "juicy" stuff in my unsaved days has given me much more time here to focus on the wonderful things that God has done for me after I was saved. And I haven't covered the half of it - I could go on to describe how I've felt the hand of God has been on my life since I got saved and also how I have experienced breathtaking instantaneous answer to prayer as well as the occasionally-necessary Divine correction of a heavenly Father. While things in my life have been far from perfect at times (spoiler: this is normal for everyone) and I have by all means had a few trials, I can only say looking back that I am "blessed beyond measure". To Him be the glory. It's my earnest prayer that for the rest of my life, however long or short that may be, He is able to use my talents and allow me to do more for Him. Noting that it is faith that saves us and not works; nevertheless salvation by faith produces works through a God-given desire to do something for Him. And when this life comes to an end, He has given me the assurance of eternal life and a place in His Kingdom, where sickness, sin and death are no more and where we will live in His presence for ever.

Sorry for waffling on. If you would like to know Christ as your Saviour and receive his wonderful free gift of eternal life, it's only a matter of a simple act of faith: asking Him to be your Saviour and telling someone about it. To ask Christ to be your Saviour simply pray a simple prayer (known as the 'sinner's prayer') - something like this:

Father God, I thank You for Your Son the Lord Jesus Christ. I come to You today in His name as a guilty, hell-deserving sinner. Thank You that He came into the world to save lost sinners like me. Thank You that He lived the sinless life that we could never live. Thank You that He died the death that we deserve for our sin (but which He did not), becoming the one and final sacrifice for the sins of all who would come to Him. Thank You that He rose again the third day, overcoming death and the grave for evermore. I now repent of my sin and ask Him to come into my heart and to be my Saviour for all time and eternity. From this moment on may I serve Him and live for Him until the day He returns or calls me home to be with Him. I ask it all in Your own name's sake. Amen.

If you prayed that and meant it, I believe that God will hear your prayer and will enter your heart and save you for time and eternity. If you did this I'd love to hear from you - please email me at (gffourrfftffourttwoxatsmadgavedotzorg) or leave a message on my guestbook. Please note though that I only occasionally review my guestbook messages, so apologies in advance if it is a while before I reply! If you leave a guestbook message with this info I will absolutely NOT publish it in my guestbook unless you specifically ask me to.

God bless,







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