Signs of Revival

Growth in a local parish

For almost twenty years I have been taking a service every year in a parish in East Belfast at the beginning of July, mostly when the rector is away.  The people are warm and friendly and I enjoy my annual visits.  But I could not help noticing over the years that numbers were beginning to dwindle, and a year or two ago seemed to me to be pretty small.  So I was pleasantly surprised to go on the usual Sunday in July, 2011 and to find the church well packed.  It was buzzing in a way that I had not seen before.  Recently I talked again to the Rector and he assured me that is the way it is every Sunday now, comfortably packed.  This is an ordinary parish in East Belfast and I just wonder is this growth a sign of the revival that is coming.  We have between 500 and 600 people who have been praying for revival for 2 ½  years, since the venture was launched in 2009, and I dare to believe that this very considerable growth is a sign that our prayers are being answered.

I have found the same thing in West Belfast.  A Rector has worked faithfully there for 20 years and all of a sudden very steady growth is starting to take place.  Numbers attending worship are the best since he has gone there.  From August until Christmas 5 or 6 individuals in the congregation have given their lives to Christ. A number of men with a paramilitary background are now coming to church.  Some have become committed Christians.  An ordinary parish in an area which suffered a great deal in the Troubles.  Is this another encouraging sign that revival is beginning?

At the other end of the scale a friend in Bangor who goes to a Presbyterian Church told me that in a church which holds 800 people they are having to put out extra chairs every Sunday.  This growth has been happening steadily in recent times.  Young people are very well represented in this church.

Is this another sign that revival is beginning?

David Jardine, December 2011