A young Carrickfergus man has been ordained as the new pastor of Chelsea Community Baptist Church in the heart of London.
Stephen Silverson (23) was joined by family, friends and his fiance from America for the occasion, held on Sunday, August 11.
A former pupil of Carrick Grammar School, Stephen completed his A Levels and then took a gap year to decide if he wanted to pursue Christian work or a university course.
He had already been accepted by the University of Ulster to study Sports Science.
“After the year I decided to go into Christian ministry and moved over to England in January 2010 to work for a missions organisation for a year in Essex,” he told the Carrick Times.
“In February 2011 I moved up to London to work at Chelsea Community Baptist Church under Pastor John Anderson and was mentored and trained under Pastor John for a couple of years in our church’s Bible Institute.”
Stephen said it was wonderful to have the support and encouragement of his family and friends at his ordination service as he begins this important new chapter in his life.
“The service was simply the church recognising the calling of God on my life to be set apart to focus fully and ordained to the Gospel ministry.
“I am blessed to have the opportunity to pastor such a great, vibrant, multi-cultural church in the middle of one of the greatest cities in the world.
“I pray that God would do great things through Chelsea Community Baptist Church, that lives would be changed, and hearts reached with the gospel.
“I pray that many would come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Saviour through CCBC,” he said.
“I’d like to thank those who have so faithfully supported and encouraged me on this journey, in particular my mother Sandra, father John and sister Tori.”
Stephen described Chelsea Community Baptist as “a growing, Bible-believing church”. It is within just a couple of miles from some of London’s best known sites, such as Sloane Square, Westminster, Big Ben and Picadilly Circus and close to the home ground of Chelsea FC.
In his role as pastor, Stephen will be preaching every Sunday and Wednesday in the church services as well as setting the vision and overall aims for the church with the aim of reaching more people in the community with the Gospel.
“I will also be encouraging the congregation to grow in their faith and know the Bible better,” he said.
His work in the community will involve outreach throughout the area, including through a five-a-side football team, match day outreach at Chelsea FC matches and Starbucks Bible study at the local Starbucks in Fulham Broadway .
“We also do mass tract distribution to our community with church invites to special events, such as summer mission, Carols by Candlelight at Christmas, Harvest Service in autumn and our biggest day of the year - Friend Day every May,” he said.
As well as taking up the new challenges in the church, Stephen also recently became engaged to an American girl.
Plans are already underway for his marriage to Julia Ostertag in America on March 14, 2014.
Anyone who would like any further information on the work of Chelsea Community Baptist Church is welcome to check out the website www.chelseachurch.co.uk