A special farewell service was held in Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, Belfast on Friday January 27 to honour Dr Ian R K Paisley (Lord Bannside) and mark his retirement after 65 years of ministry on the Ravenhill Road, in Northern Ireland and across the world.
The Rev Alan Smylie (Ballygowan), Interim Moderator and Deputy Moderator of Presbytery, presided and welcomed Lord Bannside and Baroness Paisley and also their many friends, colleagues and well wishers who packed the church to capacity for this historic occasion giving thanks for the love, friendship and fellowship over a 65 year ministry from which many had been richly blessed.
Moving tributes charting the life and exemplary ministry of the founder father and former moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster were paid by: Dr John Douglas (Lisburn), Rev Kyle Paisley (Oulton Broad), Rev James Beggs (Former minister of J Kyle Paisley Memorial, Ballymena), Dr Bill Woods OBE (Missionary in Brazil), Dr Bob Jones (USA) and Dr Brian Green (London). Scripture lessons were read by Dr Ian Brown (Clerk of Presbytery).
Items in song were brought by Dr Fred Greenfield (Dunmurry); Magill Family; Dr William McCrea MP (Magherafelt); and the Youth Fellowship and Children’s Workers (Martyrs). Peter Lunn presided at the organ and Mrs Joan Parkes presided at the piano and led the hearty celebratory praise of two of Dr Paisleys favorite hymns, ‘Psalm 124’ and the great Gospel hymn, ‘Tis old, yet ever new’.
Presentations were made to Lord Bannside and Baroness Paisley and both responded with thanks and gratitude. Supper was served afterwards in the Jubilee Complex.
In his closing message, Dr Ron Johnstone, Moderator of Presbytery, explained that the term powerful, in a spiritual sense, can be applied to relatively few men and those who have had the honour and privilege of knowing and working alongside Dr Ian Paisley recognise him to be a man upon whom the power of God has rested in an unusual manner.