The first speaker on Thursday evening came from London City Mission. Of Pakistani background, he gave a interesting presentation on reaching out to immigrant communities in East London.
Yet I was looking forward primarily to hearing Dr Trevor Morrow. It was Trevor Morrow's preaching that first drew me to Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church. Helen was then my girl-friend and it was Trevor Morrow who performed our wedding ceremony all those years ago.
At that time Trevor was an Associate Minister in Hamilton Road. I believe it was Trevor who first introduced "Fellowship Groups" into the church. I have been attending a Fellowship Group for 10 years nowand this ministry in our church seems to be still growing.
Trevor Morrow as Moderator-designate
After leaving Hamilton Road, Trevor left to become Minister at Lucan, Co Dublin. He took over a run-down building and congregation. Today the fellowship is thriving. It has undertaken a "church plant" into another nearby town of Co Dublin. And Trevor has been elected the youngest-ever Moderator of the Oresbyterian Church in Ireland.
In his address, Dr Morrow told us that that he was primarily a Bible expositor. He took his text from the Book Of Acts Chapter 1, verses 1-9.
Dr Morrow told us that mission today is considered to be a proactive effort whereby missionaries search out opportunities and then pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and bless them. Yet in the Book of Acts, mission was primarily reactive rather than proactive. People were in various circumstances when God called them. It was 30 years ago that God revealed to Trevor a call to mission in the South of Ireland.
Trevor's career to work in the Irish Republic began in the very same pulpit where Trevor was now preaching. The vehicle was a series of sermons on the Prophet Jonah, whom Trevor called a "bigot". God called Jonah to preach to the Assyrians. Because of Jonah prejudice against the Assyrians, Jonah took ship in precisely the opposite direction, bringing God's judgement on the entire ship and its crew.
Likewise we are being called to proclaim the Word of God to the entire island of Ireland; and we have suffered God's judgement on us for failing to carry out that task. It was after completing the sermon series that Trevor's wife, Charis, revealed to Trevor that "he was Jonah" i.e. he was being called to the South of Ireland.
Lucan lies 100 miles away from Bangor yet culturally so different, at least in those days! Protestants kept a low profile, they kept their head down and hoped not to be noticed. Evangelical Protestants make up only 0.05 per cent of the population.
Dr Trevor Morrow after his address
It was the brilliant Cardinal Cullen (1803–78, Archbishop of Armagh 1849, Cardinal 1850) after the First Vatican Council, Trevor claimed, during the period of Catholic renaissance, who successfully inculcated through the education and other measns, the notion that to be Irish was to be Catholic. The corollary to this was to create the belief among the Protestants of the North that Home Rule equals Rome Rule. The Roman Catholic Church affected every aspect of life in the South, it was all-embracing.