Phyllis has been a Deaconess at West Church Ballymena since 1988. She spends most of her time visiting parishioners offering pastoral support and she also develops pastoral care courses.
Phyllis enjoys leading worship on a regular basis and she also counsels people with alcohol addiction problems and families with relationship difficulties. She leads the GriefShare course that runs in the congregation supporting people who have been bereaved. Phyllis has implemented a friendship club for ethnic families in the local area in partnership with three other churches and the Inter Ethnic Forum.
Phyllis was brought up in Newry and attended Sandys Street Presbyterian Church. She worked in Belfast as an Executive Officer in the Civil Service at Stormont. Phyllis is married to David.
I have been reading a book recently and in it the author asked this question, “If money was no object, what would you do for free?” When I thought about that question my answer was – “work as the deaconess in West Church in Ballymena.” Why would I do it for free?
First, the joy that it is to sit with a young woman and lead her to faith in Jesus is worth more than money can buy. To give out “Journey into life” booklets to people and start them on a search for Jesus, is money well spent.
Second, it is nothing short of a privilege to sit with individuals and families and pray with them when the worst news has been given, and the biggest crisis in their life has exploded.
Third, to open God’s Word in a sermon and just let the Holy Spirit speak to a person’s soul is the most powerful thing we can ever initiate.
Fourth, it’s amazing to lead a GriefShare Course and see people move from mourning to joy, leave unforgiveness behind, and find acceptance and healing in God.
Fifth, it’s so encouraging to watch women use their gifts in Women’s Ministry and see them go at God’s calling and make a meal at the International Meeting Point - and they have plans to go again!
Sixth, to be involved in Hope Café (café church) on a Sunday afternoon as we seek to draw people into worship who either never or rarely come to church, is exciting.
Seventh, to be able to say, when opposition to the work comes, or people disappoint and fall away, that this is still the best job in the world. Surely that is the best tribute I can pay to the privilege of serving God over this last 12 months.