Brian is Odyssey Team Leader and Development Officer.
Brian joined Nightlight in 1995 as a volunteer after being involved in a very successful outreach project in Orangefield Park in East Belfast. In 2006 he became a full-time member of the staff team, leading the work in the Odyssey complex.
During his time at Nightlight he has seen many changes; the growth in nightclubs and pubs, as well as the vast expansion of the entertainment areas and the extension of opening hours have allowed clubs to open later and later. He enjoys the opportunity to have many conversations with the people who visit or work at the Odyssey, often covering a whole range of subjects.
Brian is an Elder in Bloomfield Presbyterian Church and is married to Pauline. They have a son and a daughter.
In September Nightlight will celebrate 20 years of,‘Proclaiming and Demonstrating the Kingdom of God through Word and Action.’ All involved with Nightlight thank God for His goodness and continued direction for the future development of this vital city ministry. We have been grateful for the many opportunities afforded to us by various churches and groups, to come along to explain what Nightlight does in the ‘wee early hours’, when most of us are safely tucked up in bed. It is good to share what God is doing in this city and beyond.
The Nightlight teams are divided into three areas, the Golden Mile (Botanic Avenue down to Howard street in the City centre), the Odyssey Complex and the Cathedral Quarter. The Golden Mile team is led by Linzie Cobain, and the Odyssey and Cathedral Quarter is led by Brian Simons. Both Linzie and Brian are grateful for the support of willing team members who give of their time, in all kinds of weather, to share God’s love with all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds.
Each weekend, on Botanic Avenue, the Golden Mile team set up a tea table that has proven, over the years, to be a great point of contact with the hundreds of people who frequent this part of the town. Folk coming and going from bars and nightclubs will regularly stop for a chat and a cup of tea or coffee. The conversations that take place are so varied, like the individuals we meet, but our aim is always to listen and share the Good News. Conversations can last a few minutes or two hours but are never considered wasted, even with those who claim to be unwavering atheists. The Golden Mile team have been greatly encouraged in the last year with the ongoing building of good relationships with the door staff at various pubs and nightclubs. There have been many opportunities to explain to them the reason for the presence of Nightlight in the area and the ‘Bouncers’ have never been short of questions to ask. Worthwhile contacts also continue to be made with ex-prisoners, their families, and also the homeless. Sadly, one factor which unites so many of the folk that the team members talk with, is the abuse of alcohol and drugs and in many cases both. Please remember in your prayers the Golden Mile team; that God would continue to keep them safe and use them for His Glory in this part of town.
The Odyssey plays host to many people attending the only remaining nightclub in the building, ‘The Box’, as well as ‘Rockies Sports Bar’ and other entertainment. The team there deal mostly with young people, in the nightclub and bar, who each weekend try to find entertainment and friendship, usually accompanied by too much alcohol. Often young people will be removed from the club/bar by security staff because they are intoxicated or causing trouble. The strangest ‘fact’ of all is that quite a number leave very early on of their own accord admitting that they did not want to be there in the first place. They just followed peer pressure and agreed to go with a group of friends. Many young people show a sense of disappointment with this kind of lifestyle and often reveal to team members that they come from families with strong church connections. Please pray for the many and exciting conversations which take place in this building each weekend.
Across the River Lagan from the Odyssey is the Cathedral Quarter. There, the Nightlight team meet with usually a slightly older crowd, again enjoying a night out with friends.The team often have more in-depth conversations and experience less problems with people showing signs of alcohol abuse. Sadly, this area of town has a higher percentage of people living rough on the streets. Brian, the team leader, also spends one day a week in the Dock Café chatting and sharing the Gospel with people in a relaxed and informal manner. Brian has spoken with office workers, tourists, unemployed folk and students and so the list could go on. There have even been opportunities to have Bible studies. Both Odyssey and Cathedral Quarter team members, like the Golden Mile team, would value your prayers as they seek, with God’s help, to make Christ known to all those with whom they come in contact.
To download a printable PDF of Simon's reports visit the Mission Reports listing at the top.