Pastor David settles in at Cullybackey Elim
EVERYONE at Cullybackey Elim Church is excited by the recent appointment of Mr. David Purse as the congregation's new Pastor.
David, (43), is joined by his wife, Donna and two youngest children, Matthew, (17) and Calvin, who is just eight. The couple’s eldest son, Jonathan, (20), is living in England.
Before accepting the call to Cullybackey, David had been Minister of two evangelical United Reformed Churches in Withernsea and East Hull in the Yorkshire for 18 years.
The move to Northern Ireland marks a return to home soil for Mr & Mrs. Purse; David was born in Belfast and grew up in Glengormley while Donna is a native of Ballyclare.
Raised in a Christian home, David’s formative years where spent in Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle under the ministry of Pastor James McConnell and where his own father, David Senior, was one of the founding Elders as well as Sunday School Superintendent.
Says David: “I grew up hearing the Gospel, knowing of God’s love for me and realising that I needed to be saved. My idea was that I would wait until I was in my wheelchair or using my zimmer-frame and then I would get right with God.”
“But when I was 13 years old, some events came together, I believe in the providence of God which brought me under conviction and one Sunday night after a gospel service at Whitewell, I gave my heart and life to the Lord Jesus.
“I have been saved for 30 years now and He has kept me, blessed and satisfied me”, smiles David.
A serious knee injury ended David’s hopes of a career in Engineering and he subsequently worked as a store-man for Woodsides Supermarket and a Waybridge Clerk for John Kelly Ltd, the coal importer.
Ever obedient to the call of God on his life however, David was ordained to the Christian Ministry at the age of 23. His first pastorate was a small church in Newry, which had been planted by members of Whitewell. He and Donna remained there for about two-and-a-half years before going to serve God in England.
Explaining how the opportunity to do this came about, David recalled: “The United Reformed Church would be a largely liberal denomination; but thank God, there is a fairly strong evangelical wing within it. However, with 1,700 churches and only 700 ministers, preachers going to a little seaside town were rare. But, the folks at Withernsea were getting saved and were adamant that they wanted to go something.”
“So, they sent a letter to Jim McConnell at Whitewell asking if he could help them. He mentioned this to me and after a period of time we ended up going initially on a two-year appointment to this United Reformed Church in England, but when the two years were up we believed that the Lord wanted us to stay so we did. Then, we were given a second Church to pastor 16 miles away in Hull, so for 14 of my 18 years in England I was Minister of two congregations”, continues David.
David and Donna loved there time at Withernsea and found it to be a great place to raise their children. Around this time last year however, the couple began to feel that they had done all the Lord wanted them to do in England and that it was time to return to Ulster.
Through his friendship with Elim Superintendent, Pastor Eric McCombe, David became aware of the impeding vacancy at Cullybackey.
In the Lord’s time, arrangements were made for David to preach there and have an informal meeting with the session. Both sides were impressed by what they saw and, about a week after his first visit, David was invited to become Pastor of the fellowship from 1st July.
Outlining the direction of his ministry in Cullybackey, David said: “My vision for the congregation is to continue on the tradition of my predecessors and just preach the Word. I believe in preaching and teaching biblically in order to make people think biblically because if people are thinking biblically then they are going to live biblically and to glorify God.”
He added: “I am just going to feed people. My plan is to increase their knowledge of God’s Word and the Lord Jesus, to inspire them to serve more and to go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come in.”
Pastor David stresses: “We want to see souls saved. We want to see people not just saved and stuck, but also growing in their faith, learning and increasing in knowledge and becoming more like Christ in our Church, our homes and our community so that God’s name will be glorified and magnified.”
“I want to build up all areas of the Church, not neglecting the old for the sake of the youth nor ignoring the youth for the sake of the old but instead try to blend all sides together. I want to see the congregation growing as one body of God’s people, reaching out and winning people for the Saviour”, he concludes.
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Weather for Ballymena
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South