Sunday brought to an end the faithful ministry of Rev Brian Gibson and his wife Jean in Railway Street Presbyterian Church as Brian retired after almost twenty years in office.
Following a packed morning service at which Communion was served, the evening service took the form of celebration and thanksgiving for Rev Gibson’s dedicated ministry.
Representatives of all the major city churches, colleagues from the Presbyterian Assembly, public representatives, family and friends from far afield attended the service.
The respect and love felt for Brian and Jean by their congregation and the wider community were expressed amid scenes of laughter and tears.
The service was conducted by Rev Brian Gibson, with Rev Douglas Mark giving the sermon.
A solo was sung by Mr Colin Elliott, Principal of Brownlee Primary School, and prayers were led by Mrs Adeline McKibben (Railway Street Congregation) and Rev Andrew Thompson, formerly Assistant Minister in Railway Street and now Minister of Elmwood Presbyterian Church.
Tributes were given by Rev Uel Marrs (Secretary of the Board of Mission Overseas), Rev Andrew Thompson, Mr Colin Elliott, Rev Brian Anderson (Seymour St Methodist and representing Lisburn City Centre Ministers’ Fellowship) and Railway Street Clerk of Session, Mr Roger Thompson. Roger paid tribute to Brian’s pastoral gifts and dedication Presentations were made to Brian by Dr Robin Coulter (Congregational Secretary) and to Jean by Mrs Jean Murray (Leader of the Pastoral Care Action Team).
Brian began his ministry in 1979 as Assistant Minister in Ulsterville Presbyterian Church. Following ordination in 1981, Brian and Jean undertook mission service in Kenya for eight years with their young family, son Andrew and daughter Sarah Jane.
After four years in Windsor Presbyterian Church, Brian became minister of Railway Street in 1994. His continuing interest in mission overseas was shown by his appointment as Convenor of the Africa, Caribbean and Latin America Committee (PCI), a position he held from 1991 until 1999.
In all his work he was ably supported by his wife Jean, herself a gifted speaker and published author of inspirational Christian books, as well as leading the NI branch of the charity Care for the Family until her recent retirement.
Brian and Jean hope to continue their work in different areas of Christian service, both at home and overseas.