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Fellowship Morning with VAL ENGLISH


Irish Baptist Networks organizes an annual open fellowship gathering during which we seek to learn more about the life and thoughts of one of our own. James Greenwood and the late, loved Roy McMullan were the last two men in the interviewee chair. On Thursday morning, October 20th at Newtownbreda Baptist church it was Val English who faced the questions with his usual good-humour, candor and wit.


Val was born in County Durham in a secure working-class family. His father was a bricklayer and an atheist and his mother an agnostic. He was one of six children, four of whom died in infancy and, when it came to burial, the negative attitude of the church authorities towards unbaptized children did nothing to improve his mother’s view of Christians!

Nevertheless, the witness of an aunt and the local Brethren Assembly resulted in young Val coming to know and follow Jesus. A godly gentleman from the Assembly took Val to the Keswick Convention and it was there that he received a call to ministry. His strong conviction, since his call to be a preacher, has always been for evangelism. Although Val feels that he is not an evangelist his ministry has always had a major evangelistic dimension. Doing the work of an evangelist comes easily to him.


Val studied at London Bible College and worked for a while as a Welfare Officer during which time he met the love of his life, Eileen, who was then working with vulnerable children.  They married and after a period of itinerant preaching  and evangelism Val received a call to the pastorate of Douglas Baptist Church on the Isle of Man. Ulster folk holidaying in Douglas carried good reports back home and this resulted in a call to Monkstown Baptist Church and the beginning of Val’s major contribution to the life of Irish Baptist churches.


He travelled widely with the Evangelizations Society for a while and subsequently joined the staff at Belfast Bible College. It was at this time that he initiated a course among prisoners out of which grew some lasting friendships.


Before long Val came to the attention of Newtownbreda Baptist Church. They soon called him to become their pastor. His ministry at Newtownbreda saw the church grow and made a lasting impression in that part of the city. Inevitably word got around and soon Val and Eileen were called north to the seaside where Val became pastor of Portstewart Baptist Church.  


Retirement does not appear to be part of the formula for this man. Since the conclusion of his ministry in Portstewart Val continues preaching every Sunday and is active in evangelistic missions and Bible teaching.


When asked, “Are there any issues on which you have significantly changed your mind since entering Christian ministry?”  Val replied with tongue in cheek and a knowing smile, “No, I was right then and I’m still right!”  


God bless you, Val, we are so glad that He sent you and Eileen to live and serve among us.  You quote William Carey whose secret was…I press on. Keep at it brother!