Rev Dave Sweeney has taken up the reins at Ballymena Methodist Church.
Dave was born in Coleraine. His father, Brian was also a Methodist Minister. As a result, his formative years were spent in various parts of the province. It was when the family moved to Holywood in County Down that Dave met his wife, Carol.
The couple have three grown-up sons, Ethan, Daniel and Aaron.
Dave accepted Jesus as his Saviour as an eleven-year-old during a mission at Letterbreen Methodist Church in County Fermanagh when Rev Dr Ken Wilson was speaking.
A past pupil of Fivemiletown High School, Dave later studied Chemistry as Queen’s University in Belfast before working in the Digital Printing and Photocopying industry for 14 years.
Talking about what led him into full time Christian Ministry, Dave remembered:
“I actually stayed in the accommodation at Edgehill College for two years while I was at Queens and at the end of my time there, I wondered whether I would be back.
“The sense of call to ministry was always in the background and although I tried to push it away for many years, God kept calling and eventually I relented.”
After a three-year spell as Edgehill, Dave’s first stationing was at Fivemiletown.
He remarks: “This was interesting because I went to school there and grew up in the area. It was a blessing to be in contact with people there again and to see how their lives had moved on.”
From there, Dave and the family moved to Bloomfield Methodist Church in East Belfast, a congregation located on the edge of the Orangefield Housing Development.
“The people there were all very welcoming”, he recalls, “All three of our boys reached adulthood there and they regard it as their hometown in many ways.”
Mentioning his latest posting, Dave added: “We come to Ballymena with a little knowledge of the area as I have known a few people from Ballymena for more years than I care to mention through church and summer camp when I was a youngster.
“It is interesting coming to a place that I know a little about although not too much. There will be plenty to find out and I am looking forward to that.”
He went on to say “I hope to love people, to share the good news with them and to walk with God alongside them. That is a privilege of ministry and it is what you are there for – the highs and lows of life as well as the in-between moments.”
Outside Church, Dave enjoys running on most days and hill-walking with Carol. Together they look forward to exploring the beautiful hills of Antrim.
Find out more about Ballymena Methodist Church on their website here.