Rev Brian Boyd to retire from Kells & Eskylane Presbyterian Churches

Worshippers at Kells & Eskylane Presbyterian Churches are preparing to say goodbye to their long-serving Minister, Rev Brian Boyd, who is set to retire from the County Antrim congregations after nearly 32 years.
Brian, his wife, Thelma and their sons, Andrew, Jonathan, and David arrived at the twinned charges on 17th June 1992.

Recalling how he felt before when he first stepped into the pulpits there over three decades ago, Brian said: “My first morning in Kells and Eskylane was daunting: it was much bigger than I had been used to. I remember thinking I am not worthy of this. How can I follow Stafford Carson? However, at my first ever midweek, there was a young man converted and that felt like a real seal of approval from the Lord.”

Looking back on some of the highpoints of his ministry, Brian went on to say: “I enjoyed working with young people I have to say in the days when I was young enough to be able to relate to them. The growth of our Campaigners clan has been a big highlight. I have enjoyed seeing people converted and watch those same people grow in faith with some becoming elders. Looking around the session at the minute, most of them came on to the session in my time, that’s been thrilling too.”

“Both congregations are full of warm and friendly people; they have a real desire to see new people coming in while also being very willing to embrace change. It was all summed up for me when we started Fit4Life. We were the first Church in the area to run it and some people found it hard to take. The first night it started, the ladies had an Aerobics class and I saw an elder called Willie Harkness, who was nearly 90 years old, heading across to it. I wondered what was happening, but Willie went in to do the aerobics with the ladies. He embraced the idea and showed that the session had got behind it and wanting people to get saved through it.”

Appropriately, Brian was also keen to pay tribute to those men who have served as Clerk of Session in either congregation throughout his ministry. In Kells, Jim Beattie, and Robin Carson, both now with the Lord, held the post before the present incumbent, Brian Turtle. In Eskylane, John Todd has performed the role with distinction for many years.

Brian remarked: “Jim was a real father in the Lord and the Godliest man you could ever meet. Robin was the best organiser I have ever known, and Brian Turtle is a lovely people person. John Todd’s commitment and Godliness is inspiring; one of the things that I am most thrilled about is the way in which the congregations of Kells & Eskylane have pulled together. Their exhibit a great sense of unity as evidenced by the joint midweeks and Christian Endeavour.”

During his time in Kells & Eskylane, Brian has also served as Convenor of the Drug & Alcohol Education Committee for PCI and been a member of the Church’s Judicial Commission. Both roles have, he says, been challenging yet rewarding.

As he looks towards retirement, Brian says: “I am looking forward to not having the responsibility for a congregation; but I am dreading saying goodbye to the people because they are my family. I love them to bits, and I find it hard to think of not being involved with them anymore. However, I clearly recognise that it is time for me to leave. My energy levels are not what they used to be, and I am also ready for a new challenge.”

“I also think that Kells & Eskylane need somebody to come in with youth and vigour who has new ideas. Whoever he is will not do things the way Brian Boyd did and that is right and proper. People must accept that and honour and love him and they will. The interesting thing is that Kells and Eskylane are two different places. Eskylane would be much more traditional but people who like that sort of worship deserve to have somewhere to go and the two places complement each other very well.”

Rev Brian Boyd to retire from Kells & Eskylane Presbyterian Churches
Rev Brian Boyd to retire from Kells & Eskylane Presbyterian Churches

Although Brian has some preaching engagements in the pipeline after retirement, he is looking forward to studying Hungarian and enhancing his links with the Church in Hungary as well as spending time at home. He and Thelma plan to become members of Muckamore Presbyterian Church.

Rev Brian Boyd’s final service will be in Kells Presbyterian Church on Sunday, 25th February 2024 at 6.30pm.