When the Willowfield Church building appeared on the Woodstock Road in 1872 it was a prophetic symbol of God’s love for his people in east Belfast.
Built as a place to gather people together to worship God and to learn from His Word, it was put in place ready to welcome the people who would come to live in houses springing up all around the area.
Over the years Willowfield has always been a church that is strongly committed to our local community. We don’t believe it’s a co–incidence that God has placed us here, and we long to show His love and His good news in all sorts of practical ways to our neighbours. Our community has more than its fair share of challenges: long term unemployment, many families struggling to make ends meet, classified among the 10% most socially deprived in Northern Ireland, and still carrying many scars from the impact of 30 years of the Troubles. We are surrounded by people who don’t know Jesus and we know that we have a part to play in introducing him to them.
Willowfield Parish Community Association works in tandem with Willowfield Parish Church, reaching out to the local community. This close and strong relationship between WPC and WPCA is crucial to continuing to impact the local community at a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
“We believe that everything God places into our hands is given to us to bless others and so we are committed to reaching people with the Gospel of God’s love in Christ, making disciples, equipping and empowering people for leadership, helping to plant new congregations and bringing renewal by resourcing others in any and all ways that we can.”
As a local congregation we endeavor to make disciples of all age groups, caring for all ages and building a Christian community where all are equally valued and all get to serve.
Willowfield is a New Wine resource Church and as such is committed to ministry that is both rooted in the Scriptures, teaching God’s Word and seeing the gifts of the Holy Spirit exercised in all aspects of church life.
As part of the Church of Ireland we belong to the Diocese of Down and Dromore, where our Bishop Harold Miller provides vision and leadership to over 70 parishes spread across County Down, to the Ards Peninsula in the east and across to Portadown in the west.
Willowfield is lead by a rector and staff team, with responsibility for finance and our buildings being overseen by the Select Vestry and Church Wardens, who are elected each year at our AGM.
David and Hilary McClay came to Willowfield in 2001 when David was appointed Rector. As well as his role leading Willowfield David is also Archdeacon of Down which involves him in ministry within the Diocese a couple of days each week.
Willowfield is a growing group of people – across our different services there are 700–800 people worshipping with us on any given Sunday, but there is plenty of room for more. It can be hard to get to know people well in a big crowd, which is why we strongly encourage people to also belong to a Life Group or some other small group – to find friendship, fellowship, teaching, support, prayer and accountability.
Generally families feel most at home at our 10am and 11.30am services, those who like something quieter and more liturgical at 5.30pm, and 7pm focuses on worship, Bible teaching and ministry and attracts many of our young adults. There is a Holy Communion service at 8.30am once a month. Breakfast between 10am and 11.30am services gives the chance to connect with people who usually go to a different service from you.
There are lots of ways that you can get involved. Explore this website to find out more.