Bishop Harold visits Kilcooley boxing clubWednesday 09 January 2019
A bishop doesn’t usually need boxing gloves when he visits one of his parishes, but Bishop Harold gamely put on a pair when he recently dropped into St Columba’s Kilcooley to share his testimony.
For the next 10 weeks the church building is hosting an amateur boxing club as part of its ‘Fight the Good Fight’ outreach to the surrounding community.
It’s hoped that the mix of boxing training and testimony will draw men, young and old, from the estate, which is the largest of its kind in Northern Ireland.
The club is run by King’s ABC, a group of Christian men who take their boxing ministry to churches all over North Down. It’s the first step in a new vision for St Columba’s with other events planned to run alongside regular Sunday worship.
Kilcooley is in the parish of Bangor Abbey and curate, Revd Mark Gallagher, spends around seventy percent of his time on the estate. Mark has a particular interest in boxing and his own story of transformation to tell.
“I have struggled with my weight pretty much all of my life. Over the last four years I have been performing what I jokingly refer to as ‘the slowly disappearing curate illusion’. So far, I have lost more than 7 stone which is over a third of my bodyweight. It’s been quite a journey!
“In the last 6 months, my weight loss and toning has been achieved with a new personal trainer, who is using boxing as the main tool in our sessions. He is also a Christian (who happens to be the son of a local Church of Ireland minister!). He has changed my view of the sport and helped me to see the discipline and focus needed for real boxing. The ‘Fight the Good Fight’ vision was borne in no small part through discussing some fairly deep theological and biblical principles while I was hitting the pads he was wearing!”
The club evenings begin and end with prayer and include a testimony each week. They are open to men over 18 from 7.30–9.00 pm on Tuesday evenings for 9 further weeks from 15 January.