In 1993, the leaders of Ekklesia church, Belfast decided to set up a church pioneering group in Newtownabbey led by Lewis and Gwen Smyth. The ethos of both churches was to bring the message of Jesus to a dying world through practical and spiritual application teaching. This new group initially gathered at a house and consisted of eight people who met to pray, worship and seek the Lord’s face. This group soon became known as Jordan Victory Church. Due to increasing numbers, larger premises were needed and local halls in Cloughfern and then Knockagh Road, Newtownabbey were hired for church services.
As one of the leaders at Ekklesia, Lewis was involved in overseeing the construction of a multi-purpose building in Kenya which served the local church and homeless/street children in the area. For approximately ten years, Ekklesia and Jordan Victory Church worked together to support this building until it was handed over to the local church and social services in Kenya.
During this time, Jordan Victory Church also reached out to community projects in the local area. Working alongside and financially supporting the “Youth for Christ” movement, we were actively involved in helping to establish initiatives such as Monkstown Village Centre and mentoring programmes in the local high school.
In 2004, we reached out to the continent of Asia and joined with a local Russian church’s vision to assist the children of Cherepovets, Russia with education, hygiene, and spiritual well-being. We continue to work alongside Igor and Olga Prokopyev of ICM Russia (www.icmrussia.blogspot.com) and together we support ‘The Light of Hope’ children’s work by funding staff salaries. We have also purchased an apartment and undertaken its refurbishment for use in this ministry. The Light of Hope concept for children’s work has now been replicated by other associate ICM Pastors in Archangel and Cherkessk in the Caucuses, Russia. We secured NI government funding to employ a co-ordinator to help with the ever growing community outreach programmes. JVC hold an annual teaching and training conference for church leaders in Moscow. See our Missions page for more information.
In 2005, as part of our outreach program, we secured two community houses in Rathcoole, Newtownabbey from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. These houses were refurbished and operated under the name Synergy@JVC (now called JVC Hub) ministering to those in need in the Rathcoole Estate.
This work aims to address social isolation in all its forms, whether due to economic, health or education reasons. We work alongside the Eastern Health and Social Services Board to provide courses for individuals with physical disabilities and mental health backgrounds in an inclusive environment.
In 2007, Jordan Victory Church was introduced to EARE ministries, India, who have an extensive mercy ministry to the poor in India. As a church we have continued to sow into this ministry and in March 2011, a team travelled to Tenali to see the completion and opening of a building bought and paid for by JVC church and partners. See our Missions page for more information.
Our first Beauty by Design event was held in 2008. This annual women’s conference began after Gwen witnessed the decline in women’s well-being and their need for support. It was established to create an atmosphere that will refresh, equip, enable, empower and release every woman to negotiate life beautifully. We now have at least 250 women attending every year. The aim of the conference is to enable every woman to have a healthy mental outlook in order to positively impact their family, their relationships and the wider community.
Our church youth group, DNA (Dunamis Not Attitude), now known as YCONNECT, was formed when a group of 20 people attended a Christian youth event in Bradford, England involving youth groups from all over the UK. As well as enjoying a time of quality fellowship they also gained a lot of information about empowerment and personal development. The ‘Elevate’ Youth Conference was birthed through this youth group in 2009. Each year it was held it attracted more than 150 individuals from youth groups all over Northern Ireland.
On 4 May 2012, we purchased our very first building in Carrickfergus which had previously been known as Weston Business Park.
…. AND THE STORY CONTINUES, WHY NOT BECOME PART OF THE JVC STORY