Respected clergyman fondly remembered

Respected clergyman fondly remembered

20 January 2021

TRIBUTES have been paid to the minister of Clough and Seaforde Presbyterian churches who passed away last week after a battle with cancer.

The Rev Adrian Adger (57) has been described as “inspirational, a devoted pastor, teaching elder and evangelist” and someone who had a contagious smile.

Mr Adger’s funeral service — conducted by the Rev Brian Smyth who had known him for 30 years — was held at Clough Presbyterian Church last Friday afternoon.

Mr Smyth, who is the minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ahoghill, met Mr Adger at the Belfast Bible College in 1991 and they worked together as colleagues at the Belfast City Mission for a number of years. In 2013, he married Adrian and his wife Karen.

Addressing mourners, Mr Smyth said he was not at the funeral service as a professional minister, but as a “servant of God seeking to do what I know Adrian would have done for me”.

Educated at Gracehill Primary School, Mr Adger moved to Ballymena Academy and after passing his A-Levels went to Stirling University to study accountancy.

In 1984, Mr Adger graduated and returned to Northern Ireland to complete a diploma in financial accountancy at Ulster University in Jordanstown, subsequently becoming a trainee chartered accountant in Belfast. 

In September 1991, he began a three-year Diploma in Theology course at Belfast Bible College (BBC) in Dunmurry with Mr Smyth enrolling on the same course.

“Almost immediately we clicked and became best friends,” he said. 

“We started to pray together and only now has that come to an end. Almost 30 years have passed since we first met and that friendship has been so wonderful and I will miss my best friend so very much.”

The two men graduated from BCC in June 1994 and in the autumn BCC took over the work of the Woodvale Mission Hall in Disraeli Street and were looking for a missionary with Mr Adger filling the post.

In the summer of 2000, he moved from the Woodvale district to serve in the Fairview Road Hall in Newtownabbey and in 2007 was on his way to Nigeria for a time where he was excited about the work of Africa Christian Textbooks (ACTS). 

Two years later he tendered his resignation to the Belfast City Mission as he prepared to go back to Nigeria for almost six months.

In September 2011, Mr Adger began his studies at the Union Theological College and subsequently served as an assistant minister in Ballyclare Presbyterian Church, endearing himself to the people of that congregation.

“When he became eligible for a Call to become an ordained minister within our denomination once again he was much in prayer,” said Mr Smyth. “Several approaches were made but he was absolutely thrilled to be ordained and installed as the minister of Clough and Seaforde in June 2015.”

Mr Smyth said that when his friend was diagnosed with incurable cancer, it also became his wife’s cancer, with both of them walking that difficult road together, describing their faith in Christ as “inspirational”.

He continued: “You both kept your eyes on the Lord and you both demonstrated what living for Christ is all about. 

“Yes, it can be easy to follow Jesus when the sun is shining and all things are going well but when the dark clouds of God’s providence gather round us it can be a different matter. However, it didn’t change Adrian or Karen and resolutely they kept the faith and shared Jesus with everyone they met. Many consultants and nurses heard the gospel from this fearless man of God.” 

Mr Smyth said his friend was diagnosed with incurable cancer in November 2017 but rather than relaxing and taking it easy, “his ministry moved up yet another gear”.

He added: “We are so glad that Adrian knew Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour. I pray you will hear the call of God today just as Adrian did and know Christ as your personal Saviour.”