A Belfast pastor who has spent the past 25 years striving to bring together two divided communities has said he is “deeply touched” to be named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Pastor Jack McKee, whose New Life City Church on Northumberland Street straddles the peace wall between the Shankill and Falls, has picked up an MBE for his services to the community.
Speaking to the News Letter, Pastor McKee dedicated the award to his wife, who remained his rock throughout the darkest days of the Troubles, when his life was frequently under threat from paramilitaries.
“If anyone should get an award it is Kathleen,” he added.
“My life has been threatened several times, my car has been bombed, and my house was attacked at 3.30am when my wife and I were in bed.
“The easiest thing to do would have been to run away, but I stayed because God placed me here.”
Pastor McKee said he has no doubt that the outreach work carried out by his church since its inception in 1993 has saved lives.
“I am absolutely delighted and humbled to receive this award, but it is not just about me,” he added.
“It is also about all those people who have stood beside me over the years.”