Over 150 years ago, there was the birth of a great Ulster woman and one of the world’s greatest and respected missionaries.
Amy Beatrice Carmichael was born in the village of Millisle, Co Down on 16th December 1867. She was the eldest of David and Catherine Carmichael’s seven children.
The Carmichael family were well known in that area as they owned flour mills and brought employment the local community. The family were also faithful members of Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church, heavily involved in the work of the church.
For business reasons, the family moved to Belfast when Amy was 16. They settled in 22 College Gardens in the Queens University area. Change of home meant also a change in church for the Carmichaels, as the family quickly settling in Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church under the ministry of Dr Park.
During that time Amy met Henry Montgomery, the minister of Shankill Road Mission. Henry introduced Amy to the world of the underprivileged in the slums of Belfast.
It was there that Amy met some ‘Shawlies.’ These were girls who worked in the Belfast mills during that period of the Industrial Revolution. As Belfast was saturated with factories that produced Irish linen and other materials.
These girls (and young men) worked long hours, in filthy conditions for little pay. The term ‘Shawlies’ was coined because the girls couldn’t afford to wear beautiful and expensive hats that ladies dressed in as part of their ‘Sunday best’ church attire. They wore ‘shawls’ or ‘scarves’ to cover their heads.
Amy had a real heart to win the ‘Shawlies’ for Christ, and on the 2nd January 1889 she formed an outreach centre for her work among the mill girls in Cambrai Street in North Belfast. She called it the Welcome Hall. Nowadays, 128 years later the work that Amy began, is still going on in the same place, now known as the Welcome Evangelical Church.
After a few years, Amy moved to England and then also experienced life as a missionary in Japan and Sri Lanka. In 1895 Amy left for India and never returned home again. She stayed there until her heavenly home call in 1951.
She served the people of India for over 55 years and is best known for her work among the temple children. Amy accomplishing a miracle ministry there that involved her helping to free the children from a life of sex trafficking, in the name of religion.
This was often at great risk to herself from Indian authorities. Amy formed an orphanage for the children called the Dohnavur Fellowship taking them under her responsibility and care.
This is a story of God’s faithfulness through a life that was totally committed to Christian service and to God’s will. Nowadays Amy is rightly renowned as one of the great Heroines of Faith.
Amy Carmichael has also left behind a legacy that has lasted to the present day. She wrote no less than 37 books during her lifetime with many of them still in print today. Also the fact that both her Belfast and India ministries continue on and today are alive and well!
To mark 150 since Amy’s birth and by way of praising God for the lasting legacy of Amy Carmichael, Pastor Jonathan Clarke from the Welcome Evangelical Church has put together a power point presentation, simply called ‘Lasting Legacy – 150 years’ which is an appreciation of the Life and Ministry of Amy Carmichael.
This presentation and talk is suitable for any church group that are interested in the story of Amy Carmichael. To contact Pastor Jonathan for a booking, simply fill in your details on the contact page on this blog!