Seamus Milligan, former director and secretary of the Evangelical Protestant Society, has died aged 93. The EPS paid tribute to him as ‘a lover of the gospel, a lover of souls, and a defender of the faith’.
Seamus was raised a Roman Catholic in East Belfast but converted to Protestantism aged 16. He started work in a footwear business on the Ravenhill Road and ended up going into business with the owner, ‘Pop’ Lowry, who became his mentor and discussed the Protestant faith with him at length.
Revd Dr William Malcolmson conducted the Thanksgiving Service for Seamus and recalled many occasions when he accompanied him. They would travel throughout the Province as part of the EPS’s gospel mission work.
Revd Malcolmson described Seamus as having been ‘strong in the Word and Spirit, with a strong Calvinist theology and a good sense of humour’.
He was also a sound preacher, a good theologian, and gifted journalist, producing the Ulster Bulwark magazine of the EPS. He authored the The Charismatic Controversy (1970) and The Charismatic Challenge (1987).
The EPS was established in the 1950s as an umbrella organisation for evangelicals in various Protestant denominations in Ulster. In 1953 Revd Norman Porter became secretary of the EPS and Seamus became his assistant from 1964. When Porter left to take up an appointment in Australia in 1971, Seamus took on the role of EPS secretary, a position he held for the next 33 years.
During that time, he travelled across Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles to take meetings. He used to joke that he should change the name on his driving licence from ‘Seamus’ to ‘James’ to help avoid frequent hold-ups at checkpoints!
Continuing to pay tribute, Revd Malcolmson said, ‘The name of Seamus Milligan is synonymous with that of EPS,’ adding that he had laid firm foundations for the EPS which continue to be built upon.
Seamus was married to Norma Titterington at East End Baptist Church in April 1952. The couple were married for 58 years before Norma passed away in May 2010.
He formerly lived in Lisburn but passed away at Oakridge Nursing Home in Ballynahinch in January. Following the service in Orangefield Baptist Church, interment took place in Dundonald Cemetery.
This obituary was first published by the Belfast News Letter.