History in Ireland
History in Ballyclare
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Annual Report 2007
Annual Report 2008
Annual Report 2009
Annual Report 2010
News and Events
Your Minister writes:-
The Latin phrase ‘fugit irreparabile tempus’ means we cannot stop time in its tracks.-Tempus fugit literally means ‘time flies’ and it feels that way this year. We are well into March, it is Spring and we’re half way through Lent. Special days like ‘Mother’s Day;’ ‘Palm Sunday’ and ‘Easter Sunday’ will be with us before the end of the month.
We will have some special services, as well as our Congregational meeting on 7th April, do plan to come along to all the services, and note one or two illustrations in this Calendar which remind us all about this important time of the year.
Some members of the congregation have suffered bereavements recently, while others have faced time in hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
I read recently of the important work that we can do through church.
‘Society is now more reliant on churches and religious groups meeting ‘crucial’ social needs that were once met by the state. That is the view of Baroness Warsi, a minister in the Foreign Office and the minister for faith. She believes that society is being threatened by a rising tide of ‘militant secularisation’, and has defended religious people’s right to practise their faith in public. She insists that “people who do God, do good”.
A recent government survey has found that religious groups are helping to meet society’s needs during the recession. Churches have been providing nearly 100million hours of unpaid voluntary work on social projects each year. Lady Warsi, told Parliament that faith groups can “reach areas of need that government cannot.”
Just a thought!
Church News - March 2013
The Session House
The work on the Session House has now been completed and new tenants agreed. The premises will open on Monday 3rd December as ‘Brown’s Tea House’ and there will also be a wool shop facility inside. Members of the congregation are invited to look around and possibly have a cup of coffee after the morning service on 2nd December.
The Ballyclare Male Choir led a Praise Service on 3rd February which was organised by the Ladies Group. Over £200 was raised for this year’s Charity and our thanks to everyone who helped in any way.
The Annual Clergy Black Santa appeal raised over £1800. Thanks to all in the community who supported this work.
Church News - May 2012
The recent Christmas activity provided a full programme beginning with a great concert with the Clare Chorale and musician, Jamie McMillan. The Sunday School were very involved in their service and our thanks go to all involved. The Candlelit service on Christmas Eve was very well attended and a retiring offering raised over £100 for the McMillan nurses.
On Sunday 18th March a Service of favourite hymns
was held with Wilson Forsythe at the organ and Ethel Logan playing the
piano. Members of the congregation had earlier selected their special
hymns and from the list a representative group was gustily sung by those
present. It was particularly noted that the entire list of favourite
hymns did not include even one from the Church Hymnal which had been
changed or altered in the comparatively recent edition of the book-no
doubt the folk of Ballyclare have better taste and show themselves to be
traditionalists and believers of the original wording instead of what
can only be termed disappointing changes.
Session House ... and a Building Fund
As you will have noticed, work has begun on the Session House in order
to totally refurbish it and bring it up to proper standards with damp
proofing, new electrics, plumbing and heating as well as a new roof.
The cost of the work will be in the region of
£38,000 and the committee hope that some of this can be met through
donations to a building fund and with some additional fund raising
Envelopes for donations will be available on 5th
June and Mrs Jeanette McKendry has provided a Fireside Quiz based on
politicians, and these are available from members of the church
committee at a cost of £1.
Back to Church Sunday – who will you invite this
Congratulations to Brian and Catherine Jones on the
birth of their son, Joshua William Edward who weighed in at 9lb 6 oz on
Miss Edna Scott.
Church News - December 2011
Plans for the use of the Session House are moving slowly and there is a need for considerable repair, refurbishment or restoration before it can be brought back into active use. - Watch this space.
The Women’s Group have had two interesting meetings recently.
Members from the Percy French group came along for the visitor’s evening. Through the readings of poetry, prose and song, illustrated with a wide range of slides the ladies had a most entertaining and enjoyable evening. Naturally the evening finished with a good supper, which the minister managed to arrive in time for. Excellent reports from all the visitors
and thanks to our ladies for organising the show.
The Craft evening gave
the ladies a chance to learn and make their own individual Christmas
cards. Marion McClean from Holywood brought along a range of materials
and after some coaching the ladies got to work. Some of us may receive
one of these special cards in the near future.
Again, after a good supper the ladies continue to meet and work together. The next project may be our dinner at the end of November. All ladies invited along to meetings .
Harvest Service on 9th October. Mr Mervyn McCullagh a former missionary to Indonesia and the current executive officer of the Irish Council of Churches, was the guest speaker at the service. He gave an interesting talk to the children and a challenging address to the congregation. The church was beautifully decorated and the choir, under the guidance of Mrs Ethel Logan sang a number of anthems.
The children also played their part guided ,by Mrs Mary Surgeoner, Jennifer Forsythe and Cathy Warnock., to complete a very enjoyable service. Our thanks to all who contributed in any way.
Exhibition of paintings by SJ McKendry on 13th and 14th October.
There was a really interesting and beautiful display of paintings in the church and schoolroom for the exhibition. Many people had the opportunity to look back to earlier times in Ballyclare and the surrounding district when they saw some of the paintings from times past.
Thanks to Jeanette’s energy , skill and enthusiasm, some £580 was raised for the Children’s Hospice and a further £580 plus door offerings for the church funds. Cheques were presented on 30th October to the minister and Roberta McCudden.
I would express our thanks to Jeanette Mckendry for her hard work. And to all who came along and supported the event.
Church News - September 2011
Annual Church Outing
On Sunday 19th June the Annual Children’s Day Service was held when the pupils of the Sunday School were responsible for morning worship. The service was led and introduced by Jack Forsythe while the children’s choir sang the Introit "Thank You Lord" and later the piece "Jesus Loves Me". The Bible readings were done by Rebecca, Ewan and Adam plus a special reading for Father’s Day from Christina, William and Rhianna. The Offering was collected by Jed, Emily ,Lauren and Rhianna after a special Children’s Day Sermon by Rev.Colin Campbell, who also presented the prizes for Attendance and Sunday School Work.
Two very special presentations were made to the two Sunday School teachers who between them had given almost fifty five years to the work in the Sunday School. Rev. .Campbell paid a fitting tribute to Jackie Crooks (Sunday School Superintendent) who had been in charge of the Sunday School for no less than 36 years and also to Evelyn Meharg who had been her assistant for 18 years.
Mrs Mary Surgeoner has taken over as Sunday School superintendent with the support of Mrs Cathy Warnock and Mrs Jennifer Forsythe as new teachers. We offer them our best wishes and full support. Children are always welcome and encouraged to join the Sunday School.
The Academic Training Board of our Church has produced a programme for the coming winter with a theme based on the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible.
There will be four meetings held at 7.00 pm on Sunday evenings.
Nov 20th Ballycarry. Rev Dr John Nelson. Creation of the King James Version.
Feb 12th Comber. Mr Mervyn McCullough. Translations and use of the KJV.
Mar 11th Dunmurry V. Rev. Bill McMillan. Bible - Interpretation, authority and application .
April 22nd Newry TBC. Scripture – Comfort or Challenge.
The programme should prove to be both interesting and valuable with lots of food for thought. The board would encourage members to support the activities arranged.
PROGRAMME OF MEETING TOPICS FOR
Best wishes to :- Mr. Robert Irvine who has been in hospital. Mr. Mervyn Carnwrath who is recovering from a serious fall. Those members who have been ill or are unable to get out regularly. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Church News - July 2011
The Rev Colin Campbell took Mrs Kathleen Campbell away to Tenerife to celebrate Kathleen’s Big Birthday. During Rev Colin Campbell’s absence Mrs Jeanette McKendry took the Service on Sunday 15 May and Dr Heather Walker on Sunday 22 May. We were very pleased to welcome Jeanette and Heather again to our pulpit.
According to a recent survey, more than a quarter of all seven to fourteen year olds have not written a single letter in the past year. One in ten has never written a letter in their entire life. Yet about half of them in this age group regularly send emails or leave messages on a social networking site.
World Vision, who commissioned the recent poll, found that child education experts are concerned at these findings. It seems that many children are leaving primary school unable to even set out a letter. One expert says: “If children do not write or receive letters, they miss out on key developmental benefits.” A hand-written letter is more personal than an electronic message any day. If any of you, children or adults would like to write a letter for the Calendar, then I know that I would be pleased to use it in the Calendar.
WHY BRITISH MEN LIKE WEARING SOCKS WITH THEIR SANDALS
It is not a pretty sight, but at least there may be an historic explanation as to why British men have a liking to wear socks with their sandals in the summer. It seems the idea could be ‘one of the things the Romans did for us.’ Seriously.
Archaeologists on a dig in Yorkshire recently uncovered a rusty nail from a Roman sandal which had impressions from fibres that suggest that a sock-type garment was being worn by the Roman invaders. The idea of Ben Hur in socks boggles the mind, but - you never know.
The recent Fireside Quiz in aid of support for Rev. Campbell’s Romania Appeal raised £136. My thanks to Irene Campbell for organising the Quiz and to all who supported it.
THE LAST 100 YEARS
In the last 100 years, since the census of 1911, what has been the biggest, most significant event to happen? In a widespread recent survey, the invention of the internet beat the Second World War and men walking on the moon into first place.
It seems that for sheer worldwide impact, there is nothing to compare to that eureka moment of Sir Tim Berners-Lee back in 1989. His invention has transformed daily life for billions of people the world over.
What of the next 100 years? Predictions for world-changing events include: a woman president in the USA, sea levels rising across the globe, men on Mars, the fall of the British monarchy, and World War Three. Seems we won’t be bored, whatever else. Genes Reunited, the family tree researchers, carried out the study.
The Sunday School have had another busy year and at the denominational Annual Service and Prize-giving our children and young people won 4 first prizes, 4 second prizes and 8 third prizes , in addition to the Betty Weaver Award for the best music/drama entry.
Jack Forsythe collected the award at the service in our Moneyreagh Church. All the prizes, along with our regular prizes for attendance, catechism and Sunday school work will be given out at the Children’s Day Service at our own church on Sunday 19th June.
As Mrs Jackie Crooks and Mrs Evelyn Meharg will be retiring from Sunday School after many years working with the children, this will also be an opportunity to say thanks to them. The whole team of teachers have worked exceedingly hard over the year, with the support of some members of the congregation and we are indebted to them.
The Sunday School outing took place on June 11th to Larne museum, where the children enjoyed the interactive dinosaur exhibition and other displays. This was followed with a visit to Carnfunnock Country Park for a Bar-B-Q with games, orienteering and a scavenger hunt. Our thanks to Mrs Mary Surgeoner for co-ordinating the events and activities and to all who helped out.
At the Children’s Day Service the offering will be for the work of the Sunday School and we hope that everyone will come to the schoolroom after the service for a cup of tea or coffee.
Congratulations to Brian Jones and Kathryn Barron who got married on 30th May 2011.
Bereavement. Mr Bertie McFerran died on June 8th . Bertie had been in nursing care for the last two years and had been in declining health. He had lived in our session house for twenty years and looked after the church while he was able. Bertie was one of Ballyclare’s real characters and had a deserved reputation as a fine ballroom dancer. His observations and humour will be missed. I would convey our sympathy to the family circle.
Members. A number of members of the congregation have been ill or in hospital recently and I would offer my thoughts and prayers to those members and their families. It is often when our health fails or when we are forced to remain at home that we really appreciate the health that we had. I do hope to see many of those recovering from illness or broken bones in the near future.
One opportunity to meet up together is on the Annual Church Outing which this year will be to Greenmount Agricultural College on Monday 13th June at 7.30 pm. Our thanks to Mrs Ethel Logan for organising the event from her ‘Sick Bed’.
Our Harvest Thanksgiving Service...
...took place on Sunday 120h October 2010 and was conducted by the Rev. Jim Campbell a retired Presbyterian Minister and former missionary in Malawi who also chaired the Irish Council of Churches Board of Overseas Affairs. Special music was provided by the church choir led by their conductor and organist, Mrs Ethel Logan. The church was beautifully, yet simply, decorated and the choir sang an introit. The Children performed a presentation on the theme of HARVEST as well as welcoming the congregation to the church.
Members of the congregation supported the service in a variety of ways and I would extend my thanks to all who helped in any way. Following the service some flowers, fruit and vegetables were distributed to those unable to come out regularly.
The Treasure Hunt...
...organised by Irene Campbell was a great success and raised over £120 for the Romania fund which supports a worker in Baraolt in Transylvania. It is hoped that some of our older young people will visit there next summer and Irene is now in the process of producing a Fireside Quiz to raise more funds. Many thanks Irene.
Centenary of first NSPCI Synod.
Mervyn McCullough; Mayor of Belfast and Rev Norman Hamilton were guests at the dinner which was held in the Harbour Commissioner’s Office.
The Session House
It has been decided that the Session House should be refurbished. Having laid empty for a while the church made an application for planning permission for a change of use to allow us to undertaken business activities. This has been granted and we are now looking to develop plans to update the premises. Initial thoughts are to retain the outside character of the Session House but refurbish the interior including new kitchen area, toilets and new interior layout. Ultimately we are thinking of turning the house into an exhibition/office space. We have also considered establishing a heritage centre facility for Ballyclare as well. This may mean that the church grounds may need to be opened up to allow access to the refurbished premises. This will hopefully allow us to reach out to the wider local community to spread the word of God.
However this will cost and initial estimates are that this could be in the region of £30,000. We will need to consider how best to fund this and will need to plan some fund raising activities. If you have any ideas or wish to discuss these please speak to Colin or any member of the Committee.
Back to Church Sunday
There was a good attendance at our service in September and Billy Livingstone sang two lovely solos to add to the occasion. After the service there were refreshments in the schoolroom.
On Friday 17 December, the local clergy will collect for the Dean of Belfast’s Black Santa Appeal. They will, on a rota basis, sit out in Main Street and appreciate the support of the community for this worthy cause which gives to many local charities.
Alan and Caroline Laird on the safe arrival of their baby daughter
Clare and John Shannon on the birth of Isabella.
Mrs Patricia McCadden from the local Children’s Hospice Support Group came in June and spoke about the work that is being done. She received a cheque for £550 which was raised through the sales of this year’s congregational calendar, which was organised and compiled by Mrs Jeanette McKendry using her own original paintings of Ballyclare and district.
Mrs Jean Fears, one of our long serving and faithful members died after a short illness in June. Jean had a great love for the church and she was an active supporter of the Sunday School. The session and committee extend the sympathy of the congregation to her family at this time.
A number of other members of the congregation have been ill and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. At the time of writing, Mrs Rene Peoples is in Whiteabbey Hospital and I know that she enjoys the support of her family and the concern of the congregation.
Mrs Annie Blair, wife of Sam has also been in Whiteabbey, and we also wish her a full recovery.
Congratulations to Dr.Gillian Rennie on completion of her medical
training and to Vanessa Surgeoner on her appointment as Head Girl of
Ballyclare High School.
There was a large congregation
Annual Children's Day Service
on Sunday 20 June
. Most parts of the
service were carried out by the pupils of the Sunday School where
numbers at present are small. The service was introduced by Matthew
McIlrath who announced the various readers. Finn Devlin read the
Introductory Prayer---Dear Father and the first reading " The Robins
Song " was by Rebecca Smith. The children's choir sang "Jesus love is
very wonderful" and "Our God is a great big God" with soloist part by
Christina Warnock. Jack and Ewan Forsythe gave the reading "The two
brothers" and a prayer was made by Georgia McCann. The reading "I will
go with my father aploughing' was by Adam Surgenor and the special
collection was taken up by Jed McCann, Emily Warnock, Lauren Buchanan
and Finn Devlin.
Distribution of Prizes and
The Sunday School Superintendent Mrs Jacqueline Crooks asked the Minister Rev.Colin Campbell to present firstly the individual prizes and then also the Awards which had been won by the children at the annual Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Ireland Conference at Comber earlier in the month. At the Conference , Ballyclare collected 10 cash prizes. they had the following successes---B3 Section 1st, B4 3rd Christina Warnock; B5 2nd Christina Warnock; B6 2nd Rihanna Logan;C1 3rd; D2 1st Adam,Ewan and Georgia;D3 2nd Adam,Ewan and Georgia; D4 3rd Finn Devlin;F7 2nd Jack Forsythe;G3 2nd Finn,Georgia,Adam and Ewan. Afterwards presentations were made to the staff of the Sunday School and those who had helped during the year
Annual Church Outing
This was a very enjoyable evening where everyone appreciated the wonderful summer weather as well as the meal and the visit to the old church.
Wilson Logan, Phyllis Boyd, Clover Watts and Rev Colin Campbell at the excellent concert given by the Ballyclare Male voice choir on Friday 26 March in our Holywood Church. There was a very good attendance and many complimentary remarks about the soloist Clover Watts and the Male Voice Choir.
A lovely supper provided by the ladies was served after the concert in the Schoolroom.
Some of the people who walked from Bangor to Holywood on Easter Saturday. Here they are having some refreshments.
In this picture you can see the Moderator receiving a cheque from Rachel McEvoy for £200 for his Appeal to supply water in Bangladesh.
Rachel and the Moderator are enjoying a well earned rest!
The Annual General Meeting of the Congregation was held on Sunday 21st March after morning worship.. There was a good attendance and Rev Colin Campbell conducted proceedings.
Mrs. Evelyn Meharg delivered a comprehensive ‘Secretary’s Report’, which highlighted the activities of the congregation over the last year. The ‘Treasurer’s Report’ was presented by Dr. Trevor Forsythe, and the ‘Sunday School Report’ was given by Mrs Jackie Peoples and ‘Women’s League Report ‘ submitted by Mrs Doris Forsythe. All of these reflected the commitment of members of the congregation and were adopted.
The Church Officers were re-elected. And the Rev. Campbell thanked everyone for their support. The Meeting concluded with prayer.
The A.G.M. is a once a year opportunity for each of us to be involved in the affairs of our church, to learn of the opportunities and concerns with which we will be faced in the coming year, and to be able to assist in furthering the well-being of our congregation.
The Moderator elect for the Denomination, is Rev Sam Peden. Sam will be installed as Moderator at the Synod Service at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 8th June in Dromore. This is an open service and everyone is welcome to come along. The main business of Synod will take place on Wednesday 9th June beginning at 10.00 am. with Rev. Norman Hutton due to be elected as Clerk. There will be a social evening at 7.00 pm on the Wednesday to conclude this year’s Synod.
I would like to thank the men’s working party for tidying up the front of the church. The Session House is still under observation and consideration.
There will be a meeting of the Church Committee on Monday 7th June at 7.30 pm
In the Schoolroom.
Just a thought:
Intentions may be written in pencil, commitments should be written in stone.
The Junior Sunday School Outing took place on Saturday 8th May,when the children visited Springvale Open Farm accompanied by Mary Surgeoner and Cathy Warnock with other teachers.
The Children have been working hard on their projects and this year the conference will be held on Saturday 5th June at 2.30 pm. This will be followed with prize giving and a Bar B Que.
The Children’s day Service will be held in Church on Sunday June 20th at 10.15 am and everyone is encouraged to come along and support the children and their teachers.
The Women’s League Quarterly Meeting will be held on Saturday 5 June in the Meeting House at Dunmurry at 1.00 pm.
The cheque for their Annual Charity, which this year was for research into Macular Degeneration, will be handed over to the guest speaker.
The Table Quiz on 18th September 2009, organised by Irene Campbell raised £106 for our Romania appeal. The evening was great fun and with plenty of prizes, everyone was a winner.
The Ladies Group met at ‘the
Manse’ in September with everyone bringing along a recipe. It proved to
be entertaining and the recipes were shared around. The second
meeting of the group, in October took place in the schoolroom with
possibly a Hallow’een theme. Childhood memories were shared and plenty
of laughter heard.
Samantha Zoe Buchanan, daughter of Mark and Sarah was baptised on Sunday 4th October. In the picture is Mark’s sister Julie who was married just a week earlier.
The Harvest Service took place on 11th October when the Moderator, Rt. Rev. R. McKee led the worship and the choir sang a number of anthems.
The church was beautifully decorated and after the service some gifts of fruit or flowers were distributed to some of those now unable to get out regularly.
The Quarterly Meeting was held in Ballyclare Non-Subscribing Church on Saturday 13 June 2009 with 55 members attending. The meeting was opened with a short Service conducted by Marlene Ritchie Then the ladies were served a delicious tea.
Annual Church Outing.
Sunday School Games - Ballycarry Heat
There was a good turn out
for the northern heat of the games and all the children enjoyed the
Three of our teams were successful and will compete in the final at Comber on March 7th.
CONGRATULATIONS to Gavin and Linda Smith on the birth of Robbie Thomas Alan, a brother for Rebecca.
The Service for the
Ordination of new elders took place on Sunday 25th January. Rev Paul
Reid conducted the service and Rev. Dr. John Nelson gave the exposition
of Presbyterian Church Order in which he explained the organisation and
structures of our church. The new elders, Dr. Trevor Forsythe, Mrs
Jeanette McKendry and Mrs Evelyn Meharg were ordained and rev Colin
Campbell gave the charge or address to the new elders.
On Sunday 22nd February, a Praise Service, conducted by Rev. Dr. Scott Peddie and led by the Ballyclare Male Choir was held and the offering of £350 collected. The service was in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society and following the service, the choir sang three more pieces including ’Where He leads me, I will follow’.
Service of Ordination of
New Elders. On Sunday 25th January representatives from the Presbytery
of Antrim will conduct a Service of Ordination for three new elders in
our Church. Mr Trevor Forsythe, Mrs Evelyn Meharg and Mrs Jeanette
McKendry will be ordained and become members of the Church Session. The
elders are appointed to assist the minister in the performance of his
duties and they are responsible, under the minister, for the spiritual
over-sight of the congregation. We look forward to the support of
members of the congregation at this special service and hope to have
refreshments after the service.
Sunday School Outing. On Friday evening, 9th January, members of the Sunday School along with their teachers went to The Courtyard, Ballyearl, to see a production of ‘The Magic Bottle’. The show was performed by a team of young dramatists and was both appropriate and appreciated by our young members of Sunday School who managed to absorb and relish the story. Out thanks to Mary Surgoner for organising the trip and to the teachers and parents who accompanied them.
Mr Bertie McFeran is now resident in Ballyclare Nursing Home on the Doagh Road. He has settled in well and is quite comfortable. He has sent his best wishes to the members of the congregation and, as always, is ready for visitors. He has retained his humour and we wish him well and look forward to hearing from him.
Ballyclare Male Choir. This year the Ballyclare Male Choir are celebrating their 75th Anniversary. On Sunday 18th January, there will be a Thanksgiving Service at 7.00 pm in Second Ballyeaston Presbyterian Church where the choir was formed 75 years ago. We look forward to their leading a Praise Service in our own Church on Sunday 22nd February at 7.00 pm.
Christmas Eve Carols by Candle-light.
Once again this year, the church was beautifully decorated and there was a lovely atmosphere in the Meeting House with so many candles lit as we joined together to sing many of the traditional carols. Evelyn Meharg and Gillian Rennie read for us while Irene Campbell shared her own faith and joy at this time of year as she reflected on Gillian’s recovery from her very serious road accident last year. We were also pleased to hear solos from Sheelagh Greer and Michael Alexander and the large congregation appreciated both the music and the opportunity for refreshments afterwards. Our thanks to all who contributed to this successful evening.
A visit to Romania.
After fundraising through a relay marathon, selling some old junk and begging at doors, I was both tired, standing outside the Europa at 5am, and a bit apprehensive about the next ten days. Would it be a life changing experience? Would it make me become even more mature and sensible? Or, could it make me crave a shower more than ever?
As we touched down in Bucharest , welcomed by thirty five degree heat and people with sandals, I had an uplifting feeling. The two flights, first from Dublin to Amsterdam then Amsterdam to Bucharest, had been a chance to get to know some of the group, who were from Holywood, Belfast and Larne. The bus journey further allowed us to get to know each other and even though it was dark when we got to our hosts house, I had not noticed the time go by. We were staying with a lovely Romanian couple who spoke great English. The house was spacious and comfortable, even though four of us slept in one room.
The average day would consist of going to help with the disabled children in the orphanage, coming back for lunch, then either a sleep or a walk, returning to the orphanage to play more with the children and then dinner. In the evenings there was relaxation with many card games, jokes and getting to know each other. As well as the orphanage there was a family home, which was an orphanage, confusingly, only none of the children were disabled. The group would generally split up and take turns in which one they would visit. I found both of them great fun, but I preferred the orphanage. This was for several reasons. Firstly, the large garden, which meant that you could enjoy the Mediterranean like weather. Secondly, the orphans here were very enthusiastic, they sprinted towards us when we first got there, and playing with them was a lot more fun than my overpriced Play Station. Thirdly and finally, the fence enclosing the children was not big enough. Every so often one of them would make a dash for freedom, scale the fence and start running. Then the workers there would have to sprint after the orphan who thought it was all hilarious. The spectacle promised some great afternoon entertainment.
Although the people in Barolt were a lot poorer than us, especially the gypsy community, the atmosphere was a relaxed one, free of a materialistic edge. Despite less money, a number of people had cars, some that were relatively new, so many of us were surprised by the lack of extreme poverty. Barolt has a similar amount of people as Ballyclare or Holywood, but the majority lived in Soviet styled flats. Therefore its area was quite small, meaning we could walk to the orphanage, family home and back within five minutes of our host’s house.
The days were broken up by trips to Brasov, Dracula’s castle and a nearby lake. Brasov being Romania’s second biggest city, had a sizeable tourist industry, not to mention the huge sign in the hillside like Hollywood, California. Whilst there, you could nearly forget that you were in Romania, due to the sports cars, shopping centres and irritable Justin Timberlake blaring at you from every angle. We also got to sample the local culture by visiting McDonald’s! Therefore I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that I was glad to be back in the orphanage.
When the last day came it seemed, as always with holidays, that time passed at hyper speed. We made an emotional goodbye to the orphans in both the Orphanage and Family Home and prepared ourselves for the long journey home. Our reflective talk at the end of the week gave the impression that everyone, myself included, would love to return to Romania and even though it was hard work at times, it beat Ibiza any day.
Owen Duly, Sullivan Upper.
The Annual Congregational Outing took place on Monday 16th June to Hoy’s Ice Creamery. Members of the congregation were privileged to see round the farm as well as the ice cream parlour.
Tea and coffee was included in the warm
welcome given on arrival and everyone was offered their choice of
flavour from the original pure dairy ice cream made on the farm.
Following the visit, the members moved to Kilbride parish church where
they were given a really delightful meal. On behalf of all those who
attended, I would express my thanks to Ethel Logan and Doreen Blair.
There was a good attendance at the Annual General Meeting of the congregation on 13th April. Full reports were given by the Treasurer, Secretary, Sunday School Superintendent and Women’s Group. These reports are available on request to anyone wanting them. While the work of the church is very much a team effort and many people deserve our thanks and appreciation, I would thank Trevor Forsythe, Evelyn Meharg and Jackie Crooks for their very comprehensive reports.
We have now had a few ‘Tea and Scones’ meetings at the end of monthly services. I would like to thank all those who have prepared the schoolroom and the refreshments and tidied up afterwards.
The outside of the Church has recently been painted and some volunteers continue to help maintain the grounds. As noted in the AGM reports, we are indebted to all those who work in a variety of ways to serve the congregation.
On Easter Saturday, some members from across the denomination walked
the coastal route from Bangor to Holywood in order to raise some funds
for this year’s trip to Romania. There was considerable support from our
own congregation and the total sum raised was £850. Our congratulations
to those who walked the route on a very cold and windy day with thanks
to our supporters.
In the weeks ahead:-
Take time to think - it is the source of power
Take time to play - it is the secret of perpetual youth
Take time to read - it is the fountain of wisdom
Take time to pray - it is the greatest power on earth
Take time to love and be loved - it is a God-given privilege
Take time to be friendly - it is the road to happiness
Take time to laugh - it is the music of the soul
Take time to give - it is too short a day to be selfish
Take time to work - it is the price of success
Take time to do charity - it is the key to Heaven.