First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing), Newry
Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland

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News - 2009

Dec Nov Oct Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan


The Rev Charles McCurdy had a busy Sunday on Sunday, 18th October, as he was covering for Rev Hutton. He arrived in Newry having conducted a service in Banbridge, then after the Newry service and lunch, it was on to Warrenpoint. We are extremely grateful to Rev McCurdy for undertaking this heavy workload in the Rev Hutton's absence.

On Thursday evening, 29th October the Warnock Hall echoed to the shout of "Beetle!", as the Sunday School children and family and friends enjoyed the Annual Beetle Drive. During the interval a cheque for £500 for the Southern Area Hospice Services was handed over to Dr. Gerald and Mrs Joy Donaldson. The cheque was part proceeds of a sponsored walk undertaken by the Sunday School in June. The Bank of Ireland, through one of the parents, Mr Thomas McGrane, was a major sponsor of this event. The Beetle Drive raised £175 for Sunday School funds.

Communion was held on Sunday, 1st November when we welcomed Alexander Hanna (Junior) and twins Nicole and Nadine Hempkin to the Lord's Table for the first time. On this occasion "the common cup" was replaced with individual glasses as a precaution against swine flu.

After a Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, the congregation continued with the Remembrance Theme during the congregational service. Rev Hutton spoke on the Significance of Remembrance Sunday. After the reading of the names of those who died and served, Mr Samuel Berry laid the wreath at the First World War Memorial. Earlier in the year, in July, Mr Berry and the members of the Hunter Moore Flute Band had played at the Menin Gate in Ypres and at the Ulster Tower at Thiepval.

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Sunday School resumed after the Summer Holidays on Sunday, 6th September, numbers are down on last year. But it started with some very good news - the Sponsored Walk in Gosford Forest Park was a huge success - a cheque for £500 will be handed over to the Southern Area Hospice Services.

Sunday 20th September was our Harvest Thanksgiving Services - the Morning Service was conducted by our Minister, the Rev Norman Hutton, who spoke about the origins of the Harvest Festivals. The Choir and our organist Mrs Madge McNellis provided special music for the occasion - the Introit "We thank Thee" provided a beautiful start to the service. This was followed later by the Anthem - "The Golden Fields". During the offering the choir sang "The Church's one foundation" a new setting to the well-known hymn. After the children's address the children brought forward and presented their gifts of tinned food, which is always donated to the Salvation Army - this is just one of several charitable acts that the Sunday School get involved in.

The Evening Harvest Service saw a return to the format of yesteryear, when the hymn singing was led by the Hunter Moore Memorial Flute Band under their Musical Director, Mr Ronnie Bothwell. It was good to enter the church to the music of this Senior Grade Flute Band - the music together with the fragrance of the displays of fruit, flowers and vegetables gave a warm glow to the Harvest Evening. The Service was conducted by the Rev Dr. Scott Peddie who was making his first visit to Newry. Rev Peddie's address was based on his reading from Psalm 65 and Matthew's Gospel, chapter 13 verses 1-23, the Parable of the Sower. Once again special music was provided by the Choir and our organist - the Introit was "As we are gathered" and the Anthem complemented Dr. Peddie's address, "Sowing and Reaping". During the offering the Band played a melody of Harvest Tunes. After the Benediction the choir sang a special arrangement of the Lord's Prayer. As usual there were refreshments after the Service; this provided an opportunity for Dr. Peddie to meet the Newry congregation, the visitors and the members of the Band. It was the first occasion that a lot of folk had to see the new kitchen in its completed state.

We had the opportunity to welcome Mrs Thompson back to Newry on Sunday, 11th October, when Rev Hutton was conducting the Harvest Service in Larne; Bessie is always very welcome in Newry, especially among the children who look forward to her address, likewise the adults who appreciate the sincere message she brings.

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The Newry Congregation were represented at the various celebrations to mark the Ordination of the Very Rev William McMillan in our Church in 1959. We all join in giving thanks to Almighty God for the wonderful service "Rev Mac" has given over these last 50 years to the denomination and to the wider community through his floral artistry.

On Sunday 5th July, the congregation welcomed another Alexander Hanna into the church universal, with the Baptism of Alexander Graham Hanna, the infant son of Mr Richard and Mrs Elaine Hanna, and a brother of Abbey.

Sunday 26th July was another memorial day in the life of the Newry congregation, when after a short service the congregation retired to the Warnock Hall where Mrs Charlotte Holmes officially "declared open" the newly refurbished kitchen. The Ladies of the congregation through various fundraising activities raised the funds to completely remodel the kitchen from floor to ceiling. After an Act of Dedication by the Rev Hutton, and a presentation to Mr Gordon Cunningham by Mrs Lorna Hanna, in recognition of all his efforts in co-ordinating the various trades people, refreshments were served, and all agreed that the new kitchen was a great asset to the congregation.

On Sunday 2nd August the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Mrs Elizabeth (Lily) Holmes took place in the Church. The Service was conducted by Rev Norman Hutton and assisted by the Rev Samuel J. Peden. During the last 8 years Lily has been a resident in Mountvale Nursing Home in Dromore. Our deepest sympathy is extended to daughter Joan and husband John and to her son George and his wife Marie and their daughter Zoë. After Committal in St Patrick's Churchyard the Ladies provided refreshments for the congregation.

The Rev Hutton's Annual Trip, organised by Redthorn Holidays took place between Monday 3rd August to Friday 7th August. After a damp start the weather improved and 3 glorious days were spent in the Lake District, with visits to Carlisle, Grasmere, Bowness, Keswick, Kendal and Penrith. Our grateful thanks goes to our driver Mr Alan Smyton, who took the coach through the Kirkstone Pass to give the passengers some wonderful views of Ullswater and Windermere and the surrounding villages. Next year the group intend to go to the Cairngorms in Scotland.

On Sunday 9th August, we welcomed back to Newry, Mrs Bessie Thompson, who conducted the service whilst the Rev Hutton took a break.

Rehearsals have started for our Harvest Services on Sunday 21st September. The Evening Service at 7 p.m. will be conducted by the Rev Dr. Scott Peddie, and special Harvest Music will be provided by our Choir, and the Hunter Moore Flute Band. Everyone will be made welcome - there are refreshments after the service for everyone.

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Children's Day: Our annual Childrenís Day Service was held on Sunday 21st June and began with Welcoming Sentences from Naomi Wharton who read Psalm 150, "Praise the Lord". There was a great turnout of parents, family members and friends, which was encouraging for the children and indeed the Teachers. The theme for the service this year was Prayer and through readings, prayers, hymns and the childrenís musical abilities, the importance of prayer was conveyed to the congregation. Rev Hutton had the day off from pulpit duties and these were ably carried out by Lauren Wharton, who did an excellent job. Our first hymn was "Give me Joy in My Heart", after which Nadine, Nicole and Sophie Hempkin read Psalm 148, followed by our first prayer "Thank you, friend Jesus" and the Lordís Prayer by Sarah Auterson. The children then sang their first musical piece "It's me, It's me, It's me, Oh Lord". Megan Hanna then read our next reading which was Luke 11:1-13, after which everyone joined in Hymn number 590 from Mission Praise, "Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God". The Sunday School Choir then sang their second piece "Praise Him, Praise Him, All His Children Praise Him".

Then came the all important prizegiving ceremony carried out by our Sunday School Teacher, Mrs Gail Hanna and the Rev Hutton. All the pupils received certificates for the Sunday School Competitions and Attendance Money. There were special awards for Abbey Hanna, Daniel Wilson, Dylan Wharton, Sarah Auterson, Joseph Hanna, Stuart Scott, Martin McGrane, Nadine and Nicole Hempkin and Lauren and Naomi Wharton who were all awarded 1st, 2nd or 3rd prizes in the Competitions. Megan Hanna was given a little gift to thank her for all her help throughout the year. Nadine and Nicole Hempkin were the deserving winners of the Ken McClure Memorial Cup and Bible for the Best Overall Pupil(s). Abbey Hanna and Daniel Wilson, Sarah Auterson and Dylan Wharton and Lauren and Naomi Wharton all received shields for being the Best Class Pupil(s). Our final presentation was the Isobel Wylie Memorial Cup for Best Attendance and this was won by Nicole Hempkin who only missed 2 Sundays throughout the Sunday School year. So well done to everyone.

After this the offering was received as Naomi Wharton entertained us on the recorder and Lucy Hanna said the Offering Prayer. The entire congregation then joined in and sang our next Hymn from Junior Praise "Stand up, Clap Hands, Shout Thank You Lord". Nadine Hempkin then said a Poem for Fatherís Day entitled "I said a Prayer for you today", during which Sophie Hempkin and Abbey Hanna gave all the men a Fatherís Day Bookmark. Martin McGrane, Joseph Hanna and Dylan Wharton then said our final prayers "Lord, in the morning I start each day". We then all sang our final hymn "Colours of Day", and Lauren Wharton closed the service with the Benediction "Now, before I run to play".

Sponsored Walk and Barbecue: On Saturday 27th June the Newry Sunday School held a Sponsored Walk and BBQ in Gosford Forest Park. The aim was not only to raise as such money as possible for Sunday School Funds and Southern Area Hospice but to also give the children of the Sunday School a fun, enjoyable day out. There was a great turnout on the day as we were blessed with lovely warm weather and at approximately 12:15 p.m. we set off on our 3.7 km walk round the Deer Park Walk leaving the Chefs for the day to light the BBQ's and cook the food for our return! On completion of the walk everyone enjoyed superbly cooked burgers and hotdogs accompanied by salads and tumblers of juice. As the good weather continued well into the afternoon no-one was in any hurry to leave and the children took part in organised games and races, while the adults sat round and enjoyed the craic! At approximately 4:30 p.m. it was finally time to pack up and go home having thoroughly enjoyed our day. At this time the final amount raised is not known but is expected to be well over £500.00. So thanks to everyone who took part, sponsored, donated or helped out.

The number of adults that attended was pleasing showing the support towards the Sunday School. Thanks goes to the men who acted as Chefs, and to the other males that did the walk.

Our organist Mrs Madge McNellis was on holidays on Sunday 24th May and we welcomed Miss Maud Boggs to our church. The members of the choir appreciated the music and at least one member congratulated her on her performance.

On Sunday 14th June the minister had a Favourite Hymns of the congregation service. These were "The Lord's My Shepherd", "Shine Jesus, Shine", "On A Hill Far Away" and "How Great Thou Art".

Presentation: After the Children's Day Service the minister Rev Norman Hutton presented our organist Mrs Madge McNellis with a painting of the Egyptian Arch (a well known landmark which she passes frequently), and then Mrs Lorna Hanna on behalf of the choir presented a large arrangement of flowers. This was to mark 51 years service as organist to our church.

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JULY 2009

On Sunday 26th April we welcomed the Rev Rosalind Taggart to Newry for the first time since she was ordained. She gave an interesting address on the Muslim faith. The Spring Communion Service was conducted by the Rev Norman Hutton, the attendance was slightly up on last year. On the following Sunday we launched our annual appeal for Christian Aid Week, the Rev Hutton gave an appropriate address.

Visitors: On the following Monday, 11th May, the Ladies' Guild held their Visitors' Night in the Warnock Hall. Around 50 guests were present to hear Mrs Margaret Mayne give an interesting talk entitled "Reared in the Master's House". For well over an hour she captivated the audience with stories of her childhood as she grew up in the school-house. Her father was the headmaster of Loughbrickland School. Mrs Charlotte Holmes, the Honorary Secretary, got a big surprise when the Ladies presented her with a bouquet of flowers to mark her forthcoming birthday.

Wedding: On 15th May the rain stopped long enough for the Wedding of Jonathan McWilliams and Lynette Campbell. The young couple were married by the Rev Norman Hutton and Mr R. Anketell presided at the organ.

The Ladies' Guild have arranged for the installation of a new kitchen in the Warnock Hall. This work will be carried out over the summer months. The work entails the supply and fitting of the new kitchen to include new floor and wall tiles and all the associated electrical and plumbing work. We thank the ladies for their thoughtfulness.

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MAY 2009

The Good Friday service took place with a smallish attendance which was disappointing. However the Service of Meditation for those who were there was spiritually rewarding.

The choir sang the following pieces: Introit: "Broken For Me". The Service took the praise with Hymns and Readings. Hymns: "There Is A Green Hill Far Away", "Jesus Comes With All His Grace", "When My Love To Christ Grows Weak", "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?", "O Sacred Heart, Sore Wounded", "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross".

Readings: These were read by the following: Rev Norman Hutton, Daryl Hempkin, Tom Wylie, Heather Berry, William Hanna, Lorna Hanna. During the service the choir sang verses from "My Song Is Love Unknown".

Birth: Congratulations go to Mr and Mrs Bobbie Thompson with the birth of their second grandson. We wish them all well in this joyful event.

Easter Day: The attendance was appreciated for this very important Service. The form took the usual format with Hymns, Prayers and Readings.

Hymns sung were Introit "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today", "The Day Of Resurrection", "Rejoice And Be Glad", "The Head That Once Was Crowned With Thorns" and "Thine Be The Glory, Conquering Son". Anthem "The Lord's My Shepherd" and the Offering Hymn was "The World Was In Darkness".

Address: "What kind of world is this" - this was both an interesting and spiritual address, as it compared the way of life today with that of the views of Jesus on the first Easter Day.

Sale of Work. Again we the church are indebted to the Ladies' Guild for the work put in to gather needed funds. It is called a Sale of Work, and it is called correctly as there must be easier ways to raise money, yet the ladies always turn up on a Saturday for this occasion. The sale was quite a success as it raised the sum of over £1,300 but there could have been a better response to this event. The usual stalls were Plants, Bric-a-brac, Cakes, Tombola, and the refreshing Tea section.

Sunday School teachers and pupils again turned out to sell Sweets, Drinks, Crisps, Bran Tub, Guess the Name of the Rabbit correctly named as "PATCH" by J. Wilson. This was a good effort by those involved.

The Raffle had 30 prizes, the first six persons are listed below. 1st Hamper - Ben Berry. 2nd M & S Voucher - Lorraine Holmes. 3rd Large Easter Egg - Phillip Berry. 4th Rug - Jack Moody. 5th Flower Arrangement - E. White. 6th Tin of Quality Street - P. Gibney.

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APRIL 2009

The Annual General Meeting took place on 4th March when around two dozen parishioners attended. Reports showed that income had risen for the year 2008 which was a welcome sign. All officers were re-elected with two new members being added to the committee, Mr Thomas McGrane and Mr Walter Davis.

Rev Hutton thanked the secretary and treasurer who had worked extremely hard throughout the year. The Ladies' Guild are in a healthy position and help given by them is appreciated. A new kitchen and furnishings are their intentions during this coming year. Several people were also thanked for their efforts. They were Mr Robert Gordon and Mr Gordon Cunningham for looking after the Graveyard, etc., and Mrs McIlwrath for the good work undertaken each year raising funds from the Webb Ivory catalogue. Thanks also goes to the five Sunday School teachers for their commitment Mrs Daryl Hempkin, Mrs Gail Hanna, Anthea, Samantha and Elaine. During the year they donate funds to the Village of Hope for children who are lucky enough to be transferred from State orphanages to foster homes. They also raised money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care by having a "Blooming Great Tea Party", and bringing gifts for children which were forwarded to the Salvation Army. To the Property Committee many thanks for their tireless and to date unrewarded work. Both to our Organist Mrs Madge McNellis and to the Caretaker Mr Raymond Little we express thanks. Tea was supplied by the Ladies' Guild after the meeting.

Baptisms: Sunday, 15th February Jay Richard Gordon McWilliams son of Jonathan and Lynette. Sunday, 22nd February Lewis Patrick Gordon son of Mark and Amanda.

Invitations: Over the past few weeks Ladies' Guild have visited the following places of worship: Salvation Army, Ryans Presbyterian Church and Mullaghglass Church of Ireland. Reports are that each was pleasing and that fellowship through tea added to the events.

Vandalism: Due to the continued vandalism of some it was necessary to re-erect the wire mesh to protect the stained glass windows.

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MARCH 2009

This year has seen much heavy rain and storms during January and snow and sleet so far this month. However the attendances have held up. During the next fortnight the Ladies' Guild will be attending three events and we hope to have a report on these in our April edition.

Births: Congratulations go to Richard and Elaine Hanna on the birth of a son, and also to Thomas and Susan Graham on the birth of a son.

Orange Community Awards 2008 Fund Raising: Members from the Benagh area learnt that the local lodge, Benagh, had achieved the runners-up award in the Best Charity Fund Raising section. They were praised for their hard work in donating money to the Southern Hospice in Newry by running a Darts contest. The amount raised was over £500.00. In the Individual Community Involvement Award section the runner-up was another member of our church, Tom Wylie, awarded for his 28 years in fund raising for both the Orange Lodge and other different charities. Since the 1980s he has raised the sum of over £10,000.00. For this effort he was highly commended.

Bereavement: On Sunday, 8th February we learnt of the death of William E. Little (Bill). He was born on 21st February 1945 and died on 18th January. William emigrated to Canada some years ago and was well known both here and in the adopted city of Calgary for his designed environments with wood and stone. Donations are being sent to the Durham Regional Cancer Centre and the Station Gallery.

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Each Sunday during the season of Advent, we light candles on the Advent wreath. This is preceded by a call to worship in which the Sunday School take part. On Sunday, 30th November we lit the candle of HOPE, and recalled the hope we have in CHRIST. During the Children's address, the Rev Hutton reminded everyone of the symbolism of the Advent wreath.

At the conclusion of the usual monthly meeting of the Session and Committee on Wednesday, 3rd December, Mrs Doris Hutton provided seasonal refreshments.

Bereavement: The congregation were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mrs Violet Elizabeth Cowan, on Friday evening 5th December in the Hospice. Violet had been in her usual seat only a fortnight previously. Her funeral service took place on Monday, 8th December, and during the course of the address, Rev Hutton paid tribute to "A wonderful Christian woman" who as well as raising four children and looking after the family home also worked for many years in many of the textile factories in the district. Violet was laid to rest in the family plot in Old Meeting House Green and the large turnout of mourners bore tribute to the high regard the people of Newry had for this jovial lady.

The second candle, the candle of PEACE was list on the Advent wreath on Sunday 7th December reminding us that the prophet Isaiah calls Christ "The prince of peace". Once again the Sunday School assisted in the call to worship. On Sunday 14th, it was the candle of JOY that was lighted, reminding us that Christ brings the promise of a New life - a new life in which the blind receive sight, the lame walk and the prisoners are set free. He is the bringer of the true and everlasting joy. The children brought gifts of toys and place them under the tree. Mr Tom Wylie saw that these were delivered to the Salvation.

Carol Service: Our Carol Service was held on Sunday, 21st December, but before the service the Sunday School once again entertained the congregation to Tea, Coffee, Mince Pies and Shortbread. During the call to worship, the fourth candle, the candle of LOVE was lighted on the Advent wreath, after which the choir sang the Introit "Born In The Night". Representatives of all aspects of church life read the lessons - Mrs Heather Berry (Choir), Mrs Ann Sterritt (Ladies Guild), Mrs Daryl Hempkin (Sunday School Superintendent), Mrs Lorna Hanna (Session), it was left to Rev Hutton to read from John's Gospel. As well as singing of Carols Hunter Moore Flute Band ensemble provided other seasonal music. The Sunday School told the story, history of the Christmas card, and presented everyone with a card they had made themselves.

We welcomed two visitors from America to this service. Santa Claus arrived at the end of the service, with a present for each child. A fitting conclusion to a WONDERFUL service. Joy had come to everyone.

We had our usual short Service on Christmas Morning - finally the children got to light the central white candle symbolising that prophecy was fulfilled and Christ - "The light of the World" - had come. Mr Tom Wylie and Mrs Doris Hutton assisted the Rev Hutton with the Scriptural readings.

Three days later, we were back at church again for our first service after Christmas. Rev Hutton preached a thought-provoking sermon entitled "Romance and Reality" - the reality that comes after the romance of Christ's birth. We in the Newry Church would like to take this opportunity to wish all the members of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church - "A happy and peaceful New Year".

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Baptism: On Sunday 26th October the daughter of John and Paula Gordon was Christened. We welcome baby Lucy Anna Gordon into our church. The Hymn used was "Lord Jesus Once A Child".

On Remembrance Day Mr Robert Gordon laid a wreath in remembrance of all those who died during the World Wars.

The Sunday School held a Beetle Drive on 30th October, and raised a sum of around £300.

Communion Service took place on 2nd November when a moderate number of parishioners attended.

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The first commandment is this: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." The second is this: "You must love your neighbour as yourself." No other commandment is greater than these.

Mark 12:29-31

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17b