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

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News - 2010

Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan


The Annual Church Holiday, organised by our Minister and facilitated by Redthorn Holiday, took place between 19th and 23rd July and was based at the Birnam Hotel, near Dunkeld. After a beautiful crossing we made our way via Glasgow and Perth to our hotel, arriving in time for dinner at 7:30 p.m.

The next morning was spent exploring Dunkeld, one of Scotland's most delightful small towns, straddling the banks of the River Tay. Dunkeld Cathedral has a superb setting on the north bank of the River Tay, surrounded by the Perthshire hills and sheltered by pine forests. For over 1400 years Christians have worshipped on the site. In the turbulent history of Scotland Dunkeld Cathedral suffered desecration and destruction - in 1560 following the Reformation and in 1689 during the Battle of Dunkeld. It is now home to the Church of Scotland congregation of Dunkeld.

In the afternoon our tour took us into Pitlochry, through the pass of Killiecrankie and Blair Castle and back to Birnam. In Birnam itself there were many wonderful walks and a small park dedicated to the writer, Beatrix Potter.

Wednesday started off very wet, so we postponed our planned trip to the Cairngorms and headed instead to Dundee for some retail therapy. After a couple of hours shopping we set off over the Tay Bridge for St Andrews, where we spent the next couple of hours either walking around the university town or visiting the Abbey and Castle. We returned back to the hotel through Perth and discovered parts of the city had suffered from flooding.

Thursday proved to be a beautiful day, so we headed into the Cairngorms. Our first stop was at the UK's highest funicular railway, which took the party in comfort and safety on a spectacular journey from the car park at 2083 feet to the Ptarmigan top station at 3598 feet above sea level, which at 4084 feet is Britain's 6th highest mountain. Most of the party enjoyed their lunch in the restaurant at 3600 feet above sea level. Thanks to Alan, our driver, we safely descended the mountain and enjoyed a beautiful sunny afternoon in Aviemore.

This being our last night, many took and evening walk along the banks of the now flooded Tay and gazed in amazement at the 400-year-old oak tree on the river bank.

All good things have to end and so it was with our holiday to Scotland. We set off on Friday morning for Stranraer but, before we boarded the HSS, there was a lunch stop at Dowhill Farm Restaurant to sample good wholesome Scottish food. Thus ended another memorable holiday in beautiful surroundings amongst good friends.

Undoubtedly the holiday was the highlight of the summer but during the months of July and August we have welcomed many visitors to our church. Most were "old friends" returning to visit their family in the Newry area.

On Sunday 8th August we welcomed many friends of John and Paula Gordon for the Baptism of their baby daughter, Connie Grace, a sister for Lucy Anna. The Rev Hutton performed the Baptism and introduced her to the congregation in the usual way.

With the summer over, the autumn activities recommenced and on Sunday 5th September the Sunday School returned after the summer holiday. Our first big activity was our Harvest Thanksgiving Services on Sunday 19th, the evening service being conducted by Rev Chris Wilson with Hunter Moore Flute Band leading the praise.

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On Monday, 10th May 2010, the Ladies once again held a very successful Visitors’ Night in the Warnock Hall. There was a god turnout from our Sister churches to witness a display of costume jewellery by Sharon of Pretty Pearls.

The Ladies of the congregation were joined by others from our Sister churches and Ballee for a refresher course on Health and Hygiene, organised by Mrs Heather Henning. All the Ladies graduated once again.

During the summer months it is good to welcome visitors to the church. Recently two former members returned from New Zealand. William Cunningham was baptised in the church 49 years ago and this his first visit. His sister Mary has made several visits home in the past 15 years.

Several members of the church have been bereaved since our last report and several have been in hospital – all these members are in our thoughts and prayers.

Children’s Day: Our annual Children’s Day Service was held on Sunday, 20th June and began with Welcoming Sentences from Nadine Hempkin who was our 'Minister' for the day. 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 'God’s Wonderful Creation – Our World'. Hymns sang were 'Stand up. Clap hands. Shout thank you Lord', 'My God is so Big', 'Can you Count the Stars', 'I have seen the Golden Sunshine' and 'O O O How Good is the Lord'. The Sunday School sang 'The Creation Song' and Lucy Hanna and Joshua Wilson entertained the congregation on the recorder and the piano.

All our readings came from a story about the Creation by Barbara Wilmerton Haas and were based on Genesis Chapter 1 Verses 1-31. All our readings and prayers were read by Lauren Wharton, Naomi and Dylan Wharton, Nadine, Nicole and Sophie Hempkin, Lucy Hanna and Abbey Hanna, while Alex Wharton and Jake McMurray received the offering and Daniel Wilson and Abbey Hanna gave all the Fathers a special scroll with the poem 'What Makes a Dad' specially for Fathers Day.

Then came the all-important prizegiving ceremony carried out by our Sunday School Superintendent Mrs Daryl Hempkin and the Rev Hutton. All the pupils received certificates for the Sunday School Competitions and Attendance Money. We received prizes in the Competitions including 3rd prize to Daniel Wilson in the 4-5 age group for colouring in an outline of a scene from the Christmas Story, 1st prize in the 6-7 age group for making a collage of the parable of the Lost Sheep, 3rd prize to Dylan Wharton and Lucy Hanna in the 8-10 age group for making a model of an event in the life of Moses, 1st prize to Sophie Hempkin for writing a story about what you think would please and displease Jesus about life today in the 14+ section, an excellent achievement for Sophie as she is only 12, 1st prize to Nadine and Sophie Hempkin for making a model of a memorial garden for the church in the General Section, 3rd prize to Lauren and Naomi Wharton, also in the General Section, for making a model of Moses in the Bulrushes and 1st prize to Nicole Hempkin in the General Section for a freehand drawing of our Church and for this entry Nicole was also awarded the Domestic Mission Award for Best Denominational Entry.

Martin McGrane was the deserving winner of the Ken McClure Memorial Cup and Bible for the Best Overall Pupil. Jake McMurray and Alex Wharton, Dylan Wharton and Nicole Hempkin 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 Lucy Hanna and Sophie Hempkin who each only missed two Sundays throughout the Sunday School year. So huge congratulations to everyone.

Sponsored Walk and Barbecue: On Saturday, 26th June the Newry Sunday School held a Sponsored Walk and Barbecue in Gosford Forest Park. The aim was not only to raise as much 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 of children and adults alike as we were blessed with lovely warm weather.

At approximately 12:15 p.m. we set off on our 3.7km walk round the Deer Park Walk leaving the Chefs for the day to light the barbecues 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 £560.00, so thanks to everyone who took part, sponsored, donated or helped out.

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JUNE 2010

The Annual General Meeting of the Congregation took place in the Warnock Hall on Wednesday, 3rd March. Those present received reports from the Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, Sunday School, Ladies Guild and Property Committee. The Convenor of the Property Committee expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress in settling our claim for damages from the Architect and Builder for work carried out over ten years ago. He asked for and received permission to arrange a meeting with the Solicitor and Expert Witness within the next ten days. This meeting took place on Friday, 12th March. The Property Committee conveyed the feelings of the Congregation to our Solicitors and Architect and it was agreed that a limited amount of work would commence in 2010. All office bearers were re-elected.

The Ladies held a very successful coffee morning and cake sale in the Warnock Hall on Saturday, 27th March - over £1700 was raised. On Mothering Sunday Naomi and Dylan Wharton distributed roses to the Ladies of the congregation as a gift from the Rev and Mrs Hutton.

The Good Friday Service of Meditation took place based on "Christ’s last seven words on the cross". There was an average attendance; unfortunately our organist was rushed into hospital the previous Monday and Mr Billy Chambers stepped in and presided at the organ. The Choir sang the Introit O come and mourn with me awhile and the Anthems "Alone you make your way O Lord" and "Thank you Jesus". Light refreshments were provided by the Ladies Guild in the Warnock Hall.

On Easter Sunday Miss Maud Boggs, our Banbridge organist, kindly helped us out with our Special Service for Easter Day. Once again the Choir sang the Introit "My heart is full with Thankfulness" and the Anthems "I know that my Redeemer Liveth" and "Before the Throne of God above".

During the Rev Hutton’s absence in Scotland, where he conducted the wedding of his son Jonathan to Miss Denise Kelly, our service on Sunday, 11th April was conducted by Mrs Bessie Thompson and Mr Ronald Ankatell presided at the organ.

We welcomed back to Newry Rev Charles McCurdy, who conducted our service on Sunday, 18th April. Charles is no stranger to Newry, as he has become a regular supply when Rev Hutton is on holiday. Rev Hutton conducted the service on Sunday, 25th April, which included the Sacrament of Baptism at the end of the service - Megan Sandra Jones, the infant daughter of Brian and Sandra, was received into the Church Universal.

On Sunday, 2nd May we resumed using the "common cup" for our Communion Service; the attendance was smaller than usual, due to the May Day holiday weekend.

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MARCH 2010

Each year Mrs Charlotte Holmes makes a beautiful Advent Wreath, and this heralds the countdown to Christmas. The children and Sunday School Teachers participate in lighting the candles on the four Sundays of Advent. During Advent many of our activities are focused on the Sunday School. On the Second Sunday of December the children bring gifts for the Salvation Army, which are placed around the Christmas tree. Mr Tom Wylie then delivers these at a later date to the local Salvation Army Citadel who are always deeply appreciative of the children's generosity.

This year saw a repeat of the very successful Christmas Coffee Morning prior to our Carol Service on Sunday, 20th December. This was hosted by the Sunday School and was attended by the entire congregation, who in appreciation of this great venture, made a donation to Sunday School funds.

During the Carol Service the children played out the Nativity Story, with the little ones acting out the scenes, whilst the older pupils narrated the wonderful Christmas Story. The children also presented all the adult members of the congregation with a gold bauble and a scroll, asking if they accepted the Gift of Jesus at Christmas. Santa Claus made his usual special appearance after the close of the service, and each child in the congregation received a gift.

There was a good attendance on Christmas Morning, when our short service took the form of three Readings and four Carols and Prayers. That was followed on the last Sunday of December with a short service ending 2009.

The New Year commenced with a service looking forward to Epiphany - the theme of which was the significance of "the Wise Men's Gifts".

Many of the congregation were to find themselves "snowed in" on the Second Sunday of January - the attendance was understandably low. It was with deep regret that the minister advised the congregation of the death of Dr. Gerald Donaldson. He had accompanied his wife Joy to the Sunday School Beetle Drive in October to collect the cheque for the Hospice. Many of the congregation attended a Service of Thanksgiving for his life in St. Mary's Parish Church on Friday 15th January.

It is also with deep regret that we learned of the death of Mr Kenneth Brown, the stepbrother of our Minister, Rev Norman Hutton. Many of the congregation knew Kenneth through business and sporting circles, and most attended his funeral on Wednesday, 20th January in our Warrenpoint Church.

On Saturday, 30th January the Sunday School enjoyed their annual trip to Newry City Hall to see the Pantomime, Beauty and the Beast. The adults enjoyed the show as the kids munched their way through their Goody Bags as they too enjoyed the performance.

The Ladies' Guild Dinner took place on Wednesday, 19th February in the Whistledown Hotel in Warrenpoint. They have also decided that they will replace the Easter Sale with a Coffee Morning and Cake Sale on Saturday, 27th March between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

As we enter the Season of Lent, preparations are in hand for the Good Friday Service on Friday, 2nd April at 7:30 p.m.

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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