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

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News - 2012

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


This year the Rev Hutton once again organised a six day holiday, this time to the South-East of Ireland, based in White's Hotel, Wexford. When Alan (bus driver) picked up the party along the route on the morning of Monday 23rd July the weather was anything but holiday like. Nevertheless, as we proceeded down the M1 towards Dublin, the sun made a welcome appearance. We stopped for refreshments at the City North Hotel outside Drogheda, then down the M1 again, the M50 and the N11 to our lunch break at Inch, Co Wicklow. We arrived in Wexford around 4:30 p.m. having travelled down the R741 from Gorey. After settling into the hotel and dinner, most of the party went sightseeing around Wexford Town which dates back to the 2nd century.

Tuesday was spent exploring Wexford; whilst some went shopping, others followed the Ecclesiastical Heritage Trail around Wexford, which provided excellent photo opportunities. On Wednesday we set out from Wexford for Kilkenny. This charming route took us through many picturesque towns and villages along the Rivers Barrow, Nore and Slaney. At Bennettsbridge we visited the Nicholas Mosse Pottery for morning coffee and shopping. Then it was on for three hours of sightseeing in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny, with its beautiful restored historic buildings and charming narrow slipways positioned side by side with shops and restaurants.

Thursday was a beautiful summer day, just perfect for our visit to John F Kennedy Arboretum outside New Ross. Dedicated to the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the Arboretum contains over 4500 types of trees and shrubs, covering 623 acres on the southern slopes of Sliabh Coillte. From the summit (271m) there are panoramic views over six counties another opportunity for wonderful photographs. After lunch we made our way to Waterford City, Ireland's oldest city, located on the site of the original 9th century Viking settlement. With so many remarkable buildings and great shopping, this also proved a popular stop.

On Friday we took a short trip from Wexford to Hook Lighthouse on Hook Head. The original purpose built lighthouse is still a fully operational lighthouse, maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights. The return journey back to Wexford was via the modern port of Rosslare. The afternoon provided a final opportunity for last-minute shopping or sightseeing. On the return journey on Saturday we stopped off in Avoca, and later had lunch in the City North Hotel. All too soon our annual holiday was over for another year.

On 29th July we sang ten of the congregation's favourite hymns. The Rev Hutton introduced the hymns with a brief description of the hymn, the writer, and what it was that inspired the writer to compose the hymn. He also used relevant passages of scriptures to highlight the theme behind the hymn. This was a popular service, and many were sorry to have missed it because of holiday commitments, but the Rev Hutton has agreed to organise another service later in the year.

Sunday School recommenced on Sunday 9th September with one new member. Plans have been made for another active year in the life of our Sunday School. The first activity that the Sunday School was involved in was the Harvest. As usual the children brought tins of food, which will be distributed to the needy by the Salvation Army.

The Harvest Services were held on Sunday 23rd September. As usual the church was beautifully decorated by the ladies the previous Saturday. The Morning Service was conducted by the Rev Norman Hutton. His address was based on Psalm 65, "Still a time to be thankful". The choir, accompanied by Mrs Madge McNelis on the organ, sang the Introit "Lord I come before your throne of grace", the Anthem "Great is the Lord" and, during the offering, "Consider the lilies". The Evening Service saw one of the largest attendances at this service for many years. The service was conducted by the Rev Dr John Nelson, and his address proved very popular with both the congregation and many of the visitors in attendance. The Hunter Moore Memorial Flute Bland led the praise. After the service everyone was invited for refreshments in the Warnock Hall.

On Sunday 30th September Mr Sam Agnew conducted the service, as the Rev Hutton was in Templepatrick conducting a Gift Day Service. Sam is a very able and popular lay preacher and his Children's Address is always deeply appreciated by young and old alike.

The first Sunday in October is usually a very busy day in the denomination's calendar, and this year was no exception. After conducting a Harvest Service in Banbridge at 10 a.m., the Rev Hutton conducted our usual service at 11:30 a.m. before going on to Warrenpoint for their Harvest at 3:30 p.m., and then back to Banbridge for 6:30 p.m. for the Evening Harvest there. Many of the congregation went along to Warrenpoint to support the small congregation there.

The website continues to attract attention and we hope it will add to our numbers. We thank Thomas McGrane for keeping it up-to-date for us. We hope in the near future to add to it, to enable interested persons to trace their ancestors.

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Our Minister went on holidays after Easter, and on Sunday 15th April the Rev Rosalind Taggart conducted all three services in Banbridge, Newry and Warrenpoint in the Rev Hutton's absence. The following Sunday, 22nd April we welcomed to Newry Mr Sam Agnew from Dromore. There was reasonable attendance and good reports were received regarding our visiting preachers.

The Sacrament of Holy Communion was held on Sunday 6th May. Mrs Lorna Hanna and Mr David Hanna assisted the Rev Hutton in the distribution of the elements. We welcomed to the Lord's Table two new communicants, Miss Sophie Hempkin and Mr Martin McGrane, who the previous Wednesday attended a pre-communion class with the Rev Hutton.

During the last three Sundays in May we held a retiring collection in support of Christian Aid.

On Monday 14th May our Ladies held their Annual Visitors' Night. It took the form of a Musical Evening featuring Seapatrick Music Group under the direction of Mr Noel Cairns. This proved a good success both with our Ladies and their visitors from our Sister Churches in the District. The Group have offered their services again and we hope to have them back in the autumn for a fundraising event.

The Sunday School Conference was held on Friday 1st June. The Children did very well considering the small size of the Sunday School. Unfortunately the Minister could not be in attendance as he and Mrs Hutton were attending his sister's funeral in Wigan. But through the medium of text messages he was kept appraised of the children's progress on the journey home.

On Saturday 16th June the Annual Field Trip of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland took place to South Down. Prior to lunch the society visited our Church in Newry and Old Meeting House Green, the site of our previous church.

We held our annual Children's Day Service on Sunday 17th June and this was well attended by children, parents, grandparents and congregation members. The Theme for our service this year was "Jesus Loves You" with our Minister for the day being Abbey Hanna. Hymns sang by the entire congregation were 'Praise Him, Praise Him, All His Children Praise Him'; 'How Deep the Father's Love for Us'; 'Jesus' Love is Very Wonderful'; 'Jesus Loves Me' and 'O Happy Day', and the children sang 'Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam' and 'Jesus Loves the Little Children'. During the service we also had piano recitals from Daniel and Joshua Wilson, who also played during the offering.

Our first reading was entitled 'Jesus loves you unconditionally' and was read by Lucy Hanna and was followed with our first prayer, a Child's Prayer, which was read by Joshua Wilson, Alex Wharton and Jake McMurray with the Lord's Prayer lead by Abbey. As this Sunday was also Fathers Day, Joshua, Rebecca and Sarah Wharton and Georgia McMurray presented all the Fathers with a special bookmark while Martin McGrane read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 'Love is Patient'. Sophie Hempkin read our second reading entitled 'Jesus Loves You' and this was followed by prayers from Martin and Lucy. Olivia Devlin and Lucy gave a short address to the children 'Does God Have Favourites?'.

This was followed by our all important prizegiving. Shields were given to the best pupil in each class and these were received by Abbey, Alex and jointly by Martin and Sophie. Sunday School Competition prozes were then received as follows:

Abbey Hanna - 3rd prize - Group C4 (Ind) - Jesus did many things to help people. Decorate and write out five things you could do to help others.

Alex Wharton - 2nd Prize - Group D4 (Ind) - Read Psalm 100 - and re-write in your own words.

Sophie Hempkin - 1st Prize - Group F4 (Ind) - Produce a poster for the denominational magazine about any issue which concerns your age group.

Sophie Hempkin - 1st prize - Group F5 (Ind) - Do your 'Family Tree' using a tree outline, showing members of your family, with photographs.

Sophie Hempkin - 1st prize - Group G1 (Group) - Prepare a Leaflet to give to your Church on the work of Christian Aid.

Gail Hanna's Class - 2nd Prize - Group G2 - Design a board game on the theme of either 'The Exodus', 'Joshua and the Canaanites', 'The Lost Sheep', or 'Saint Paul and his Travels'.

Martin McGrane - 2nd Prize - Group G3 (Ind) - Draw or paint freehand a picture of any church in the NSPCI.

Sophie Hempkin and Nadine Hempkin - 3rd Prize - Group G6 (b) - Any other written work which does not fit a given question but which is in accordance with the faith and values of the NSPCI.

Sophie Hempkin was also awarded The James Meneely Award for Best Arts and Crafts Entry - Group F5 - Do your 'Family Tree' using a tree outline, showing members of your family, with photographs.

Attendance money was also received and the Isobel Wylie Cup for Attendance went to Lucy who only missed one Sunday from Sunday School throughout the year. The Kenneth McClure Memorial Cup and Presentation Bible was awarded jointly to Sophie and Lucy. Well done to everyone!

After this we had our third reading read for us by Olivia 'The Greatest Commandment' Mark 12:28-34. Our Offering was then received by Alex and Jake and Abbey read the Offertory Prayer. The very enjoyable service closed with the Benediction from Abbey.

On Saturday 23rd June the Sunday School went ahead with their Annual Sponsored Walk and barbecue in Gosford Forest Park in Markethil. During the days leading up to this event the weather was poor, but on the day we managed to complete our walk and enjoy our barbecue thanks to our Sunday School Teachers and their band of workers, made up of parents and friends.

The Ladies' Guild final meeting was held in the home of the Rev and Mrs Hutton. After the business was completed Mrs Hutton showed a DVD produced by her son Phillip made up of interesting events in the church's history, captured on cine-film and in photographs. The evening was rounded off with a finger buffet.

This year the 1st of July fell on a Sunday, so the Rev Hutton took the opportunity of including a Reflection on the events of 1st July 1916, when a member of our congregation, Henry Rainey, a Private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the Somme. He has no known grave and his name is included on Thiepval Memorial. The service also included an Act of Remembrance.

After this service Ryan Thomas Keenan, son of Sean and Gail, was baptised by Rev Norman Hutton.

From Monday 23rd July until Saturday 28th July, 30 or so members and friends of the congregation are on holiday touring Wexford and Waterford. Let's hope the south-east corner of Ireland lives up to its reputation as being the sunniest part of Ireland.

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MAY 2012

We were saddened to learn of the death of Mrs Jean Dodds, sister of Mrs Agnes Wharton. Her funeral took place on Monday 16th January in Downshire Road Presbyterian Church. To Agnes and the Wharton family, we extend our deepest sympathy.

On Saturday 21st January the children of the Sunday School, together with their teachers and some parents, enjoyed the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, in Newry Town Wall. Every child got a "goody bag" as well.

The funeral took place on Tuesday 24th January of Mr Maurice Davis, son of our highly valued Committee Member, Mr Walter Davis.

On Thursday 26th January the Newry Clergy met in the Bishop's House, where Bishop John McAreavey hosted a coffee morning.

The tender documents, regarding repairs to the church, were opened in the presence of Mr David Hanna and the Rev Norman Hutton by Mr Paul Monaghan at 25 Weavers Meadow on Friday 27th January at 5:40 p.m. The five tenders ranged from under £400,000 to under £500,000. A tender report was to be prepared for a full meeting of the Presbytery Committee on Tuesday 14th February. Hopefully it appears there will be some resolution of this on-going saga during the year.

The Ladies' Guild returned to the Canal Court Hotel for their Annual Dinner on Wednesday 22nd February. A very enjoyable evening was had by all those who attended.

Sunday 26th February saw the start of our services for Lent. During the run up to Easter, the Rev Hutton preached on a variety of subjects based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings from Mark and John's Gospels.

This year the Newry Chapter of the Women's World Day of Prayer held their Annual Service in our Newry Church, based on "Let Justice Prevail" prepared by the Christian Women of Malaysia. Mrs Doris Hutton filled the role of Leader and the Guest Speaker was Mrs Florence Hoey, President of the Mothers' Union. The attendance at this service was up on previous years and is a source of great encouragement for the Chapter.

The Annual General Meeting of the Congregation was held on Wednesday 7th March in the Warnock Hall. A better than average attendance heard reports from Mrs Muriel Hanna (Secretary), Mr William Hanna (Treasurer), Mrs Daryl Hempkin (Sunday School Superintendent) and Mrs Charlotte Holmes and Mrs Lorna Hanna (Secretary and Treasurer respectively of the Ladies' Guild). All these reports showed an improvement on previous years. The Minister, the Rev Hutton, congratulated everyone on the fine effort made during a year of economic uncertainty. All Officers were re-elected with Mr Joe Berry and Mr Samuel Strain being added to the Committee. Mr Paul Monaghan attended the later part of the meeting to update the congregation on the situation regarding repairs to the church building. The Rev Hutton thanked Mr Monaghan for his attendance and implored him to use his good offices to expedite a satisfactory conclusion to the dilemma, which was entering the second decade.

Aran David Alexander Fyfe was baptised by the Rev Hutton on Saturday 10th March; he is the son of Brendan and Emma.

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mrs Joan Thompson, wife of our Senior Elder, Mr Robert Thompson. Mrs Thompson suffered a fall outside her house on the 1st June, and, during the last 10 months, she has spent time in the Royal Victoria, Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals. Her funeral took place on Saturday 31st March from her home in Altnaveigh to the church, where an overflowing congregation heard the Rev Hutton pay tribute to her life. The Rev Hutton said that Joan went about quietly doing good deeds for friends and neighbours. He illustrated his address with examples of Joan's humour. The Rev Hutton extended the sympathy of the congregation and those present to her husband Bobby, her children Samuel and Roberta, and all the Thompson and McClenaghan families.

At the same time another funeral was taking place in Downshire Road Presbyterian Church for Mr David McNellis, the brother-in-law of our organist Mrs Madge McNellis. On Sunday 1st April the Rev Hutton conveyed the deepest sympathy of the congregation to Mr and Mrs Herbie McNellis, and to Mr and Mrs Joe Berry on the death of Mrs Flo Berry's mother.

Earlier on Saturday 31st March the Ladies held their Annual Sale in the Warnock Hall. Initial returns show that the revenue is down on last year. In the afternoon the Ladies catered for those attending Mrs Joan Thompson's funeral.

Our Good Friday Service of Meditation was held on Friday 6th April. Although the congregation was smaller than usual, the enthusiasm for this service continues to grow. The choir sang the Introit "He Was Pierced" and the Anthem "The Old Rugged Cross". After the Rev Hutton had read from Isaiah Chapters 52 and 53, other readings from John 18 and 19 were read by Mrs Doris Hutton, Mr Thomas McGrane, Mrs Flo Berry, Mrs Daryl Hempkin and the Rev Hutton. After the service everyone adjourned to the Warnock Hall for refreshments.

On Easter Sunday morning the Rev Hutton advised the congregation of the death of Mrs Sarah Anderson. Her funeral took place on Wednesday 11th April from Digney's Funeral Home to the Crematorium at Roselawn. The Rev Hutton conducted the funeral service at both venues and conveyed the sympathy of the congregation to her husband Eddie and her family, and to Mrs Ann Sterritt, our Assistant Treasurer.

Our Easter Service commenced with the Introit "Hail The Day That Sees Him Rise". Other special music from the choir included "Kneel At The Cross" and "Jesus My Shepherd". For his address the Rev Hutton posed the question "What kind of World is this is it a Good Friday World or an Easter World?", based on John Chapter 20.

We conclude our report by asking God's Blessing on all who mourn the loss of loved ones and all who are ill in hospital or at home may God bless you all.

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On Sunday 23rd October we welcomed back to Newry Mrs Bessie Thompson, who conducted the service in the absence of our Minister, as the Rev Hutton and Mrs Doris Hutton were on a holiday in Lanzarote.

The Rev Hutton returned on Sunday 30th October. The following day we learned of the death of Mr George Johnston. George was born on 30th October 1939, and coincidently he died on 30th October 2011. The Rev Hutton conducted his funeral service in his home in O'Donoghue Park, Bessbrook and at the graveside in St Luke's Parish Church, Mullaghglass. To his sisters Maureen and Nellie we extend our deepest sympathy.

As usual our Autumn Communion Service was held on the first Sunday in November; forty-one participated in celebrating the Lord's Supper.

Mr Christopher Irwin, the Rev Hutton's son-in-law, gave an illustrated talk entitled "Remembering the Somme". A retiring collection raised £170, which was donated to the Royal Irish Benevolent Fund. Chris also brought along some memorabilia, which he had amassed during his several visits to the Somme.

After the Community Service at the Cenotaph in Newry, many of the congregation made their way to morning worship, where the Rev Hutton led the congregation in an Act of Remembrance for those who gave their lives and those who served in two World Wars. Mr Joe Berry laid the Poppy Wreath on the First World War Memorial.

After the morning service on Sunday 27th November, the Rev Hutton baptised Dylan Ciaran Galbraith, son of Ciaran and Lynda, into the Church Universal. This also being the first Sunday of Advent, the children of the Sunday School lit the first of the Advent Candles - the candle of "Hope".

On the following two Sundays the children again lit the candle of "Peace" and the candle of "Joy". On Sunday 11th December the children brought gifts of toys for the Salvation Army Toy Appeal.

Our Christmas Carol Service was preceded by a Coffee Morning hosted by the Sunday School. There was an excellent turnout for this event, and donations totalling £105.50 were given for Sunday School Funds. The service commenced with the Introit "Mary's Boy Child" with Mrs Lorna Hanna singing verse one. The fourth candle - the candle of "Love" - was lit after singing the carol "O Come All Ye Faithful". This was followed by the traditional carols and readings. The children of the Sunday School in their nativity costumes presented the play "A Christmas Window". At the close of the service Santa Claus appeared with a present for each child.

With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, we celebrated the Birth of our Saviour, by lighting the centre candle - "The Christ Candle". The short service consisted of three readings and four Christmas Carols. The Rev and Mrs Hutton greeting everyone on leaving the church.

We heralded in the New Year with a shorter than usual service. We commenced our worship with the hymn, "Lord hear our prayer for this New Year". The Rev Hutton's address was entitled "A New Year's Resolution".

Our Annual Trip is scheduled for the 23rd to 28th July 2012, based in White's Hotel, Wexford, with tours each day to local places of interest. Anyone interested in joining our happy band should see the Rev Hutton.

We learned on Sunday, 15th January, how grateful the Salvation Army were for the response to the Toy Appeal. Captain Valerie Morgan informed us that the small corps in Newry had helped 62 families, which included 173 children, who received one or more toys.

At this time our thoughts and prayers are with those who are ill, at home or in hospital. We also keep in our prayers those who mourn the loss of loved ones, and all who live alone.

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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