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

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News - 2013

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


The second quarter of 2013 was notable for the fact that during this period we had six baptisms – bringing the total for the year to ten.

However the quarter commenced with the 275th Anniversary Service of St Patrick’s Masonic Lodge No. 77. The Service of Thanksgiving was conducted by the Rev Norman Hutton and the Rev Charles McCurdy, who gave an inspiring address. The choir also contributed to the service by singing two special pieces.

On Sunday 28th April the Rev Joe Nixon conducted the morning service, as the Rev Hutton was conducting the Sacrament of Baptism in Banbridge for his grandson, Sam David Hutton.

The Spring Communion Service was held on the first Sunday of May. It would appear that the subsequent holiday on the next Monday is inclined to reduce the attendance. Nevertheless 37 communicants gathered around the Lord’s Table on this occasion.

The following Sunday, 12th May, we had the first of six baptisms. On this day Ellen Jane Henning and Brian David Henning were received into the Church Universal; they are the children of Brian and Pauline Henning.

That day also marked the start of Christian Aid Week, and on that day and the following Sunday a retiring offering was taken up for the work of Christian Aid.

On Tuesday 14th May the Rev Hutton was the guest speaker at the Newry Inter-Church Forum. He spoke on the history of the Church in Newry and of the denomination as a whole.

On Sunday 2nd June there was a double baptism. Rhys Trevor Williams, the infant son of Jonathon and Lynette, and Katie Elizabeth Curran, infant daughter of Stewart and Christine, were baptised in accordance with Matthew 28 Verse 19.

Synod took place in our Templepatrick Church on Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th June. Both Rev Peden and Rev Hutton stood down as Moderator and Clerk respectively. We extend our best wishes to the new Moderator, Rt Rev Paul Reid, and the new Clerk, Rev Chris Wilson. At the evening reception on the Wednesday, Rev John Nelson gave an inspiring talk on 400 years of Presbyterianism. The evening was sponsored by the Ulster Scots Agency and the night was rounded off by some fine toe-tapping music by "Risin' Stour".

On Sunday 30th June Chloe Karen Chambers was baptised at home by the Rev Norman Hutton.

July and August being holiday months, the numbers attending morning service fall off. We hope that all who enjoyed the fine weather in July will return refreshed and reinvigorated in the autumn.

On Sunday 28th July Emily Louise Hennity, infant daughter of Paul and Gail, was baptised in the Gordon family church.

As usual during the last week in July the Rev and Mrs Hutton organised a coach holiday for members of the congregation and their friends. This year we visited Killarney, staying at the Gleneagles Hotel. During our stay we had trips to Kate Kearney’s Cottage and Muckross House, the Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head, and the Ring of Kerry. On our journey down to Killarney we stopped at Adare. On the return journey we visited the Titanic Experience in Cobh. Except for one wet morning, we were blessed with beautiful weather to enjoy this South West corner of Ireland.

Children's Day: We held our annual Children's Day Service on Sunday 16th June 2013. We had an excellent number of children, watched by their parents, grandparents and friends who had all come along to see the children re-tell the story of Noah's Ark through hymns, readings and prayers. We also had musical entertainment and a Fathers Day poem and prayer. Our Minister for the day was Olivia Devlin and she expertly lead the congregation through the service. Hymns sang by the entire congregation were 'If I were a Butterfly', 'A Wiggly Waggly Worm', 'Father Lead me Day by Day', 'This Little Light of Mine' and 'Standing on the Promises of Christ my King' and the children sang 'The Animals Came in Two by Two' and 'I can see A Rainbow'.

Our first reading was from Genesis 6 Verses 6-22 and was read for us by Abbey Hanna. This was followed by our first prayer led by Jake McMurray followed by the Lord's Prayer. Alex Wharton and Daniel Wilson then read a poem and a prayer for Fathers Day, during which Megan, Matthew, Georgia, Sarah and Rebecca gave the fathers a small gift from Sunday School. Our second reading from Genesis 7 was read by Lucy Hanna. We then had our second prayer 'Grace Us Lord' by Joshua Wilson. Then Lucy Hanna played for us three beautiful tunes, including 'Amazing Grace', on the recorder.

This was followed by our all important prizegiving. Shields were given to the best pupil in each class and these were received by Georgia, Joshua and jointly by Lucy and Olivia. Sunday School Competition prizes were then received as follows - Anthea's Class received a 3rd prize for making a scrapbook about the Creation. In Gail's class Joshua Wilson, Sophie Gordon and Abbey Hanna received 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively for retelling in their own words the story of King Ahab stealing Naboth's vineyard, which they read for us before receiving their prizes. Joshua also received the Committee Award for the Best Written Entry for this question. Abbey Hanna also received 2nd prize for writing a thank you letter to Jesus. In Daryl's class Lucy Hanna and Olivia Devlin received 2nd prize and Sophie Hempkin received a 3rd prize for organising a fundraising event to raise money for a charity of their choice and producing a scrapbook on the event. Sophie Hempkin also received a 1st prize for coming up with an idea for an event suitable for teenagers aged 14+ within our denomination and preparing a plan for the event. Sophie also received a 3rd prize for designing a stained glass window for her church.

Attendance money was also received and the Isobel Wylie Cup for Attendance went jointly to Jake McMurray and Lucy Hanna who both didn't miss any Sundays from Sunday School throughout the year. The Kenneth McClure Memorial Cup and Presentation Bible was awarded to Olivia Devlin. And this year we had a new award, The Rainey Prize, awarded in memory of the late Mrs Molly McClure and this was awarded to Georgia McMurray. We were delighted to have with us Mrs Elaine Crozier, daughter of Kenneth and Molly, to present these awards.

After this we had our third reading read from Genesis 8 read for us by Sophie Hempkin. Jake McMurray and Alex Wharton received the offering during which Daniel Wilson played the piano and our Offering Prayer 'The Opportunity to Give' was read by Olivia. Our final reading from Genesis 9 was read by Olivia and Lucy and our very enjoyable service closed with the Benediction read by Olivia – 'In our Work and In our Play, Jesus, ever with us stays.'

Sponsored Walk and Barbecue: The Sunday School held their annual Sponsored Walk and BBQ in Gosford Forest Park on Saturday 22nd June 2013. Despite all the recent very bad weather we were extremely blessed to only have two showers during our event. After our walk of the Castle and Deer Trails we enjoyed excellently cooked burgers and sausages. The children then played games and had races with equipment purchased by the money raised from Sophie's Coffee Morning. Our event was very well supported by children and adults and we would like to thank everyone who participated, donated and helped out with the BBQ. Our aim is 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 and enjoyable day out together before we all take a break for the summer and there was agreement among everyone attending that we achieved this. We would also like to thank the Management of Gosford Forest Park for kindly allowing us the use of the facilities in the park.

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MAY 2013

Since our last report two families with a long connection with our church have suffered bereavement. In the early hours of Monday 14th January Mrs Molly McClure died in the Mater Hospital after a prolonged illness. After reposing in the church overnight, a Service of Thanksgiving for her life was conducted by the Rev Norman Hutton. The Committal was in the Presbyterian Cemetery on the Armagh Road.

The Rev Hutton reduced his commitments after taking unwell on Sunday 6th January. The Rev Joe Nixon conducted the Banbridge Service on Sunday 20th January and Dr Heather Walker conducted both Banbridge and Newry Services on Sunday 27th January to give the Rev Hutton a break. Heather is very popular with our congregation, especially with the children who love her addresses.

On Sunday 26th January the Sunday School enjoyed their annual trip to Newry Town Hall to see the pantomime, which this year was Aladdin. It was a great presentation by all the cast and everyone attending greatly enjoyed the performance. This is the seventh year we have had this successful outing and hopefully it will continue for several years. The children also enjoyed goody bags, provided by the Sunday School, as they watched the performance. Thanks to the parents who also attended and who also greatly enjoyed the performance.

The second of our families to suffer bereavement was the Hanna family, with the death of Mrs Sarah (Sadie) Hanna in Carlingford Lodge Care Home, where she had been a resident since September 2012, on Tuesday 5th February. Mrs Hanna was the mother of Mrs Doris Hutton, the wife of our minister. Her funeral took place on Thursday 7th February and the Committal took place in the Presbyterian Cemetery on the Armagh Road.

On Sunday 10th February during Morning Service, Emilee Greta Gordon, the infant daughter of Anthony and Karen Gordon, was welcomed into the Church Universal. Many of Karen’s family and friends joined the Gordon family for this joyous occasion.

We were saddened to learn of the death of Mrs May Peden, wife of our Moderator, and many of our congregation attended her funeral on Tuesday 12th February in our Dromore Church. This was conducted by our minister, the Rev Hutton, with her address being given by Very Rev William McMillan, who had known May since Sunday School days.

The Rev and Mrs Hutton became grandparents again when a second baby boy was born to Jonathan and Denise on Sunday 17th February.

Several members of the congregation were present at the Bannville House Hotel on Saturday 23rd February to celebrate the Golden Wedding Anniversary of our organist Mrs Madge McNellis and her husband Herbie.

On Sunday 3rd March after Morning Service, Jake David Toland, the infant son of Karl and Jemma, was welcomed in Baptism amongst many friends of Karl and Jemma.

The AGM was held on Wednesday 6th March in the Warnock Hall with an average attendance. Reports were presented by Mrs Muriel Hanna (Honorary Secretary), Mr William Hanna (Honorary Treasurer), Mrs Daryl Hempkin (Sunday School Superintendent), and Mrs Charlotte Holmes and Mrs Lorna Hanna (Ladies’ Guild). The minister thanked all those who presented Reports. Mr David Little was elected to the Committee and the Properties’ Committee. The Fundraising Committee was reconstituted to enable funds to be generated in the event of a shortfall occurring as a result of the repairs to the church buildings.

Our service on Mothering Sunday was conducted by Dr Heather Walker. Prior to the service one of our Sunday School pupils, Sophie Hempkin, organised a Coffee Morning and Raffle as part of her entry for the Denominational Competitions in June. Thanks to everyone’s tremendous generosity Sophie raised £262.55, which will go to the Sunday School Funds.

Our Ladies’ Sale took place on Saturday 23rd March – whilst the attendance was less than previous years, nevertheless over £1400 was raised for Church Funds.

The usual Good Friday Service was held once again at 7:30 p.m. – this year’s theme was "The Seven Words from the Cross". This meditation was interspersed with Reading, Hymns, Prayers and Anthems sung by the Choir. A retiring collection will be donated to the Ministers’ Widows’ Fund. Refreshments were served by the Ladies in the Warnock Hall.

On Easter Sunday we had many members and friends of the Wharton and Doyle families in attendance for the Baptism of Gareth and Anthea’s twins. Zoey Anthea Wharton and Charlie Alfie Wharton were baptised by the Rev Hutton in accordance with Matthew 28 v 19 and they were presented to the congregation by the Rev and Mrs Hutton. After the service everyone was invited for refreshments in the Warnock Hall.

We also had a great turnout of children on Easter Sunday and Sophie had organised boiled eggs for all the children to decorate and take home. The children also received a chocolate Easter Egg from the Sunday School. For us, as Christians, the custom of giving eggs at Easter celebrates new life. We remember that Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose again from the dead. We believe that, through His resurrection, Jesus defeated death and sin, and offers people the promise of eternal life if we follow His teachings. The first eggs given at Easter were birds’ eggs which were painted in bright colours to give them further meaning as a gift. We still paint eggs today but usually only chicken eggs. Christians believe that egg rolling represented the rolling of the stone from the tomb of Jesus. Egg rolling is very popular on Easter Monday in the UK. The decorated hard-boiled eggs are rolled down a hill with the winner being the person whose egg rolls the farthest, survives the most rolls, or rolls between two pegs.

We were saddened to learn of the double bereavement which has fallen upon the Rev Brian and Rev Lena Cockroft – Brian having lost his mother and Lena her sister. Through this report we convey the deepest sympathy of the congregation here in Newry.

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We welcomed to Newry the Rev Ian Gilpin, who conducted all three of Rev Hutton's services on Sunday 21st October, as the Rev Hutton was in Comber and Newtownards conducting Harvest Services there. The Rev Hutton returned to the pulpit on Sunday 28th October, and then went on to conduct the Harvest Service in Ravara.

On Thursday 1st November the Sunday School held a very successful Beetle Drive. Although the numbers were down on previous years, nevertheless over £100 was raised for Sunday School funds. During the supper break a cheque for £200 was handed over to Southern Area Hospice Services as part of the proceeds of a Sponsored Walk held in Gosford Forest Park on Saturday 23rd June. This was a tremendous effort considering the size of the Sunday School at present.

We celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Communion on Sunday 4th November. Mr Gordon Cunningham and Mr William Hanna assisted the Rev Hutton in the distribution of the elements.

There was the usual good attendance for the Remembrance Day Service, which was held on Sunday 11th November at 11:45 a.m. after the Community Service held at the War Memorial outside the Town Hall. The Rev Hutton led the congregational tribute and Mr Kenneth Wharton laid the wreath on the Second World War Memorial. Mr David Hanna played the lament on the pipes.

Monday 12th November saw the start of the Flower Arranging Classes leading up to Christmas. Whilst numbers attending the classes are down on previous years, these evenings provide a grand opportunity for ecumenical contact with other churches.

On Sunday 2nd December we commenced our preparations for Christmas, with the Sunday School children taking the leading role in the lighting of the Advent Candles. In the afternoon several members of the congregation travelled to Warrenpoint for the Candlelight Carol Service in the 300 year old church. After our final meeting of the Session and Committee for 2012, which was held on Wednesday 5th December, Mrs Doris Hutton entertained the members to supper in the Warnock Hall. As usual on Sunday 9th December, with the new Christmas tree and lights provided by the Ladies Guild, the children brought their gifts for the Salvation Army Appeal and placed these around the tree.

Our Carol Service was held on Sunday 23rd December, and the children of the Sunday School played a leading part in this service. They were supported by the Choir who sang "Hear the chimes as they ring" and "Unto God be the glory". At the close of the service, with the children singing "Jingle Bells", Santa Claus made his usual appearance with a gift for each child. On Christmas morning, although the attendance was less than last year, we had our usual short service of Readings and Carols. Mr Thomas Wylie and Mrs Daryl Hempkin, together with the Rev Hutton, read the traditional Christmas Readings.

The Sunday after Christmas is referred to as a "low Sunday" as the attendance usually drops after Christmas. The Rev Hutton's address was entitled "The Wonder Years" - those years between Jesus' birth and his visit to the temple. On Sunday 6th January, it being Epiphany and the first Sunday of the New Year, our service reflected on the importance of these two events. The Rev Hutton's address was entitled "The Star of Bethlehem", and was based on the visit of the Magi.

We would like to wish all our readers every blessing for 2013.

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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