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

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News - 2016

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MARCH 2016

The final months of 2015 was a period of heightened activity in our church. Unfortunately during this period we lost three of our senior members (see obituaries below).

Miss Elizabeth Hanna died on 8 September in Ashgrove Care Home at the age of 84 years. Her funeral took place on Thursday, 10 September and, after a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance, she was laid to rest in the Presbyterian Cemetery on the Armagh Road.

The following Friday, 11 September the church was filled with guests for the wedding of Miss Laura Holmes and Mr Mark McCullough.

Work commenced during mid-September to repair the defective pointing and other faults which had occurred during the repairs carried out in 1999/2000. The church was surrounded by scaffolding when the harvest was celebrated. Our minister, the Rev. Hutton, conducted the morning service and the Rev. Rosalind Taggart conducted the evening service. The choir provided suitable harvest pieces for both services led by our organist, Mrs Madge McNellis. The children provided gifts of non-perishable food items for The Salvation Army.

Our minister, the Rev. Hutton, took ill at the start of October and the Rev. Charles McCurdy stood in for the Rev. Hutton at very short notice. We are extremely grateful to the Rev. McCurdy for coming to our aid at such short notice. The Rev. Hutton was able to return to duties for the following Sunday; he was on a pulpit exchange with the Rev. Dr John Nelson. It was a great pleasure to welcome the Clerk of the Presbytery of Antrim for the first time since our transfer to Antrim.

Mr Sam Agnew conducted our service on Sunday, 25 October whilst the Rev. and Mrs Hutton were on holiday.

On Sunday, 1 November 39 communicants came forward to the Lord’s Table for Communion.

Sunday, 8 November was a very wet morning and all those attending the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial were soaked to the skin. Some went home to change their wet clothes but others sat throughout our service in their wet clothes. The usual Act of Remembrance was conducted by the Rev. Hutton, with Mr Dessie Moorehead playing the Lament on the pipes and Mr Joe Berry laying the wreath on the Second World War Memorial.

Mrs Jean Crozier died on Saturday, 7 November and her funeral service on Tuesday, 10 November was conducted by the Rev. Hutton. Her cremation took place at Roselawn on Wednesday morning (see obituary below).

On Sunday, 22 November the baptism of Annie Kara Gordon, daughter of Anthony and Karen, was carried out by the Rev. Hutton at our morning service in the presence of many members of the Gordon and Hill families.

The usual Candlelight Carol Service in our Warrenpoint church took place on Sunday, 6 December and attracted many visitors from our Newry church; the offering raised £390 for the Southern Area Hospice Services.

Our charitable giving continued on the following Sunday when the children and adults left their presents under the Christmas tree for The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal.

Mrs Margaret Gracey, our oldest member, died on Saturday, 19 December in Ashgrove Care Home. After a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance, she was laid to rest in St Patrick’s Graveyard. Margaret was approaching her 101st birthday in January (see obituary below).

Before our Carol Service on Sunday, 20 December, the Sunday School held their usual Christmas Coffee Morning. This was extremely well attended by the congregation and raised £115 for the Sunday School funds.

The children of the Sunday School retold the story of the birth of Jesus through a play entitled The Star Who Couldn’t Twinkle, which included the singing of "Little donkey", "Away in a manger", a Christmas version of "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" and "Come and join the celebration". At the conclusion of the service Santa Claus arrived with a gift for all the children.

Our usual Christmas Service took place on Christmas Morning at the earlier time of 11am and Mr Tom Wylie and Mrs Daryl Hempkin read the usual readings together with the Rev. Hutton.

Our service on Sunday, 27 December looked both back over the year and forward to 2016.

The New Year gives us great hope for the future as we see the first stage of our repair scheme drawing to a conclusion, although other additional necessary work has pushed the timescale into 2016 and added to the projected costs. The New Year also sees a new magazine correspondent, whom we wish every blessing.

Elizabeth Hanna (17 January 1931 – 8 September 2015)

Elizabeth or Lizzie, as she was known amongst the family, was born on 7 January 1931 to her proud parents Joseph and Mary Hanna. She was the sixth child in a family of seven boys and three girls.

She left school in 1945 at the age of 14 and went to work with the Atkinson family here in Newry as a nanny.

In 1961 she left Newry to go to London to work for the Lucas family as their nanny. (Mr Jonathan Lucas flew over from London to pay a wonderful tribute to his former nanny.)

But Lizzie always said that when she retired she would return to Newry to spend quality time with her brothers and sisters.

I got to know Elizabeth when she came to our church about 15 years ago; by then she was living in Shandon Park. Elizabeth was a very quiet person and kept herself to herself, as we would say. She enjoyed her hobbies: reading books, doing jigsaws, watching tennis and following the fortunes of Manchester United.

She had great energy and she loved walking. When she was 75 she walked 15 miles along the towpath and was very cross with me because I wouldn’t let her compete the 20 miles from Portadown to Newry.

Sadly in recent years Elizabeth’s health started to deteriorate. However, she showed great strength and courage and continued on despite having major surgery. For the last two years she has been a resident in Ashgrove Care Home, where she died peacefully on Tuesday evening.

Jean Elizabeth Crozier (21 August 1931 – 7 November 2015)

Annie Elizabeth "Jean" Wilson was born on Friday, 21 August 1931 to Jim and Lily Wilson of Derryogue, Kilkeel. Her parents took over the bar in Water Street 74 years ago but unfortunately both died in their early 40s, leaving Jean and her brother Rea.

At this time Jean was married to Eddie Crozier and their first daughter Pauline was born just as she was taking over the running of the bar; they had two more daughters, Daphne and Sandra.

Jean was a very hard working woman and ran the bar while also raising her family, while Eddie drove for GW Holt, Newry. Eddie died in 1976 and, in total, Jean was the proprietor of the bar for 63 years.

Jean’s family was her life. She worked hard to always give her family a very good life; she was also a very Christian lady, kind and generous to all. Before carers, she was known to put at least three neighbours to bed at night and before "Meals on Wheels" was even invented, she would have hot meals delivered to lonely neighbours every day. Many others got financial help from her in times of trouble.

But her family was her pride and joy; she loved to see them all daily and when her three grandchildren - Jonathan, Gail and Nicola - were born she spoiled them like grannies do. In recent years her great-grandchildren – Olivia, Katie, Poppy, Mollie, Ryan and Ronan – also brought her deeper joy.

She was a truly remarkable woman – one of a generation who are sadly dying out – but she will be remembered by those she touched forever.

Margaret Jane Gracey (15 January 1915 – 19 December 2015)

Margaret was born on 15 January 1915 in the townland of Dysart. She was the third child born to James and Margaret O’Hara.

Margaret’s death on Saturday morning, 19 December, brought to an end this generation of the O’Hara family. She had been predeceased by her elder brothers, William and James, and her younger brother George.

She married George Gracey on 12 October 1938 in our Newry church. This was the family church to which she walked each Sunday from Dysart. Her husband George and herself were wonderful dancers and could have put on a display worthy of any Strictly Come Dancing programme. When I came to Newry in 1997, Margaret had taken up residence in McManus Court – along with her friends Mrs Florence Holmes and Mrs Isobel Wylie. Many a wonderful evening was spent in conversation with these ladies, talking about the "old times".

Sadly Margaret developed Alzheimer’s and had to move into Ashgrove Care Home for safety reasons. There she resided for the last eleven years. Doris and I were delighted to share Margaret’s 100th birthday party with her family in Ashgrove Care Home on 15 January 2015.

We all have our particular memories of our dear friend Margaret Gracey, but the family members’ memories are the most precious of all.

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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