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

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News - 2017

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


Our annual harvest thanksgiving services were held on Sunday, 24 September. The morning service was conducted by the Rev. N. Hutton and the evening service by the Rev. Dr J. Nelson. The church was beautifully decorated with flower, fruit and vegetables. The special music in the morning was by the organist Mrs Madge McNellis and in the evening by the choir, when the organist and choir were joined by the Hunter Moore Flute Band. Thanks to everyone who took part. Following the evening service, supper was served in the Warnock Hall. Many thanks to the ladies and members of the congregation for providing and serving the lovely food. We extend our thanks to the Rev. Dr Nelson for conducting our evening service.

We also wish to express our thanks to Mr Keith Parke and Mr Sam Agnew for conducting several church services over recent months.

The repairs to the church roof have been completed and once more our majestic building is looking very grand.

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During the service on Sunday, 23 July, the congregation had occasion to congratulate Mrs Agnes Wharton on her ninetieth birthday. Mrs Doris Hutton presented her with flowers and a gift from the Ladies’ Guild. Mrs Wharton is a member of our Warrenpoint church as well as Newry and, on the previous Sunday, the congregation of Warrenpoint wished her a happy birthday and gave her a beautiful cake. It was a special day for a much-loved lady.

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In Newry, the property committee has been busy preparing the contract for the second phase of work on repairs to the church roof. The congregation learned that the scaffolding would go up on 22 May and the work would last for twelve weeks.

We record with sadness the death of Mrs Gail Rose Hanna, who passed away on 2 May. Gail was a Sunday School teacher for many years and is truly missed by everyone. Her funeral service, which was one of the largest held in our church in recent years, was conducted by the Rev. Norman Hutton. Our sympathy goes to her husband Alex, her sons Alexander and Joseph, her daughter Megan and the entire family circle.

On 18 June, the Children’s Day service was conducted by the Sunday School, with lots of singing and Bible readings. There was a good attendance of parents, family and friends present for the occasion.

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JUNE 2017

Muriel Hanna (died 2 February 2017)

It is with profound sorrow that we record the passing on 2 February 2017 of our esteemed past Secretary and devoted member, Mrs Muriel Hanna.

Muriel was the dearly loved wife of the late Joseph Chambers Hanna, who was both a trustee and an elder of the congregation. They lived in the townland of Altnaveigh, Newry. Joseph died on 20 October 1998, and was deeply missed by Muriel and by her daughters Margaret Nesbitt (Ballymena) and Sandra Adair (Lisburn). After Joseph’s death, Muriel continued to reside at Altnaveigh until January 2003, when she elected to move home to Lisburn to be closer to her daughter Sandra, son-in-law Ivan and her grandchildren. The move away from her Altnaveigh home, where she had resided from the time of her marriage on 25 March 1959, was a massive wrench and she often reminisced about the many happy times spent there.

Whilst Muriel’s new home was always open for visits from her wider Newry family and from her many friends, and was, of course, an open house for her beloved grandchildren, she never forgot Newry Town/City and her First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing), Newry. Despite her new abode, Muriel was in her seat every Sunday without fail – travelling by car, train or bus to be in attendance irrespective of the weather. Muriel certainly went the last mile to support her beloved Church.

Muriel was a committed member of both the Newry church’s Ladies’ Guild and the Church Committee. In 2004 she was encouraged to take on the role of Honorary Secretary, the duties of which she carried out in an exemplary manner for some eleven years before illness forced her to relinquish that position. A constant ambassador for the congregation through a wide variety of activities, Muriel was a regular participant in and past President of Maytown WI. She was also a key member of the Altnaveigh Memorial Pipe Band Ladies’ Committee for close on sixty years, holding the position of President of the Band from 1999 until her untimely death. She was a Director of the Altnaveigh House Trust (2005) Limited, which enjoyed her fullest support, and she was involved in many Community Peace and Reconciliation initiatives across the Newry and Mourne Council area.

A vibrant, enthusiastic, wholly dependable lady, Muriel will be greatly missed by her many friends and relations – not least within the Newry Congregation which she served so very well. There was a full attendance for her funeral service which took place on Sunday, 5 February 2017 in her Newry Church. This was followed by internment in the family grave in Christ Church Cemetery, Bessbrook.

Muriel is survived by her daughters Margaret and Sandra, sons-in-law Michael and Ivan, and grandchildren David, Andrew, Hannah and Ryan. She is fondly remembered and sadly missed.

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APRIL 2017

On Saturday, 18 February two members of our congregation travelled to Dunmurry to attend the Ordination and Installation of Linda Ballard. Many good wishes to Linda for her future ministry.

It was with great sadness that the congregation learned of the death of Mrs Muriel Hanna on Thursday, 2 February. A Service of Thanksgiving for her life, which was conducted by the Rev. Norman Hutton, was held in our church on Sunday, 5 February. Our deepest sympathies go to her daughters Margaret and Sandra, and to the entire family circle. Muriel was a faithful and dedicated member of our church and held the position of Honorary Secretary for many years.

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MARCH 2017

Congratulations to our minister, the Rev. Norman Hutton, on his recent appointment as Moderator of the Antrim Presbytery.

The Property Committee have started discussions with the architects and surveyors on the plans for repairs to the church roof. This followed after it was announced that a grant from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund had been agreed. Many thanks to everyone on the committee for their tireless work, especially to David Hanna, Sam Berry and Gordon Cunningham.

In January a party of thirty Sunday School children and parents attended the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk in Newry Town Hall. Everyone, young and old, thoroughly enjoyed the outing. Many thanks to Mrs Daryl Hempkin who organised the event.

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On Sunday, 11 December members of the Sunday School brought gifts and laid them under the Christmas tree to be forwarded to the Salvation Army. On Sunday, 18 December at 10.30am the annual coffee morning was held and it raised a total of £132.00 to go towards funds for the Sunday School. This was followed by a carol service and a visit from Santa Claus. We record our gratitude to everyone who took part.

On a sadder note we had two deaths in the past few months of members of the congregation: Mr Winston Churchill Sterritt and Mr Henry (Harry) Berry. Mrs Ann Sterritt, wife of Mr Winston Sterritt, was a dedicated committee member, an Assistant Honorary Treasurer and Magazine Organiser for more than twenty years. Mr Harry Berry had been ill for some time and passed away in Southern Area Hospice, Newry. The Rev. Norman Hutton officiated at both funeral services.

Newry is very grateful to Mr Sam Agnew who over the past year has taken numerous services while our minister has been away; also thanks to Mr Keith Parke who helped out with our services on two occasions during the year. Thanks also to Dr Heather Walker who made a welcome return to conduct our Harvest evening Service.

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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