THE PARISH CHURCH CHOIR
Since the Church was established in Ireland music has always played an important part in the worship and Magheralin Parish has remained loyal to this tradition.
In the old Church, it seems that the choir was seated in the gallery. However, upon the rebuilding of the church and with the addition of a chancel, provision was made for choir stalls. Originally, there were four oak pews and at a later date, with the increase of numbers, two more were obviously taken from the body of the church, as these are pine. At the same time the old in-adequate harmonium was replaced by a fine two-manual organ, built by Forster and Andrews of Hull. From these stalls the choir has led the worship Sunday by Sunday for the past one hundred years until the present day.
One of the highlights of the choir's history is, of course, its robing in 1968 under the directorship of Mr. T. Morwood (organist and choirmaster). This added great dignity and uniformity to the choir and was appreciated by the congregation of the parish. As part of the centenary celebrations the choir will re-robe in September, 1991. It is interesting to note that the choir is totally self-supporting and the money for new robes has been raised by the members through various fund-raising events such as coffee parties, dinners and concerts.
The choir, as well as raising money for their own funds, has supported many charities and missionaries over the years, giving away substantial donations to these organisations.
Fellowship in the choir plays an important role amongst its members and this is greatly increased when they travel to other churches to help lead the praise there. Two very enjoyable weekends were spent in Crinken Parish in 1982 and 1983 when a former Curate, the Rev. Kenneth Clarke was Rector there. They have also helped in harvest services in various parishes, such as Knocknamuckley in 1988, Rosslea in 1989 and Markethill and Mullabrack in 1990. The choir always enjoy these outings and the fun and fellowship is evident amongst all the members.
Other memorable events must surely include the three broadcasts with Radio Ulster. In 1990 we were also privileged to have the opportunity to broad-cast our morning service on R.T.E. Reunions in 1984 and 1991 were memorable occasions too. Former members were able to renew friendships and reminisce about the past.
Our hope and prayer is that the choir will continue to flourish over the next century and be privileged to sing God's praises in the Parish Church of Magheralin.
Magheralin Parish Choir.
Choir Committee — Chairperson: Betty Mulligan; Secretary: Gillian Napier; Mistress of the Robes: Beth Hall; John Roberts, Joe MacArthur, George Dennison, Ruth Hutchinson, Diane Preston.
DollingstownChurch Choir around 1952.
Back row, left to right: Unknown, Bob Clarke, Jimmy Taylor, Rev. Douglas; second row: Jim Turkington, Eddie Hall, Charlie Bateman, Tom Morwood, Jervis McCormick, Joe Seawright; third row, left to right: Kay McCorry, Joy Dowie, Hilda McCorry, Netta Martin, Noreen Boyce, Maggie Dobson; fourth row, left to right: Marjorie McConville, Mrs. Creswell, Jenny McClelland, Hielot Dowie, Francis Turkington; fifth row, left to right: Thelma Dennison, Eileen Nicholson, Elizabeth McCorry, Betty Corken, Eva Haire, Mavis Malone.
"Reflections" is the name adopted by our young people's choir which `grew' out of the Focus Youth Fellowship group. With growing requests to participate in services, both in our own Church and in neighbouring Parishes, the choir was formed in 1983. After requesting suggestions from the Parishioners regarding a suitable name for the choir, "Reflections" was chosen, as it seemed to sum up their aims, to `reflect' Christ in their singing and to honour Him, sharing His word in song.
At present there are around twenty people in the choir. They sing a fairly varied range of Gospel music including some of the traditional songs as well as the more modern. Throughout the winter months they have always quite a number of bookings. The choir has visited each of the six counties of Northern Ireland to sing, as well as CountyMonaghan. For a number of years the pianist was Mrs. Heather Clarke, who served faithfully in this way and was a great asset to the choir. More recently Mr. Carl McCambley has taken on the role. Without the pianists over the years it would have been impossible to maintain the work of the choir, conducted by Mrs. Gillian Napier.
Although one of the youngest organisations in the Parish, we trust that "Reflections" will continue in this service in the years ahead and that they will go on experiencing the rich blessings of God.
THE MOTHERS' UNION
The Mothers' Union was founded in the parish on September 10th, 1965, by Mrs. Jessie Synnott, the then Rector's wife, and on Ascension Day, 27th May, the following year, fifty-four members were enrolled into the organisation. Since then the branch has gone from strength to strength and today boasts a membership of over sixty women, five of whom have been actively involved since it first began.
Last year we celebrated our 25th anniversary on Sunday, 27th May, and at a reception afterwards, the five foundation members were honoured in a tangible way for their faithful and loyal service.
Over the years the Mothers' Union has supported and raised money for many notable missionary societies and charitable organisations. In 1980 over £1,000 was handed over to the Craigavon Cardiac Unit, and the Multiple
Sclerosis Society benefited the following year with a similar amount. On a later date, money was raised and sent to our adopted missionaries, Gordon and Beryl Whitehead, who were working in South America at that time. It is worthy of note that the then organist, Errol McNally, delivered the cheque in person to the Whiteheads while on business in the country.
Other highlights of the Mothers' Union work are also worthy of mention. Two Flower Festivals were held in the ParishChurch under the auspices of the branch. The first was entitled `Jesus, Saviour and Lord', the second was 'Women of the Bible', attracting thousands of visitors from all over the Province. As a result the church coffers were enlarged by almost £10,000. At the time of writing, a third Festival of Flowers is being organised as part of the Centenary Celebrations under the appropriate title 'The Everlasting Gospel'.
Each year members look forward to the diocesan festival service held in the Cathedral Church of Christ the Redeemer, Dromore, where with many others, they proudly carry their own banner which was dedicated on the 12th January, 1970, by Bishop George Quin.
The branch meets on the first Tuesday night of each month from September to May and provides a very wide programme to cover both the spiritual and social aspects of life. This programme always endeavours to fulfil the five objects for which the Mothers' Union stands:
I. To uphold Christ's teaching on the nature of marriage.
2. To encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the church.
3. To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer. worship and service.
4. To promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children.
5. To help those whose family has met with adversity.
Our prayer is that the next generation will tenaciously uphold these principles and that the Mothers' Union will contnue to flourish actively in the Parish.
Mothers Union 25th anniversary service (May 1990). Left to right, back row: (five foundation members): Mrs. MacArthur, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Banks, Mrs. Mulligan, Mrs. Waddell; front row: Canon P. J. Synnott, Mrs. Synnott, Mrs. Leckey (Diocesan President), Mrs. Hutchinson, Canon R. L. Hutchinson.
Throughout the history of Magheralin Parish Church, the Christian education of the children and young people has been a major priority. The aims of the Sunday School have always been to work towards the increase of Christ's Kingdom amongst boys and girls, and to teach the youth of the Parish that they indeed grow in 'the fear and nurture of the Lord'.
During the incumbency of Dean Clarendon the number of children in the Sunday School seems to have peaked, obviously helped by the fact that there were so many `large' families during those years. Sunday School trips were also well attended and were generally celebrated with sports days and picnic teas held in the fields of local farmers.
Nowadays there are around 100 children who attend the Sunday Schools in the three centres, including Dollingstown, Lisnasure and Magheralin.
Over the years there has been a number of Sunday School superintendents in Magheralin, but by far the longest serving of these was Mr. Edward Hall, who was connected with the work for some forty years. Eddie was held in great esteem and affection by children and teachers alike, and when he retired from the Sunday School in 1980 he and his wife were presented with a beautiful Bible and nest of tables as a token of appreciation for his years of service. Mr. Hall was succeeded by Miss Elizabeth Beattie, who was superintendent for a number of years and continued to maintain the high standards as set by her predecessor. The present superintendent in Magheralin is Mrs. Gillian Napier who accepted this position in 1983. The role is fulfilled by Mr. Gordon Porter in Dollingstown and Mrs. Annette Lyttle in Lisnasure.
Today's Sunday School is very different in appearance from that of one hundred years ago, and may well be a lot less formal in approaches to teaching. Nevertheless, our purpose remains unchanged and we still endeavour to teach the Scriptures and lead young people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. The activities of the Sunday School are very varied including singing, both hymns and choruses; quizzes; competitions; stories; filmstrips; and drama. The children enthusiastically participate in them all, as we seek to use every means suitable to communicate the gospel message. The children are not only faithful in their attendance week by week but also in their giving to Christian work. For the past number of years the Sunday School has supported a little boy by the name of Pak Hee Sung who lives in Korea. Hee Sung has no father and his mother abandoned him, but with our help he is being educated at Bethany Children's Home.
Thirteen pounds per month provides him with his food and lodgings, clothes and education. The children look forward to receiving letters from Hee Sung and to writing to him from time to time. Mrs. Mildred Dawson has faithfully encouraged them in this endeavour, and keeps up regular communication with Hee Sung, and of course the Sunday School pray for him week by week. Over the years the children have also supported many other worthy causes including The Lord's Day Observance Society, Craigavon Children's Ward Association, Bibles for Romania, along with the Ugandan Appeal and our own Centenary Fund and many others.
All in all, our Sunday Schools are very happy places to be in and the children so enjoy attending week by week. Our special children's days and family services provide an opportunity for them to participate in the worship and life of the church and the children love taking part.
As we look to the future our purpose is still clear and unchanged. In a world where children can so easily be led into the wrong way, we continue to strive to bring boys and girls into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to help them grow strong in the faith, upholding Christian beliefs, ethics and morals. We praise God for the work of the Sunday School over the last 100 years and trust Him for continued grace and blessing for the future.
"To God be the glory, Great things He hath done".
Sunday School teachers. Back row: Mr. R. Irwin, Mr. G. Porter, Mr. Paul Nicholson; front row: Mrs. A. Irwin, Miss Heather Hutchinson, Mrs. Gillian Napier, Miss Elizabeth Calvert, Mrs. Eveline Cousins, Mrs. Mildred Dawson, Miss Dawn Carey.
MAGHERALIN SUNDAY SCHOOL — Superintendent: Mrs. G. Napier. Teachers: Mrs. M. Dawson, Mrs. M. Hutchinson, Mrs. R. Lyttle, Miss D. Carey, Miss L. Allen, Miss L. Topping, Miss A. Dawson, Miss E. Calvert, Miss H. Hutchinson, Mr. P. Nicholson.
DOLLINGSTOWN SUNDAY SCHOOL — Teachers: Mr. G. Porter, Mr. R. Irwin, Mrs. A. Irwin.
LISNASURE SUNDAY SCHOOL — Teachers: Mrs. A. Lyttle and Mrs. E. Cousins.
PRAYERS FROM THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
Thank you for another lovely day and for health to enjoy it. Bless our parents and other members of our family.
Comfort boys and girls who have no one to love them. Bless those who are sick and help them to get better again.
Kelly Woods - Age 5 Years
Thank you for the birds. Thank you for our houses. Thank you for our garden. Thank you God.
Anna Parkinson - Age 6 Years
Thank you God for the birds and the trees.
Thank you for the cars in the town.
Amen. Robert Maxwell - Age 7 Years
Thank you God for our world.
For food and fruit and flowers.
For schools and Sunday School.
For parents, grandparents and families.
Thank you God for everything.
Amen. John Maxwell - Age 7 Years
Thank you for our homes and our families and friends. Help us to love you the way that you love us.
Sarah Cousins - Age 7 Years
Help my Granny to stay warm and healthy in the winter time. Amen. Kathy Gardiner - Age 7 Years
We know that we do wrong sometimes.
We have sinned and you are not pleased with us. Help us to be sorry and to do better and live for you.
In Jesus name Amen. Matthew Irvine - Age 7 Years
Thank you for our lives and for animals and creatures. Please show us how to look after our earth and teach people how to live together and stop fighting.
Amen. Michelle Vann - Age 7'/2 Years
Thank you for another day.
Thank you for my mummy and daddy and brother and sister. Thank you for my granny and granda, my aunties and uncles and cousins.
Help us to love and care for our families and help us always to be kind to others.
Amen. Caroline Verner - Age 7½ Years
Thank you for nature and our homes and food. Thank you for our lives.
Amen. Adam Parkinson - Age 8 Years
Father in Heaven,
Help protect the people in Kuwait and help all the airmen, soldiers and sailors who are fighting to free their country.
Please help all the birds who have been affected by the oil slick. We pray that this war will soon be over.
Amen. Victoria Dawson - Age 8 Years
We pray about the war in the Middle East.
Please stop the war and keep the wildlife from being destroyed. Amen. Gary Patterson - Age 9 Years
We pray for our world.
For the situation in the Middle East.
For the starving people of Ethiopia.
For the orphans in Romania.
Thank you for our food and water,
For our schools and education.
Amen. Kerry Smith - Age 12 Years
We thank you for the church in Magheralin.
We pray that in the next 100 years, our church and all of the organisations will still be here if you have not already returned. We pray for our Sunday School, Youth Club, Girls Friendly Society and Good News Club. We pray that they will continue for children of future generations.
In Jesus name.Amen. Diane Gardiner - Age 12 Years
Thank you for our Sunday School here in Magheralin.
Bless all the teachers who teach us each week about you and your love for us.
Thank you for our beautiful church.
Bless all the workers who are getting the church ready for the Centenary celebrations.
All this we ask in your name.
Amen. Gemma Spence - Age 10 Years
THE BOYS' BRIGADE
First Magheralin Company of the Boys' Brigade was founded on 23 November, 1945, with a membership of 27 officers and boys. It was the `brain child' of the Rev. George Quin, who was Rector of the Parish at that time.
In the early days of the Company, there was no ready made Captain and this task was undertaken by the Rector. With numbers increasing steadily, Mr. George Nicholson offered to take on the Captaincy and his appointment was welcomed by the Rector and Select Vestry.
The next captain was Mr. Bertie Sherwood, who had previous BB experience. During his time as Captain, the Company purchased a hall at the back of Flinty Row. This hall had previously been owned by the Methodist Church.
Following the resignation of Mr. Sherwood, Mr. Tommy Dobson who had served in lst Waringstown Company, was appointed Captain. When Mr. Dobson became a full time Christian worker in England, the Rev. Alex Douglas stepped in to fill the breach for one year.
At that time a young school teacher, who had passed through the ranks of 3rd Lurgan Company, was invited to take over as Captain. The challenge was accepted by Wesley Ferris (now Dr. Wesley Ferris, President of Lurgan and District Battalion). Magheralin then became one of the biggest and best companies in the area. At one time, there were over 100 officers and boys in the Company and many of these travelled long distances on their bicycles to attend the weekly parade and Sunday afternoon Bible Class in church.
In order to carry out the comprehensive programme of training effectively, the company's hall was completely renovated and refurbished for Drill. Physical Training and Badge Classes. Blackboards were fixed to the walls for instructional purposes and many officers from other areas "looked in" from time to time to see the Company at work.
When the Rev. A. Douglas became President of the Company in 1955. he appointed four Vice-Presidents who gave sterling service to the Company in this capacity. They were Mr. Harry Cathcart, Mr James Ferris (the Captain's father) Mr Bob Gawley and Mr Dynes Uprichard.
As the Company progressed, Teams and Squads were entered in many of the BB Competitions with outstanding success. Having won the Physical' Training Shield on numerous occasions, it came as no surprise when the Company was invited to give displays of Danish Gymnastics and Tableau in Glasgow, Dublin, and Dunlaoghaire.
Captain Ferris eventually decided to stand down when he was appointed District BB Secretary. At this time he was also undertaking further studies. He was succeeded by Mr. Ivan Marshall who had served as a Lieutenant in the Company.
During Captain Ferris' time in Magheralin, the Company gained two notable `Firsts.' Sergeant David Mack became the first member of the Company to win the coveted King's Badge and Jim Mulligan became the first boy to pass through the rank from Private to Lieutenant. At the same time, the up and coming young Tom Mathers was being groomed for officership in the Company.
When Mr. Marshall relinquished his position as Captain, he was succeeded by Mr. Don Napier, who was followed by Mr. George Spence. Following Mr. Spence's transfer to another part of Northern Ireland, Mr. Tom Mathers took over as Captain. Tom had been well groomed for the onerous task that was his. During his time in the ranks, he was the recipient of many awards and his service as Officer-in-Charge of the Junior Section proved invaluable During his time as Captain, Mr. Mathers gave unstintingly of his time and energy and in 1984, his commitment was rewarded when 1st Magheralin won the Centenary Cup, a feat which they repeated in 1986.
Tom's untimely death in 1990 was a great blow not only to 1st Magheralin Company but also to the Battalion in which he served as Treasurer and Activities Officer.
Although the Company has been out of existence for two years, there are plans to reform it in the Autumn of 1991.
Dr. Wesley Ferris, President of Lurgan & District Battalion, presents the Centenary
Cup to Captain Tom Mathers at a Victorian Evening in the Parochial Hall. Included
are — Lt. Malcolm Beattie (1st Magheralin), Capt Wm. Carson (2nd Lurgan) and Capt.
John Cromie (1st Aghalee).
GIRLS' FRIENDLY SOCIETY
The Girls' Friendly society, which dates back to the turn of the century, was revived by Mrs. Synnott and her leaders Mrs E. Simpson and Mrs. E. Harrison. Before this time GFS had been based in Dollingstown, where it was started in the late 1950s by Mrs. Thick.
The purpose of the Society is based on Christian prayer and service, namely: "To unite for the glory of God in one fellowship of prayer and service, girls and women throughout the world, to promote friendship, and to uphold purity in thought word and deed."
With these in mind GFS blossomed in the Parish and membership peaked in the late 1960s when more than sixty girls attended, meeting on Tuesday afternoons. Various activities carried on in GFS include Bible Study, Art and Design, Handicraft and Needlework and of course Physical training, Dance and Keep-fit. The society caters for all ages.
Mrs. Synnott continued to be leader in charge until 1974 when Mrs. Emsie Simpson took over this position and continued the good work.
Over the years Magheralin Girls' Friendly Society has been honoured on a number of occasions, not least by the fact that they have won the Diocesan Shield twice, and have shown particular prowess in Bible study and Handicraft competitions.
Judith Burns, Joy Irvine, Nicola Sloan and Nicola Dawson brought honour to Magheralin G. F. S. when they won cups for Diocesan Bible Study in 1991.
As well as this in 1957 the Junior Delegate to the World Council was a Magheralin girl, Mrs Lorna Gardiner (nee Beattie), chosen from the many applicants from all over Ireland, to carry out this responsible position in representing our Society at World Council level. A further honour was bestowed on Magheralin GFS in 1987 when one of our leaders, Mrs Gillian Napier, became president of the Diocese of Connor, Down and Dromore, a position which she held for three years.
At the dawn of Centenary year Mrs. Simpson was succeeded by Mrs. Evelyn Cousins, under whose guidance the Society has continued to flourish and grow. The girls and leaders are faithful in their attendance and commitment to GFS and support many worthy causes both within the Parish and in other parts of the world, including the GFS Missionaries and World Project relief work. In so doing we seek to fulfil our motto, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ" Galations: 6 v 2.
Leader in charge — Mrs. E. Cousins.
Leaders — Mrs. V. Bell, Miss L. Flannaghan, Miss. E. Freeburn, Miss. D. Carey.
Participating in a Bible Study class at G.F.S. is: Sharon Burns, Joy
Irvine, Nicola Dawson, Judith Burns, Nicola Sloan, Jemma Dawson, Laura
GOOD NEWS CLUB
Magheralin Good News Club was formed in 1989 by the Rev. David McClay who was then curate of the Parish. A summer outreach by the Holiday Bible Club revealed a lively interest among boys and girls in our district and it was decided, therefore, to continue with similar meetings during the winter months.
Good News Clubs are one of Child Evangelism Fellowship ministries whose purpose is to evangelise boys and girls through the teaching of God's Word. The club liaises very closely with C.E.F. throughout the year and C.E.F. Press provides a comprehensive range of literature which structures the basic teaching programme.
The Good News Club presently meets each Thursday evening from 6.45 p.m. — 7.45 p.m. when numbers attending average around thirty-five. The format consists of chorus singing, prayertime, mission thoughts, memory verse, Bible lesson, Bible quiz and close.
A special emphasis is put on the importance of mission, and as such, members are encouraged to contribute to the support of the adopted missionary families.
Current leaders in Magheralin Good News Club are: Billy McCreanor (leader-in-charge and treasurer), Barbara Irvine (secretary), Elizabeth Gar-diner, Wilma Megarrell, Joanne Megarrell, Ruth Porter, Nicola Wickie, Kathleen Taylor, Kathleen Mills, Stephen Roberts, David Corkin.
Members of the Good News Club participating in a Bible Quiz. Mrs. Barbara
Irvine (club secretary) is pictured here, teaching the group.
ENDEAVOUR — YOUTH GROUP
Rev. Kenneth Clarke was ordained Curate to this Parish in 1972. Soon after his appointment, he became aware of the need for a Christian Youth Group. Under his direction, the Focus Youth Fellowship was formed in autumn 1972. Initially, the Group met on Sunday evenings after church. However, in 1973 it was felt that the club nights should be extended to Friday and Saturday evenings so as to offer provision for recreational pursuits.
In 1975, when Rev. Clarke was appointed to the curacy of Dundonald, Mr. Jim Simpson became leader of Focus. He served in this capacity until 1988. A year later, he was presented with the Mayor's Award for outstanding service to the community, in recognition of his work in Focus.
It was in the mid 1980's that Focus Youth Fellowship underwent radical changes. Many of the original members had grown into young adults and felt it was time to create a new image to facilitate the needs of the older group. Under the guidance of Canon R.L.Hutchinson, leaders Messrs Gordon Porter, David Napier and Mrs. Gillian Napier, along with a committee of interested young people formed a new organisation known as `Cornerstone.' As the name suggests, its aim was to build up the youth of the Parish in the faith of Christ who is the chief `Cornerstone.' Over the following year, Cornerstone flourished. It offered a varied and interesting programme of speakers, Bible studies, Missionary evenings, drama nights etc.
Mr. Jim Simpson (second from left) receives the Mayor 's award for outstan‑
ding service to the community from Alderman Samuel Gardiner. Also in‑
cluded are: Mr. Chris Stevenson (present leader of Endeavour), Mrs. Emsie
Simpson and Rev. D. McClay (former curate).
Cornerstone was also deepy committed to outreach and helped in the organisation and hosting of coffee bar missions. The arrival of the new curate, the Rev. David McClay and his wife Irene, gave further support and inspiration for the work of `Cornerstone.'
In 1989, further changes took place in the structure of the Youth Club. It was felt at this time that there was a great need for the youth work in the parish to be further built up. Cornerstone ceased at this time and many of its members threw their weight behind `Endeavour', a new Youth Club designed to provide recreation and spiritual teaching. Endeavour has accomplished much in both of these aspects, being a venue where young people can meet together for recreation and fun, but at the same time, are brought to hear the challenge of the Gospel message.
Although the passage of time has meant many changes for the Youth Organisations of the Parish, the work still continues to train our young people in the ways of Christ.
Present leaders of Endeavour are: Chris Stevenson, Peter Parkinson, Linda Dawson, Colin King, Roberta Lyttle, Diane Preston and Alwyn Adams.
BIBLE STUDY, FELLOWSHIP AND PRAYER GROUP
There is always a danger of having too many meetings in the week, and expecting the same people to be present at them all. Such was the case with our Bible Study, Fellowship & Prayer Groups. At one stage we had a Bible Study group both in Lisnasure and Magheralin on a Tuesday night and a Fellowship & Prayer Group on a Wednesday night. Then Thursday night was choir practice, Good News also on Thursday, Badminton and Vestry on Friday. It was found that some folk were out of their homes practically every night in the week. There were also two interdenominational prayer meetings on Monday and Friday nights. Needless to say, there were divided loyalties and much frustration not to mention neglect of one's family. So changes had to be made. Now we combine our Bible Study and Prayer Group on a Wednesday night, alternating between Magheralin and Dollingstown each season, and it works well.
In our Bible Study we have at times gone carefully through complete Books of the Bible, at other times we have dealt very thoroughly with a particular Biblical character such as Abraham, Joseph or Elijah, and at other times a series of studies such as Women of the Bible, Husbands and Wives, the Miracles and the Ten Commandments. Members are encouraged to do some private study and to share their findings with the rest of the group. We have been amazed at times at how far they have researched their subject. At Prayer Time quite often we break up into small groups to pray for one another, for the sick, for missionary work, for the parish in general and all its workings. This we feel, is the core of spiritual life in any parish, none more so than our own. A rector is only as strong and fruitful as his praying partners. We must never neglect to "hold up the hands of our leaders as they go into battle."
Bible Study, Prayer and Fellowship are vital for the growth in the lives of young converts. Neglect of this only leads to stunted growth and barrenness.
Numbers attending vary from season to season, our best being in the autumn and early winter, whereas when the `light nights' come so many people get caught up on their farms, in their gardens, or with their recreational activities. Nevertheless, we should not neglect the place of prayer for one hour each week. As we enter a new century in the life of our Church let's make prayer our first priority.
The Bible Study, Fellowship and Prayer Group
Dollingstown Bible Class — farewell presentation to Rev. Leslie Justin, circa 1957.
Back row: Mr. S. Hand, Mrs. E. Dowie, Miss E. Wells, Mrs. M. Hand, Mrs. M. Percy, Mrs. S. Wells, Mrs. Waddell; front row: Miss M. McKinstry, Rev. Justin, Mrs. R. Wickie, Mrs. C. Hamilton, Mr. H. Dowie.
LISNASURE PRAYER UNION
Some 61 years ago, during 1930, a Prayer Union was formed in Drumnaferry Orange Hall. Here a faithful group met weekly, united in prayer. During the war years, restrictions enforced during the `Black Out' meant that many organisations were cancelled. Lisnasure Prayer Group ceased to meet during these years. After a successful mission in the early 1950s, the group was reformed. With the erection of Lisnasure Hall, during the incumbency of Rev. George Quin, it was decided to hold the meeting here - Drumnaferry, at that time proving unsuitable because of inadequate heating and lighting.
Since this date, the meeting has gone on from strength to strength. Most Prayer Unions are made up of members from different denominations, including: Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal. Lisnasure is no exception, and a faithful band of Christians from all denominations are united in prayer each Monday evening.
Sadly, the last founding member of the Prayer Union passed away earlier this year. Mrs Annie Lyttle, was a devout Christian lady who knew and loved the Lord. As a very young girl, she committed her life to the Lord and served Him faithfully throughout her years. At 87, Mrs Lyttle was an inspiration to all who knew her. She was a faithful witness for the Lord and a tremendous encouragement to everyone.
The Prayer Union meets every Monday in Lisnasure Hall at 8.00 p.m. The time of prayer is essential for spiritual growth and has encouraged many in their Christian life. Bill Lyttle is the present Prayer Union Representative.
The hymn writer, James Wallace recognised "There's a power which man can wield when mortal aid is vain."
He clearly asserts: "That power is prayer, which soars on high, Through Jesus, to the throne, And moves the hand which moves the world To bring salvation down."
MAGHERALIN MEN'S SOCIETY
In the 1940's, during the incumbency of the late Bishop Quin, a Men's Club flourished in the Parish. Weekly meetings were held in the garage of the schoolmaster's house, which has recently been demolished to make way for retirement bungalows. Men like Billy Banks and Bob Clarke were then prominent in the society and formed part of a very good table tennis team. This Club has been defunct for many years now. Around the same time a Men's Society existed in Lisnasure Hall. Bishop Quin took a very keen interest in both of these societies.
In the 1960's a Men's Fellowship was formed as part of the Steward-ship Campaign organised by the Rev. Alex Douglas. This too faded away after a few years although it has been carried on as a Bible and Prayer Fellowship Group.
In 1990, the present society was formed - the brain child of Peter Parkin-son who, as the first Honorary Secretary, was instrumental in arranging a varied and interesting programme for the year ending May 1991.
The emphasis on the title Men's Society as opposed to Men's Club or Men's Fellowship might well be considered semantic - but the difference is important. Unlike other church Men's Societies, it is not about singing choruses, Bible reading or religious talks. Instead, the primary aim is to foster friend-ship and camaraderie between all generations.
The Men's Society is open to all men over the age of eighteen. The Society meets on the third Tuesday of the month from September - May. The first part of the evening is devoted to games which include dominoes, darts, draughts, chess, table tennis and pool. There is a short break for tea and biscuits before the second part of the evening which is generally devoted to talks and discussions on contemporary affairs and other issues of interest today. Often, a guest speaker or expert in a particular field will address the society.
The present committee is:- President — Rev. Canon R.L. Hutchinson, Chairman — Mr. Joe McArthur, Secretary — Mr. Peter Parkinson, Treasurer — Mr. Colin King. Membership Fee — £3 per annum.
PARISH TAPE MINISTRY
The Parish Tape Ministry commenced in 1982. It was the `brain child' of Mr. Isaac Banks who identified the need for such a service when he visited Parishioners who were unable to attend church because of old age or sickness. This was an innovation which allowed `the church' to come into the homes of those who were unable to attend the Sunday services. Through the tape ministry, many have been able to share in the joy and fellowship of the church at worship. For others, the weekly tapes have meant an end to loneliness and the feeling of isolation.
Initially, the equipment used to tape the services was extremely basic. This consisted of an ordinary double-deck radio cassette wired into the church microphones. Duplicating the tapes was a long and arduous task which took days to complete. In 1985, due to the generosity of a parishioner, the equipment was greatly updated with new recording deck, amplification system and duplicating machine. In 1987, further technology was introduced and through a bequest, a camera and monitor were added to the taping equipment.
Today, the Parish tapes are circulated to all parts of the world. They have been sent to America, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong. At present, approximately 50 elderly Parishioners receive tapes each week. Many more are sent to the numerous residential homes in the area. The tape ministry has been a great source of blessing and many continue to benefit through this facility.
THE PARISH MAGAZINE
The first number of the Lurgan Parochial Magazine was produced in July, 1880.
`The biblical expositions which will be given from time to time will come from the pens of men sound in faith, apt to teach; and their object will be, not to promote controversy, but to advance the cause of true religion.'
`A good deal of space will be devoted each month to the church news of Lurgan and adjoining parishes.'
There is no record of when the Parish of Magheralin first produced its own Magazine, but certainly in the time of the Rev. George Quin (early 1940's) a small professionally printed magazine was being produced. This continued to be produced during the time of the Rev. A.J. Douglas. There was a magazine list and a small charge was levied. In November 1952, the Vestry decided that a sum of 3d. (1 p) should be charged on each magazine.
In the middle of the 1960's printing was becoming too expensive and the magazine was then produced on the Gestetner Duplicating machine. For some time it was produced in the office of the Bovril Creamery.
At this time it was decided that the magazine would be issued free of charge to every family in the parish, the object being to reach out to every home with a message from the Rector as well as to give news of future events and parish organisations.
At one stage production costs were off-set by revenue from advertising by local businesses. This practice was initiated by Mr. George Dennison, Lurgan chemist, and carried on by Mr. Willie Allen. Eventually, this was dis-continued.
In the time of the present Rector, Canon R. L. Hutchinson, the parish invested in some very sophisticated copying equipment which produces a good quality monthly magazine. Over the years a changing band of loyal distributors has delivered the magazine every month throughout the length and breadth of the parish. In 1991 they are called Parish Visitors and as well as delivering the magazine, they act as a link between the people and the Rector.
THE INDOOR BOWLING CLUB
The Magheralin Bowling Club was the brain child of the Rev. Tom McAuley who, when he was Curate in the parish, started the Club off at 8.00 p.m. on Monday, 2nd December, 1963, in the `Old School.'
A committee was formed in January 1964 as follows:- Club Captain:
Mr. Charles Nicholson, Joint Secretaries: Mr. Joe Bell and Mr. Joe MacArthur.
Men's Committee:- Messrs S. Mulligan, C. McGlung, B. Dalzell, R.Clark , G. Dalziel, J. Mullan, G. Gracey. Women's Committee:- Mrs. Mulligan (Treasurer), Mrs. F. Allen, Mrs. Spence, Mrs. Irwin, Mrs. J. MacArthur, Miss. J. Rush. The annual fee was fixed at one pound per person. In the first month of bowling in friendly matches the Club beat Waringstown and St. John's, Lurgan.
The Club had its first Annual General meeting on the 21st May, 1964, when the Club Rules were formulated and adopted and it was decided that the season would be from the 1st October until 30th April. The annual subscription was set at 30/.
The following were duly elected:- President: Rev. P. J. Synnott,
Captain: Mr. C. Nicholson, Vice-Captain: Mr. J. Mullin, Secretary: Mr. J. W.O. MacArthur. Treasurer: Mr. J. Bell.
Committee Members — Mr. S. Mulligan, Mr. G. Gracey, Mr. B. Dalzell, Mrs. F. Allen, Miss. E. Spence, Mrs. A. Mulligan (i/c Catering).
Hon. Auditors — Mr. R. Malcolmson and Mr. R. Thompson.
The Club was indebted to the Christian Fellowship Group for providing the mats and to the Lurgan Park authorities for lending a set of bowls. In the Club Championships Mrs. A. Mulligan was the ladies' champion and Mr. D. Swanson the men's champion. The runners-up were Mrs. Lila MacArthur and Mr. R. Clarke. In the Old School conditions were a little cramped and although they enjoyed much fun and good fellowship they were glad to eventually move into the beautiful and spacious new Parish Hall.
As the Club went from strength to strength it was decided to organize an Open Pairs Tournament which would attract bowlers from other clubs around the Province. The local creamery, Ambrosia Ltd., presented two handsome cups as perpetual trophies for this competition. They were presented to the then President of the Club, the Rev. P. J. Synnott, by Mr. R. S. McVeigh, manager of Ambrosia Ltd.
The game of Indoor Bowls spread rapidly through the Protestant Churches of the Province and the games played with neighbouring clubs were on a `friendly' basis. Up to sixty members of a club would visit another club for a match and the inevitable `Ulster' supper.
Eventually the game spread across the divide and clubs were organised by many from the Roman Catholic population. It would appear that the game of indoor bowls has had an influence in drawing communities closer together.
Soon the game became more competitive and many open tournaments were organised by clubs throughout Northern Ireland. This competition was not sufficient for some and a League was formed in the Armagh Zone in which teams of 16 players from interested clubs competed. This innovation caused division within clubs and the friendly matches are not now as popular. With league teams restricted to 16 players this may have caused a decline in membership of clubs. Time will tell.
In 1988 our neighbours in St. Patrick's Church started a Bowling Club and our own club was asked to give advice and assistance. A feeling of fellowship has grown between the two clubs and this resulted eventually in a joint venture, a 24-hour Marathon to raise £2,700 for the `Children in Need' Appeal in conjunction with the N.I. BBC.
A number of Club competitions have begun over the years and cups and trophies have been presented by members and other well wishers, some as memorials. In 1990 the following trophies were played for:- The MacArthur Cups (Rinks), The Synnott Cup, The Malcolmson Cup, The Jubilee Cup, The Billy Johnston Trophy, The Judge Shield, The Lyness Cups (Pairs), The Geddis Cup.
MAGHERALIN BADMINTON CLUB
The Badminton Club was formed circa 1936 and played in the Orange Hall. Some of the very early members were:- Robert Mathers and Emily Wad-dell (who later became his wife) George Gracey, Bob Malcolmson and his daughter Isobel Prater, Holt McCullough and Belle Gibson. After the war years, new members were Don Swanson, Joe MacArthur, Joe and Leana Seawright, Daisy Mathers and Beatrice and Lottie Nicholson.
Although the Orange Hall was only just big enough for a badminton court, the baselines were up against the walls. Nevertheless, members enjoyed many exciting games and matches. It was quite a treat to visit other clubs like Dromore Cathedral, where there was plenty of room and a high ceiling. A young lady named Maureen Watson played for Dromore. She later became Mrs. Hutchinson, wife of the present Rector.
During the incumbency of the Rev. P. J. Synnott, Mrs. Jessie Synnott took a keen interest in the game. Known as the `Shuttle Bashers.' housewives from the Parish formed a Wednesday afternoon club. A Thursday afternoon class was also run by Mrs. Phoebe Lovett who taught the game and etiquette to children.
In 1967, the Magheralin Junior Badminton Club was formed under the leadership of Mrs. J. Synnott and Douglas MacArthur. The president was the Rev. P. J. Synnott and vice-presidents were Mrs. W. Bingham and Mr. Joe MacArthur. The club which met on Saturday afternoons, ran successfully for a number of years and had a membership waiting list.
The current Badminton Club consists of about 25 members, some regular attenders others just the reverse. The Club revolves round the Ballinderry League, which started off as a Churches' League but has now widened its scope to include most sections of the community. Two teams are entered, one in Section 3 and the other in Section 7. Although the Silverware has been conspicuous by its absence in recent years, there is enthusiasm and a lot of enjoyment. The year ends in April with a League Dinner Dance when upwards of 300 members and friends `let their hair down.'
Occasionally an Inter-Club Tournament is held which is enjoyed by all. 24-hour Badminton Marathons have also been held and American Mixed Double Tournaments. The Club caters for all standards and the entry age is 13 upwards. Secretary, Michael Bingham; Captain, John Gardiner.
The Junior Badminton Club is taken by Mrs. Lovett, who describes it as `a labour of love.' This attitude is reflected in the children who not only learn the `rules of the game' but must have the best badminton manners in the country. The Club caters for Primary School children and around 12 members attend. The children are really keen and thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Magheralin Indoor Bowling Club