CRAIGMORE 1845 - 1995

Rea Clarke




To the memory of those who have worshipped at Craigmore and have now gone to Higher Service, especially my father, Rea Clarke.








It is a privilege for me to be invited to contribute a foreword for this 150th Anniversary Booklet. Indeed, it is a joy to be the minister here during this special year of celebration. The story of the past 150 years of Methodist Witness and service which has been recorded in this booklet should be of the greatest interest and inspiration to all our members and friends. The following pages also provide information on Craigmore Boys' Home and Craigmore Elementary School.

We are deeply indebted to Margaret Clarke who was mainly responsible for producing this historical record. On behalf of the Craigmore 150th Anniversary Committee I wish to express a word of gratitude to her for all her hard work.

There have been many social and environmental changes in our area during the last 150 years. We also have had our share of civil strife since 1969, but thankfully since August 1994 there has been a ceasefire. Yet in all of these happenings our Church in Craigmore has continued to exercise an unfailing witness to the Saviour. This is due to the adventurous faith and loyalty of both our ministers and our people over the years.

However, our work is not confined to a Sunday, nor a building. There are many flourishing activities: the Badminton Club, MWA, YWA, Youth Club and Youth Fellowship are all well supported. The Sunday School continues to play a very important part in the life of our Church. We do realise, as our predecessors did, that nothing happens without prayer and the members of the Thursday night Prayer Meeting are presently praying for the Edgehill Mission and the special Children's Meetings which will take place prior to our 150th Anniversary Week-end, and continue steadfastly to pray for the continuing work of the Society throughout the year.

This year, Suzanne Clarke, James Best and Stephen Harte have been received into Full Membership of the Methodist Church; the Class Leader system has been re-activated, and some new Class Leaders have been appointed; Ross Harte has been a member of

the Team on Mission 1994-1995 with the Department of Youth and Children's Work; Thomas Clarke has finished his training in Edgehill College and is now serving as a Local Minister in the the Belfast Central Mission

The purpose of this publication is not only to give us a touch of nostalgia and to thank God for the things He has done in the past, but also to spur us on to serve the present age and coming generations. We are not called to be successful, but to be faithful. As our people continue to be faithful to their Lord and Master, they will soon discover, as John Wesley did, that "THE BEST IS YET TO BE".

William J. Lavery Minister

9 Belfast Road Glenavy


A Methodist church has been situated at Craigmore for 150 years but Methodism itself came to the area earlier still. This short history begins by outlining the initial development of Methodism at Craigmore and the surrounding area, before the building of the Wesleyan chapel, in 1845.

As will become apparent, the Shillington family played a major role in its development. Thomas Shillington, who later went to Portadown to live, and Henry Shillington, who remained at 'Craig Villa', their ancestral home, both became Methodists.

It was Henry Shillington who gave over the land for the erection of Craigmore Church. Initially, however, it was known as Aghagallon Wesleyan Chapel, but in the early 1900s came to be known as Craigmore Methodist Church. The history of the church, as outlined in this booklet, is divided into two sections. The first section records its history from 1845-1945, while the second section accounts for the last fifty years, 1945-1995.

The latter part of this booklet records the history of Craigmore Boys' Home. In 1902, it was Thomas Foulkes Shillington, who was by then resident in Belfast, who gave over his ancestral home and approximately 140 acres of land to enable the Methodist Church in Ireland to open a home for boys. This home operated as a separate institution from 1903-1937. It was vested in the Methodist Church in Ireland and governed by a committee of ministers and laymen, elected by Conference. The history of the home is closely connected with the Belfast Central Mission and all archive materials are kept by Mr Wesley Weir, the honorary archivist for the Mission.

When the home itself closed, in 1937, the name was allied with that of 'Childhaven', a children's home run by the Belfast Central Mission, in Millisle. Currently, the formal title of the residential childcare centre remains 'Childhaven and Craigmore Children's

Homes.' When the nature of the work changed, however, in the 1980s, to caring for adolescents, the name of the house in Millisle was also changed from 'Childhaven' to 'Craigmore House'.

The history of Craigmore School is also recorded in this part of the booklet. This school became operational because of the need to educate the boys nearer the premises of the boys' home. Initially it began in the warping room of 'Craig Villa' but a new school was purpose built by 1908. As well as home children, local children were also educated there. The school at Craigmore remained open until 1938. As the home had closed the previous year the number of pupils had decreased to five and the school was no longer viable.

I have endeavoured in the writing of this booklet to give as comprehensive an account of the church, the home and the school as was possible. I am aware, however, that vast areas of the history of each may not have been recorded, as is the nature of records. Omissions are inevitable and for these I apologise in advance. My motivation for writing this history has been two-fold: firstly to testify to the faithfulness of God to us as a church in the past and secondly to pay tribute to those who have worshipped and served at Craigmore over the past 150 years.

M. W. Clarke


The area around Craigmore Methodist Church is an area of great historical interest. To put it into both its historical and geographical context I have used a very comprehensive description which first appeared in the February 1905 issue of the 'Irish Christian Advocate'

'One of the questions I have been frequently asked is "where is Craigmore? and my reply is that it overlooks Lough Neagh, and is near that point where the three counties of Armagh, Antrim and Down actually meet. It is in Antrim, but within four miles of Moira, in Down and five miles of Lurgan, in Armagh. At the same time it is a historic locality. It was probably settled by Sir Fulke Conway at the same time as Lisnagarvey, as Lisburn was formerly called and settled by people from the counties Warwick, Gloucester, and Worcester, in which Sir Fulke Conway had property. At any rate the tradition of the people is that their fathers came from the apple countries of England, and in that case they probably sailed from Bristol to Belfast. Sir Fulke Conway was succeeded by Sir Edward Conway, who was made one of the Secretaries of State under James I, and who soon afterwards was created Viscount Conway. It was the latter who built the castle in Lisburn, and who was succeeded about 1650 by Edward, third Lord Conway, who erected in 1664 a magnificent mansion or castle at Portmore on the site of an ancient castle of the O'Neills. This was in many respects an ideal spot for such a residence. To the west it commanded a view of Portmore Lake, and of a great part of Lough Neagh, while "To the north and east the eye rested for miles on the beautiful lands of Ballinderry and Glenavy, with the round tower of Ram's Island, rising from a gentle curve in the lake".

Then to the south and only a very little way off, was Craigmore and beyond this the fields of County Armagh. At Portmore Lord Conway disposed generous hospitality for about twenty years, and lived in great splendour. This can easily be inferred from the fact that his stables were capable of accomodating two troops of horses, and that they were, it is said, 140 feet long, 35 feet broad, and forty feet high

Here, during the Commonwealth, the learned Jeremy Taylor found an asylum, and on a little island in Portmore Lake, now known as Sally Isle, his patron, Lord Conway, erected an arbour for him, in which he composed his 'Ductor Dubitantium' and some other works. At the Restoration through, no doubt, Lord Conway, Jeremy Taylor was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor and in 1661 Bishop of Dromore. Also about 1761 the then owners of the property, not caring to make Portmore a residence, the castle was pulled down and the only traces of it that now remain are its foundations, together with a garden wall. The deer-park, which is still called by that name, is said to have occupied 2,000 acres, but it has long since been divided up into farms

At Portmore there is a small Moravian settlement, established by Mr Cennick, who was also the founder of Gracehill, near Ballymena, and who is said to have been the cause of Protestants being called swaddlers, owing to his having preached from the text 'wrapped in swaddling clothes'. On the opposite side of Craigmore is the town of Moira, which after the Revolution of 1641 was granted to Sir George Rawdon, of Rawdon near Leeds, in Yorkshire, who planted the district ..... His descendant, Lord Moira, and his Wife, the daughter of the Countess of Huntingdon, often entertained in their palatial residence at Moira - of which no trace now remains - John Wesley, in his visits to the country; amongst those brought to the neighbourhood of Portmore in 1658 by Lord Conway were two brothers of the name of Shillington'.



In 1756 John Wesley paid his first of many visits to Ulster. During this visit he came to Lisburn. In his journal Wesley says of Thursday, 22nd July, We drove through heavy rain to Lisburn. I preached in the market-house at seven.'


In 1756 also, Mr Wesley visited Moira. The following account is given in 'Memorials of a Consecrated Life', the story of the life of Anne Lutton.

'One day in 1756 the Earl of Moira sent a servant to the clergyman to request the key of the church, that the Rev. John Wesley might preach to the people. The clergyman declined giving the key, and was accustomed during the course of a long life to boast in company that, even to oblige a nobleman, he would not tolerate the Methodists. The Earl was greatly annoyed at the rector's refusal but he was determined that nothing should prevent Mr Wesley from preaching; so he sent the bellman through the town, to summon all the people to the lawn before the castle, and Mr Wesley stood on top of a long flight of steps before the grand entrance hall'.


John Wesley himself paid 3 visits to Ballinderry. On Friday 5th July 1771 he dined in Ballinderry House with the good man, his wife, one son and five daughters, all he found 'walking in the light of God's countenance'. There were then about fifty members of the Methodist society in Ballinderry. A far greater number than this, however, gathered around the house to hear Wesley preach from an upstairs window.

Wesley again visited Ballinderry in 1773 and 1778.


In the years 1767-70 there was a great spiritual revival led by John Smith and places that were deeply affected included Ballinderry, Magheragall and Aghagallon.

In his book on the life of Thomas Averell Shillington, J.P. called 'Christian Thoroughness' the Rev. John Dwyer mentions the role of a young linen weaver called John Martin in the promotion of Methodism in the area. He established a small prayer meeting amongst the neighbours of the family with whom he was boarding. These meetings continued to increase and eventually a Methodist 'class' was formed. John Smith who was then stationed in the Derry Circuit supplied the place with preaching at stated times. Amongst the first fruits of his labours was Mr Thomas Kinley who is said to have died happy in God, in 1789.

For one of the most direct influences, however, on the growth of Methodism in Aghagallon in the mid 1800's we must look to the Shillington family.


The name Shillington was for a long time synonomous with Methodism in the Portadown area. An account, however, of the growth of Methodism in the area around 'Craig Villa', the Shillington family ancestral home, provides for us the background to the establishment of Aghagallon Wesleyan Chapel in 1845, now known as Craigmore Methodist Church.

The Shillington family was of English origin but two brothers of the family were encouraged to come to Ireland, about the year 1658, by Lord Conway. They took up residence at 'Craig Villa' in Aghagallon, Co. Antrim. Their immediate object seems to have been to execute extensive works at Portmore for the Reverend

Jeremy Taylor who had been appointed to the Bishopric of Down and Connor. Little is known about the members of the family in the intervening years until 1711 when we have an account of Henry Shillington being born at Aghagallon. He became associated with the Moravian Society and was a member of the society at Ballinderry until his death in 1785.

This society, situated at Portmore, was established by John Cennick who was the founder of Gracehill, near Ballymena.

In 1767, his grandson Thomas Shillington was born, also at Aghagallon, on the 26th February. At about the age of 18 years Thomas Shillington was converted and thereafter lived to serve the Lord.

After becoming a Christian he formed an attachment with the Moravian people. He also, however, found support and fellowship from some friends he had who were Methodists and said of their company that as

"Iron sharpeneth iron: so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friends".

This developing link with Methodists , however, did not meet with the approval of his father. Mr Thomas Shillington was to leave Aghagallon in the May of 1789. He took up residence at a farm in Co. Armagh which his father had offered him. He attended the services at Derryanville and found them to be a great blessing to him. He was appointed a class leader and during the course of his life he was to become a very influential figure in Methodism in Portadown.

In the year 1819 Mr Thomas Shillington was one of the foremost workers of a year that was blessed with great spiritual prosperity. Reference is made to a special occasion when he preached at Baltylum with the result that over 40 people committed their lives to the Lord. Several of the members of Mr Shillington's family and most of his children were converted at this time. His eldest son became seriously concerned and later, while at a love-feast in Lurgan, he also gave his life to Christ.

Love-feasts were fellowship meetings based on Acts, Chapter 2, where we read that the early Christians met for breaking of bread and did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. Early Methodists met in this tradition and had a token meal, usually bread and water. The night was one of praise, prayer and testimony.

Mr T. Shillington (senior) carried on his preaching engagements until the end of his life. It was while returning from a preaching engagement in November 1829 that he fell from his horse. By April 1830 he had died from gout, induced by the fall.

His sons, Thomas Averell, John and Averell were all tireless workers for their Lord. His daughters, too, Mrs McElwain of Coleraine and Mrs Paul of Portadown were also devoted to their Lord.


Meanwhile, the branch of the family that remained at Aghagallon joined the Methodists and through time 'Craigmore' became a well-known Methodist centre. The Ordnance Survey 'Memoirs of Ireland - Parishes of Co. Antrim VII 1832-38, records that,

'the Methodists have class meetings weekly at different farmhouses throughout the parish. Mr Henry Shillington of Ballymacilrany, a farmer, is the principal class leader.

It was adjacent to the Shillington family home that soon afterwards, in 1845, a Wesleyan chapel was built.



Craigmore Methodist Church, originally known as Aghagallon Wesleyan Chapel, was built in 1845. The land on which it was built had been given by Mr Henry Shillington. At first, he had hoped to persuade the Earl of Hertford, through his clerical agent, to provide an appropriate site but had failed to do so.

The chapel was able to seat 250 people and the original seating was in the shape of forms. The pitch pine pews were a later addition. The pipe organ, still in working order today, was also a later addition and an appropriate organ chamber had to be built to accommodate it. The organ was a gift from Mr Fred Turtle, who was an organist in Craigmore Church, until shortly before his death, in 1907. Oral tradition has it that the organ was taken from Mr Turtle's own home and transferred to the church. Mr Turtle lived in a house at the centre of Aghalee.


The oldest church records date back to this year. The copy of the trust deed inserted into records for that year stated that: the 'Lessor' was Mr Henry Shillington and the 'Lessees' were Mr Henry Shillington (Junior) and others. The 'Lives' were, Henry Shillington Jnr, Harriet Shillington and Anne Shillington, the children of Henry Shillington, the 'Lessor'

The premises were said to measure in front, along the road, 26 feet and from front to back 50 feet. The trustees were named as George E. Carter, James Megarry, Digby F. Foulkes (Senior), Joseph Berry, Thomas A. Shillington, Averell Shillington, Digby Fred Foulkes (Junior), Thomas Montgomery, John Shillington and Henry Shillington.


Records for this decade reveal that two Methodist societies were labelled as Aghagallon. They were known as divisions one and two. One of these societies met in what was known as the Union Hall, in Aghagallon. The other society met in Wesley Chapel, in Aghagallon, later known as Craigmore Methodist Church. The records for 1868 provide a congregational list for the chapel as follows:

John Renfrew, Maria Shillington, Bessie Shillington, Henry Shillington, Joseph W. Shillington, John Shillington, Jane Saunders, Arthur Doyle and Margaret Lutton. This would seem therefore to be the earliest record of members of Craigmore.


In 1875, Wesley Chapel' members in Aghagallon were, John Robinson (leader), Maria Shillington, Bessie Shillington, John Shillington, Anne Shillington, Jane Saunders, Margaret Lutton and George Campbell.

During the remaining years of the nineteenth century membership remained small but reasonably consistent.


By 1889, both Maria Shillington and Bessie Shillington were resident in Belfast. As they desired still to be identified with Aghagallon they had their membership 'tickets' sent by post.


During this period, the Rev John Elliot was Superintendent of the Moira Circuit. At this time, an effort was made to acquire an evangelist for Aghalee and Aghagallon.

Sunday School Excursion -1896

An entry in the Irish Christian Advocate for July 1896 noted that a Sunday School had quite recently commenced in Aghagallon Methodist Church. The Sunday School had, on Tuesday 16th June, been on an outing to Shane's Castle, near Antrim. The article stated that,

'Before starting out scholars and their friends gathered inside the church when a hymn was sung and a prayer offered to God for protection during the day.

The roll having been called the scholars took their places in the brakes, each teacher accompanying his or her own class. The number was about 140'.

A very busy day followed. Lord O'Neill opened up the Antrim gate making the journey 5 miles shorter, and the party was allowed to have refreshments (lemonade and buns) in the farmyard belonging to the castle.

After reaching Aghagallon in the evening and before leaving the brakes, the hymn 'God be with you till we meet again' was sung. Cheers followed for the superintendent, organist, secretary and teachers of the school, and all dispersed testifying that they had never had a better day.

A New Century

As the new century approached, many changes were imminent at 'Craigmore' with the establishment of the home for orphan boys at 'Craig Villa', in 1903. The work of Methodism in the Moira Circuit remained very active. An article in the 'Irish Christian Advocate' (1902) noted that:

The working staff therefore now consists of 2 ministers, the evangelist and 6 effective local preachers'.

In Craigmore Methodist Church itself, congregational registers from around the turn of the century show family names which are still present in the church, or have been in the recent past, beginning to emerge. These include McClelland, Gilbert and Scandrett.


The Sunday School Superintendent during 1904 was Mr James Browne.


By 1905, Mr John Pyper had taken over from Mr James Browne as Sunday School Superintendent. Mr Pyper had moved to the area to be principal of the school, based initially behind Craig Villa, in what had been a warping room. Later the school moved to new premises, built on 'the Craig'.

In 1905, the other office bearers in the church where as follows; Mr Isaac Gilbert, Senior Circuit Steward, Mr John Turtle, Junior Circuit Steward, Mr James Martin and Mr John Scandrett were the Society Stewards.


The Quarterly Board noted the loss of their brother, Mr F. L. Turtle, formerly a member of the board and up to the last, organist in the church at Aghagallon.

Also during 1907, it was noted that the Aghagallon committee had to raise ?30 towards the evangelist's salary. The evangelist, at that time, was Mr Spence.


Records for December 1909 show that Aghagallon society had 36 members.


The evangelist at Aghagallon was Mr Proctor.


Words of encouragement were extended to Mr Proctor by the Quarterly Board as he had passed his examinations and had been accepted as a candidate for the Methodist ministry.

In June 1914, the Rev R. M. Ker and Mr A. F. Shillington paid a visit to the Quarterly Board meeting. The Rev. R. M. Ker was the Superintendent of the Belfast Central Mission and Mr A. F. Shillington was the Honorary Treasurer of the Management Committee of the Craigmore Boys' Home. The mission of the deputation was to ask the Quarterly Board to allow the money, hitherto raised for the evangelist's salary, to be allocated to the salary of the new ministerial principal of the Craigmore Boys' Home. He in turn would undertake the preaching appointments of the evangelist. Mr Spence proposed and Mr Isaac Gilbert seconded the idea of the Craigmore Management Committee and the Board agreed to its adoption. The Rev. J. W. Johnston was to be appointed as ministerial principal.


In September 1915, the number of members in Aghagallon society was only 10. By 1917, membership in September of that year is still noted as 10; junior membership for September of 1917 however, is noted as 42.


Mr Isaac Gilbert, Circuit Steward, having tendered his resignation, was thanked by the Quarterly Board for his faithful and painstaking services on behalf of the circuit, during his twelve years of office. As highest offical in the circuit he was uniformly capable and courteous and always had the highest interests of the circuit at heart.


Mr James Gilbert and Mr Andrew Johnston were put on the plan of local preachers on trial.

Also in 1918, the sum of ?18-10-0, had been raised for the Prisoners of War Fund.


Approval was received to put heating apparatus into Aghagallon Church and to paint the church.


Mr Clayton spoke in the Quarterly Board meeting of the positive effects of the Scout movement on the boys.

In this same board meeting, Mr Mayes was welcomed to the Quarterly Board and the Rev. Mr Clayton said how glad he was to be the first to give Mr Mayes his Quarterly 'ticket'.

In 1920 also the Craigmore Boys' Home Annual Report noted that,

Thanks to the generosity of the late Mr and Mrs Best and also to members of the congregation Craigmore Church is now equipped with an efficient heating apparatus, an acetylene gas installation and has also been beautifully renovated'

Appointments -1922

Appointments for 1922 were as follows: Mr R. J. Greer and Mr Jonathan Gilbert, Circuit Stewards and Mr James Martin and Mr John Scandrett, Chapel Stewards. The Sunday School Superintendent was Mr John Pyper.

In 1922 Mr James Martin was congratulated by the Quarterly Board on being raised to the magistracy. In the same year Mr Martin was appointed Senior Circuit Steward, on the Moira Circuit.


A list of the Craigmore leadership for 1924 was recorded as follows: Mr James Martin, Circuit Steward, Mr John Pyper, Sunday School Superintendent, leader and local preacher, Mr Jonathan Gilbert, Representative of the Craigmore Congregation and Mr John Mayes, Poor's Steward. The Chapel Stewards were listed as, Mr Matthew McRoberts, Mr John Scandrett, Mr James Henderson, Miss Annie Martin and Miss Rebecca Marshall.

Sunday School - 1925

The Craigmore Boys' Home Annual Report for 1929 noted the following about the Sunday Schools the boys attended.

"At the recent Connexional Sunday School Examination seven money prizes and ten certificates were awarded to the boys of the home and through the generosity of the Young People's Council (Portadown Synod) those receiving certificates only are presented with book prizes. The public services on Lord's Day are much enjoyed by the young worshippers"

One of the Sunday Schools the boys attended was based at Craigmore where Mr Pyper was superintendent.

Rev. W. T. Brownlee -1929

The 'Irish Christian Advocate', of June 1929, recorded a very special event held at Craigmore. The congregation had gathered together at the manse to wish 'God - speed' to the Rev. W. T. Brownlee who had served as ministerial principal at Craigmore Boys' Home, since 1921. The article recorded that

'He had fulfilled his several duties in a most satisfactory manner, and had always manifested a most painstaking interest in everything connected with the welfare of the congregation.

On the occasion tea was served on the lawn of the manse. Following this a special 'evening' was held inside the manse. The Rev. R. E. Sherwood was chairman. Mr John Pyper in giving the address, spoke of how Mr Brownlee had so effectively combined the dual role of circuit minister and principal of the home.

The chairman asked Mrs Martin (wife of the Circuit Steward) to make the presentation (a wallet with notes) and Mrs Martin later spoke of the happy fellowship which existed between Mr Brownlee and the Craigmore congregation.

Mr Brownlee in response, told how his appointment had afforded him the opportunity of understanding young life and he had been glad of the opportunity to work with the boys.

November 1929

On Sunday, 24th November 1929, there was a re-opening service at Craigmore after extensive renovation to the organ. The speaker was the Vice-President of the Conference, the Rev. J. C. Robinson, M.A., B.D.


A committee was appointed to look after the arrangements for the re-decorating of Craigmore Church.

It was decided to continue the Sunday evening services in Aghalee Hall instead of Craigmore Church.

A circuit social was held in December, 1931.

Mr J. Pyper was appointed Junior Circuit Steward for the incoming year.


A mission, conducted by two Methodist deaconesses, was held at Craigmore. After the mission a C.E. group was started in Craigmore.

In 1932 also, Mr J. Gilbert proposed that the Quarterly Love Feast might be held again at Craigmore for the benefit of those who loved the Lord.

Mr Campbell was welcomed as the new evangelist on the circuit.

Aghalee Schoolhouse -1933

Aghalee Schoolhouse, which had been used as a Methodist meeting place, was sold to the County Council. Before this schoolhouse had been used for services, the Methodist meetings were held in a room down in the village. These premises later were used as a shop by the Green family. At the time when the premises were used for Methodist meetings they were rented from Mr F. Turtle for 11= per annum.


It was decided to start a prayer meeting in Craigmore on Sunday evenings. Mr Pyper and Mr McClelland were in charge.

The organist for 1934 was noted as Miss Amy Marshall.


Words of appreciation by the Quarterly Board were expressed to Mr John Pyper on his retirement from the circuit.

Records for this year also show that the total funds raised from a fete held at Craigmore were ?11.

Organists -1936

The organists in Craigmore were noted as Miss A. Marshall and Miss Lavery.

Membership -1939

In December 1939 the Craigmore Society had an adult membership of 50 and a junior membership of 36.

Christian Endeavour -1941

The Christian Endeavour Societies, both at Moira and Craigmore, had to be suspended owing to war-time conditions. To keep the young people together a Young People's Christian Endeavour Fellowship gathering was held monthly.

Centenary -1945

Special centenary services were held on Sunday 27th May 1945. The services were conducted by the Chairman of the District, Rev. R. H. Gallagher, B.A. The soloist on both occasions was Mr Norman Lyttle of Portadown. The choir, which had the help of friends from Lurgan and Moira also rendered their service. Large congregations were present at both services.

On Monday 28th May, a special evening meeting was held to celebrate the centenary. Mr T. A. Shillington of Portadown made an ideal chairman for the evening. The Rev. W. G. Lee who began his ministry in Craigmore, spoke briefly of his memories of that period. Letters were- read from previous ministers and superintendents and a letter was also read which had been sent by Mr John Pyper, the former principal of Craigmore School.

The superintendent at that time was the Rev. W. S. Twinem and he also contributed his thoughts to the occasion. The address was given by Rev. George A. Mcllwrath, of Lurgan. The soloist was Miss Irene Howie. Miss Sadie Scandrett was the organist. An 'Irish Christian Advocate' article in June of 1945 noted that:

'It was a week-end that will long be remembered. May the next centenary witness even more effective service rendered to Christ and to His Church

CHURCH (1945-1995)

Numbers in Society (1946)

In 1946, there were 52 senior members and 29 junior members in the church.

Mission at Craigmore (1947)

In the March Quarterly Board meeting of 1947, Mr T. McClelland spoke of the mission at Craigmore, conducted by the Rev. W. J. Carson, which had taken place during very severe weather. The numbers had been small but the meetings were inspiring.

Property & Renovations (1947-1948)

In a Quarterly Board meeting of March 1947 permission was given to obtain an estimate of the cost of repairing the coping on the Craigmore Church to prevent a leak near the organ. Work was expected to cost ?10 - ?15.

In October 1947, a special meeting was held to discuss the Craigmore stables or coke house. This building was on land beyond Methodist property. It was stated at the meeting that originally it had been built by 6 members of the congregation for stabling. It was not in fact church property but money from its sale was going to be donated towards a new coke house.

In June 1948, at the Quarterly Board meeting the following scheme of work was planned for Craigmore. It was proposed to install electric lighting together with 2 power plugs at a cost of ?395-0. Shades would cost another ?23 approximately. Decoration of parts of the inside walls would cost ?14-10-0. The whole scheme along with work needing done on a gable wall should cost a total of ?100.

It was envisaged that by the Autumn the complete scheme would be finished and re-opening take place about one month after the Harvest Service.

In December 1948, Mr H. Spence further proposed and the members agreed that permission be given to decorate the whole of the interior of the church. This would bring the total expenditure on the church to approximately ?187. It was also agreed that a coke house be erected at an estimated ?90. Mr Johnston had offered a site for this building and it was unanimously accepted and he was to be duly thanked. The meeting also approved a sale of work to assist the financing of the scheme.

Work on the Circuit (1948)

The loyal support of the officials throughout the circuit was commended by the Rev. J. Glass in the December meeting of 1949. He also informed the meeting of Open Air Services which had taken place during November, using a loud-speaker.

Sale of Work (1949)

The date for a sale of work was fixed for the second Saturday in April, 1949. This was to be held at the home of Mr Jack Mayes, in Aghalee.

Further Renovations (1949)

The question of installing electric heating at Craigmore, which would obviate the necessity of building a coke house, was discussed in the Spring of 1949. In June 1949, the financing of the Craigmore renovation scheme was further discussed and although not yet finalised, it was hoped there would be no outstanding debt.

Work on the Circuit (1949)

Rev. J. Glass spoke in Septembers Quarterly Board meeting about the needs and prospects of the work over the circuit for the winter. He spoke in particular about the work of the Sunday Schools, Christian Endeavour, and other week-night services.

Re-Opening Ceremony and Service (1949)

On Saturday 7th May 1949, the re-opening ceremony took place at Craigmore Church. The ceremony was performed by Dr Margaret Foster. Mr N. Robb chaired the proceedings. The speaker at the event was the Rev. W. E. Morley Thompson. (President of the Methodist Church in Ireland). The soloist was Mrs Stockman.

On the following day, Sunday 8th May, two special re-opening services were held in the church. The morning service was taken by the Rev. J. N. Spence (ex-President) and the evening service held at 7 p.m. was addressed by the Rev. J. W. Stutt (President Designate). Special music was a feature of both services and the offering went towards the renovations which had been undertaken.

Numbers in Society (1950's)

The numbers in the Craigmore Society in the 1950's ranged from 65 at one point to 78 senior members at another. During the decade junior membership ranged from 22 to 26 young people.

Worship (1950's)

During the 1950's Craigmore had a morning service on Sunday and a week-night meeting on Thursday. At one Quarterly Board meeting in 1956, Mr Jack Mayes noted that these services were well maintained, especially the Sunday morning service.

By 1957, concern was being given to the response to the Thursday evening meeting which was attended only by a small number. In September 1959, this matter was again addressed and it was proposed that owing to the poor attendance in Maghaberry, Moira and Craigmore that it would be advisable at this stage to have a meeting each week, rotating around the different societies.

Christian Endeavour

This organisation had been a feature of Craigmore Church at other periods of its history. At this time the Rev. W. Dale restarted the Christian Endeavour and it was to have significant impact on the life of the church. Not least on Miss Elsie Mayes who says that it was for the Christian Endeavour that she first prepared a "paper", i.e. a little talk or a mini-sermon, admitting that little did she think at the time that she would end up in the ministry. The Christian Endeavour was held weekly and began with a membership of 16. The first secretary was Miss Betty Greer and her successor was Miss M. Beckett.

Young Worshippers' League

In the 1950's church attendance by the young was actively encouraged by membership of this organisation. Weekly attendance at morning worship was noted and signed on a card. Secretaries of this organisation included Miss J. Clarke and Miss E. Mayes.

Circuit Socials

Circuit socials in the 1950's were regularly held. Venues included Aghalee Village Hall, Moira Orange Hall and Donacloney.


In June 1950, Miss A. Yarr was appointed as organist, in place of Miss McClelland, who was leaving the district after her marriage.

In November 1950, Miss W. Rea was also noted as an organist in Craigmore.

World Wide Evangelistic Campaign

The minutes of March 1952 noted the encouragement of Rev. W. E. Cullen of the work being done on the circuit. He went on to stress that members keep in view that 1952 was a year of preparation for the Methodist World Wide Evangelistic Campaign to be held in 1953.

Renovations (1950's)

In June 1952, it was noted at the Quarterly Board meeting that Craigmore was to be 're-opened' after extensive renovations. Cost of repair had been approximately ?160 and ?113 had already been raised by subscription.

Later in the year, during the September Quarterly Board meeting, a letter was read by the chairman, from the Secretary of the Portadown Synod, expressing their appreciation for the voluntary work done in connection with the renovation of the church.

In December 1955, Craigmore leaders had an estimate of ?64 to provide electrical heating at Craigmore. Permission was given to go ahead with the project.

In March 1957, the Quarterly Board minutes noted that the Craigmore leaders had decided to install an electric blower to the organ.

Quarterly Board minutes for 1959 noted that the Craigmore leaders had looked into the possibility of building a hall at Craigmore but had decided not to proceed with their plans.

Christian Endeavour

Mr Jack Mayes informed the Quarterly Board meeting in March 1956 of the good work being done by the Christian Endeavour at Craigmore. Already, he said, results were showing.

Sunday School

On Thursday 5th July 1956, a social evening was held in Craigmore Church to honour Mr Tom McClelland who had served as Sunday School Superintendent for 25 years. The Rev. W. Dale spoke at the occasion in appreciative terms of Mr McClelland's work both in the Sunday School and also in other aspects of church life. Mr Jack Mayes ably supported all that had been said and expressed his thanks to Mr McClelland. Mr Dale then called upon Mr W. R. Yarr who after his speech presented Mr McClelland with a combined Dick Wittington and Westminster Chimes Clock, as a token of appreciation from the congregation. Mrs McClelland was presented with a gold tipped china tea-set. Mr McClelland spoke in reply of the joy he had found in working in the Sunday School and asked the parents to support his successor, Mr Rea Clarke, in every possible way. During the evening Miss Valerie Dale contributed a recitation. On Sunday July 15th, at the morning service in Craigmore Church the Rev W. Dale administered the Sacrament of Baptism to William Robert Gregory Yarr and to Rosemary Margaret Best. This service was unique, in that it was the first time that two children had been baptised at the same service in Craigmore.

Women's Department

In September 1957, it was noted that Mrs Carson hoped to have a women's meeting both in Moira and Craigmore. By December, this venture had taken off and reports of meetings were favourable. In March 1959 an organ had been found for use in the women's meetings. In June 1959, Mrs A. Greer, reporting on the W.D. to the Quarterly Board meeting noted the success of the venture was very much due to the leadership of Mrs Carson.

In December 1959, it was noted that Craigmore W.D. were using a cottage as temporary quarters, loaned to them by Mr J. Yarr.

Numbers in Society (1960's)

The number of senior members in the 1960's ranged from 63 at one stage to 74 senior members at another. Junior membership ranged from 25 junior members to 28.

Cliff College

Regarding spiritual advancement in the church, the chairman of the Quarterly Board meeting suggested in March 1960, that he invite Mr Tom Butler (Cliff College) to conduct a series of services around the circuit. These would be held for a period of not less than one month some time in 1961.

Pulpit Hymn Book

In 'The Methodist Newsletter' for March 1961, it was recorded that a beautifully bound pulpit hymn book had been presented to Craigmore Church by Mrs E. Mayes. The thanks of the leaders and members were expressed by the superintendent during a Sunday Service Rally.


In 1962 a special Quarterly Board meeting was held to discuss the topic, 'Revival in our midst' Discussions followed including a suggestion about the re-introduction of the love feast.

Elsie Mayes

At a Quarterly Board meeting in March 1962 it was announced that Miss E. Mayes had offered her services to the mission field and had been accepted. The chairman congratulated her and her parents on being obedient to the heavenly vision.

In June 1962, the chairman reported at the Quarterly Board meeting that Miss Elsie Mayes had preached in Craigmore as a local preacher on trial. Arrangements would be made for other services when convenient.

In April 1963, Miss Mayes met a group of Quarterly Board representatives to undertake her local preachers oral examination. During the meeting Miss Mayes referred to the help she had been given both by her family upbringing and to the Rev. W. Warren for the encouragement he had been. Mr Rea Clarke added that the Sunday School's loss was the Mission Field's gain.

By September 1963, Miss E. Mayes had been commissioned and at the Quarterly Board meeting held in that month the chairman said it was an inspiration to hear Miss E. Mayes speak and the circuit as a whole would follow her work with interest on the mission field.

Mr Mayes thanked Mr Warren for all his untiring work to aid Miss E. Mayes's departure plans.

Young Worshippers' League

Early in the 1960's, Mr Rea Clarke was the Secretary of the Young Worshippers' League, at Craigmore.


In June 1963, the Chairman of the Quarterly Board meeting informed the meeting that Mr Butler would make a return visit to the circuit. It was suggested that this special effort be held in Craigmore.

In September 1963, the Quarterly Board meeting was informed that Mr Butler was now unable to make a return visit to the circuit and a new name was proposed. Mr Silverwood was the proposed missioner.

Mr Tom McClelland

On Saturday 26th January 1963, Mr Thomas James McClelland passed home to God. As a young man Mr McClelland had given his life to the Lord. During his life he had earned the respect and gratitude of a wide circle of friends. He held the office of Society Steward in Craigmore Church and also served there as the Sunday School Superintendent for 25 years.

Bible Study Class

In March 1964 Mr Mayes referred to the suggestion of a united Bible Study Class taking place in Donacloney, Moira, Craigmore and possibly Blackskull. The suggestion was that the class be held on one Sunday evening each month in each division.

Mission (1964)

A special mission was to be held in Craigmore from the 21st November. The missioner in charge was to be Mr Silverwood.

Women's Department

The Women's Department continued to flourish during the 1960's. Representatives to the Quarterly Board meeting included Mrs J. Mayes, Mrs R. Gilbert and Mrs J. Martin. Early in 1967, the speaker at the monthly Women's Department meeting was Miss Elsie Mayes. Miss Mayes spoke about her time spent in Rhodesia, as a teacher.

New Furnishings For Craigmore

On Sunday 28th November 1965, a morning service was held in which the dedication of the new furnishings for the church took place. Rev. W. A. Warren, B.A., B.Sc. performed the dedication and the address at the service was given by the Rev. W. S. Deale. The soloist at the service was Mrs E. S. Simpson.

The gifts to be dedicated were: an organ screen presented by Mr W.R. Yarr and family in memory of Mrs Yarr; two chairs presented by Mrs M. Martin in memory of her husband; two collection plates presented by Mrs M McClelland in memory of her husband; curtain and carpet presented by Mr & Mrs Richard Yarr and a Communion table which was a gift from the congregation and former members in loving memory of those who worshipped in Craigmore and had now entered Higher Service.


At a Quarterly Board meeting held in January 1965, Mr Mayes told the board that 'Craigmore' had been painted by the members of the congregation.

Christian Stewardship Campaign

In the mid-1960's this issue was raised at several Quarterly Board meetings. In June 1965 it was reported that Mr Cooney, Director of the Christian Stewardship Department, was to be invited to take services on this issue. The services to be arranged would be held in Donacloney (joined by Blackskull) and in Moira (joined by Craigmore and Maghaberry).

A special meeting was held on 17th December 1965, at which Mr Cooney was present to explain 'Christian Stewardship' . He expressed it as the management of the household of God. The extent of the campaign was 10 weeks with a follow-up of 3 years.

Sunday School Outings

During the 1960's Sunday School outings were joint ventures between Craigmore and Moira Sunday Schools. Newcastle is the remembered venue.

Circuit Socials

These continued to be an event in the social calendar of the 1960's. Recorded venues include Donacloney and Moira Parochial Hall.

Evening Services

By December 1966, it had been suggested that a new evening service arrangement should be put on trial. The Moira congregation had agreed to an arrangement whereby they had decided to have an evening service on the first Sunday each month if the Craigmore people would be willing to allow their service to be closed for that week. The remaining Sundays the Moira people would travel to Craigmore. A trial period beginning in January was envisaged.

By September 1967 , however, the arrangement had not been viewed as a success and a new trial arrangement beginning on the 1st November was suggested. This entailed a first and third Sunday evening service held in Moira and second and fourth held in Craigmore (a fifth Sunday would mean a further service in Craigmore).

A New Circuit - 1969

The Manpower Committee held in Belfast on 20/1/69 gave approval to the recommendation that the Glenavy and Craigmore Societies become one circuit with one minister as from

Conference 1969 and that the proposed circuit be known as the Glenavy & Craigmore Circuit. The Manpower Committee further approved the recommendation that the proposed circuit "Glenavy & Craigmore" be in the Portadown District.

Mr Jack Mayes

The Chairman of the June Quarterly Board meeting 1969 paid tribute to the service of Mr Jack Mayes who had held the office of Circuit Steward for 15 years. Mr J. J. Gilbert and Mr Hewitt supported the chairman in these remarks. Mr Savage passed on the thanks of the Donacloney members. In reply, Mr Jack Mayes said anything he had done it had been with joy and he felt a great sense of personal loss at the moment of parting.


A discussion took place in the Quarterly Board meeting during the year regarding world poverty. It was noted that Miss Ina Mayes was to act as Secretary for World Poverty in the circuit.


The Christian Endeavour meeting in Glenavy was substituted by a prayer meeting.

In December 1972, owing to ill-health, Mr Rea Clarke retired from his role as Sunday School Superintendent at Craigmore. Mr Clarke had held this office since 1956. Mr Kenneth Greer took on the office of Sunday School Superintendent with Mr John Clarke as his assistant.


British and Foreign Bible Societies were supplying St. Luke's Gospels for 2.5 pence each and the Rev. J. B. Turner informed the Quarterly Board meeting he had ordered 100 of them. The object of the Bible Society was to place a St. Luke's Gospel in every home.


In 1973, the times of the morning services in Glenavy and Craigmore were staggered during the summer months of July and August. This enabled the Rev. J. B. Turner to conduct both services. In 1973 also it was decided to hold a monthly Bible Study in different homes belonging to members of the congregation. This was to be held on the third Sunday evening of every month. It was also decided to end the Sunday evening service in Craigmore.

In 1974, further discussion took place on the times of services and it was considered unwise by Mr Turner, in view of travelling expenses, that the minister was able to take just one service, because of the service times. It was unanimously decided to stagger times from the 1st April; Craigmore services were to be held at 10.30am and Glenavy at 12.00 noon. In 1974 also it was decided to hold a monthly evening service in Glenavy for both congregations. In 1975, mid-week services were held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, in Craigmore.

Sunday School

By 1975/6, Craigmore Sunday School had temporarily closed. In June 1976 a leaders' meeting was held in Craigmore to discuss the possibility of re-opening the Sunday School. This meeting recommended that a questionnaire be circulated to parents of children who were of Sunday School age to ascertain interest. Miss Joan Clarke was elected as Sunday School Superintendent, a post she held until 1982, and Mr Stephen Gilbert assisted her in the work.

In 1975 also, Mr Jim Campbell, organist at Craigmore, was presented with a gift on behalf of the congregation, on the occasion of his marriage.


Rev. A. Hanna told the Quarterly Board meeting of the possibility of an American Lay Witness Team coming to the circuit for a week-end, 23rd-25th September.


It was noted that the organ at Craigmore needed a lot of maintenance work done. It was decided that a yearly tuning contract might help alleviate the problem.

Discussion also took place during the year regarding the possibility of constructing a sound-proof room on the gallery but it was decided not to proceed with the venture.

The New Hall

Early in the 1980's the problem of Sunday School facilities was again addressed. A committee was established to give thought to prospective improvements. This committee included the following people: Mr Hanna, Miss Joan Clarke, Mr S. Gilbert, Mr T. Clarke, Mr K. Greer, Mr W. Rea, Mr J. Mayes, Mr J. Clarke.

In June 1980 plans for the proposed hall, drawn by Mr T. Clarke, were issued to the members of the Quarterly Board. Details of what was proposed were given and the meeting voted unanimously to proceed. The plans were duly submitted to the District Property Board & Connexional Property Board for approval. The Rank Trust was also approached for financial assistance.

By the end of 1980 a new and bigger hall development was being discussed. This suggestion initially came from the Connexional Property Board who felt consideration should be given to bigger premises than previously planned. In February 1981, new plans were put to the Quarterly Board, by Mr T. Clarke; these were for a much larger development which would be sited parallel to the church. It would be a hall approximately 48 feet by 27 feet and it would link to the church via a hallway. The building would consist

of a working kitchen, committee room, vestry, toilets and entrance porch.

The representative of the Connexional Property Board at this meeting was Mr T. Ferguson. Addressing the meeting he explained their idea of thinking "bigger and better". He said that the fact that we do not see the hall being utilised seven nights a week in the immediate future should not prevent us from taking a step in faith. We cannot appreciate the potential of such a property until we have it.

At the end of the evening the proposal to take on this much bigger venture was passed by the Quarterly Board.

By December 1981, with approval and grant aid forthcoming from both the Connexional Property Board and the Rank Trust, the way was clear to proceed.

On September 17th 1983, the new hall was opened by Mr Jack Mayes and the service of dedication was conducted by the Chairman of the Portadown District, Rev. H. Plunkett, who gave a most inspiring address. The offering at the occasion rose to ?4000 and sincere gratitude was expressed to all for their generosity. As Mr Ferguson had anticipated, the hall development, gave a new dimension to the life of Craigmore Church and many new societies and clubs were to emerge.


Dr Stephen Gilbert, who had been teaching Sunday School at Craigmore since 1976, became superintendent of the Sunday School.


In 1983, a Y.W.A. was formed in Craigmore. Initial membership was 14 women. The first meeting was held in September of 1983.

In 1983 also a badminton club was established in the new church hall. The first meeting was presided over by the Rev. A. Hassard. Mr Alan Ross was nominated as captain and Mrs Sarah Scandrett was made treasurer. The initial club had 25 members. In 1984, a

junior badminton club was established with a membership of 14 young people. Both clubs affiliated to the Ballinderry League, the senior club playing in division 8 initially while the young people played in the Ballinderry Juvenille League. In 1986 the club played in division 6 of the league and were winners of the division for that year.


Mr Thomas Clarke was accredited as a fully qualified local preacher.


Mr Jack Mayes passed home to God on the 21st April 1985. At his funeral service, Rev. A. Hassard noted the special fondness Mr Mayes had had for Craigmore Church. He was a companion and friend to all its members and a tower of strength to the many ministers who served in the area. He had held the office of Circuit Steward for many years and served on the Portadown Synod. An obituary in the 'Methodist Newsletter' June 1985 described him as a 'caring, deep thinking Christian gentleman' and it was with great sadness that Craigmore learnt of his passing.

Youth Club and Youth Fellowship

In 1985, a Youth Club and Youth Fellowship were established in Craigmore under the leadership of Mr Graham McRoberts. The club was held on Friday evenings and the Youth Fellowship on Sunday evenings. All young people from the area were made very welcome.

In 1988, it was decided to combine with Soldierstown Church of Ireland young people and have a 'camp' at Castlewellan Castle during the Easter break. In the following two years 1989 and 1990 return visits were made by the young people, for an Easter weekend of fellowship and fun.


Mrs Alma Rea retired after 23 years as an honorary organist in Craigmore.

Fair Day -1987

The Youth Club held a Fair Day which involved members from both societies, Glenavy and Craigmore. It was also open to local interest.

Circuit Changes -1988

Rev. A. Hassard reported on the proposed circuit re-alignment and indicated that the existing three circuits involved (Banbridge, Moira/Donacloney, Glenavy/Craigmore) had confirmed their willingness to proceed with the proposal to merge, forming two new circuits. The District Home Mission Committee had considered these replies and had recommended to the forthcoming Synod that the re-alignment should take place. Subject to approval by both Synod and Conference the realignment would come into being in July 1988.

In June 1988, Rev. A. Hassard reminded the meeting that it was in fact the last meeting of the Glenavy & Craigmore Quarterly Board. The next Quarterly Board would be of Moira, Glenavy, Craigmore & Maghaberry. He reminded the meeting that in its brief history (1969-1989) it had made considerable progress and he wished the new circuit every blessing in its future.


New International Bibles were placed in the pews in Craigmore.

Go For Ghana - 1990

In 1990, Mr Norman McRoberts took part in the 'Go for Ghana' mission.


A baptismal font was donated to the church in memory of Mr Rea Clarke. Mr Clarke had been Sunday School Superintendent from 1956 until 1972, just shortly before his death. The dedication took place on the Sunday before Christmas. During the service, the baptism was also performed of Ross Jonathan Timothy Clarke, grandson of the late Rea Clarke and son of Mr & Mrs Thomas Clarke.

In 1991 a less formal time of praise was established during morning worship. This involved the use of praise books such as 'Mission Praise' and 'Spring Harvest'. The worship was to be led by lay members of the congregation and other forms of musical accompaniment were to be used.

A Barn Dance was held in Craigmore Hall, the proceeds of which, ?606.31, were given to aid work with Romanian orphans.


In 1992, Mrs Lily Hendron relinquished her role as Benevolent Fund Secretary after many years of faithful service. Mrs Averil Harte succeeded Mrs Hendron as secretary.


The leaders' board decided to adopt Hymns & Psalms as the new hymn book for worship in Craigmore.

In 1993, Rev W. Lavery expressed a desire to re-start the class system in Craigmore.

Hall Extension

Late in 1991, the Craigmore leaders reported to the Quarterly Board that a need had arisen for more storage space in Craigmore Hall. It was also suggested that a new room added on to the premises would serve the dual purpose of a coffee bar area and a meeting area. Permission was given by the Quarterly Board to pursue the matter.

Plans, drawn by Mr Thomas Clarke, were viewed by the leaders of Craigmore early in 1992. These were duly approved and processes were set in motion to gain permission to build from the appropriate church authorities.

By May 1993, permission had been gained and a tender for the building of the extension was accepted. Work was to begin as soon as possible. In the summer of 1993 the initial plans were in fact again added to, to maximise the use of the upstairs floor area.

In September 1993, the Quarterly Board minutes noted the hall extension had been completed. A special service of praise and dedication took place on October 2nd at 8.00 p.m., and the speaker was the Rev. Ken Todd, who was then Chairman of the Portadown District.

The hall extension was officially opened by Mrs Olive Gilbert, a senior member of the Craigmore congregation.


A congregational evening was held in April 1994; the object of this evening was to present reports on the many aspects of life at Craigmore. Reports were given by the Youth Club and Youth Fellowship leaders, the leaders of the prayer meeting, the Sunday School Superintendent, leaders from the MWA & YWA, as well as from the Badminton Club. The Craigmore choir sang at the event. A brief outline was also given at the meeting of the plans to celebrate Craigmore's 150th anniversary.

In June 1994, the annual Fair Day was held. The event raised ?160 for the Romanian Appeal Fund.

Also in June 1994, Mr Ross Harte was commissioned for the Team on Mission for 1994/95.

Mr Harold Wilson took over from Mr Graham McRoberts as leader of the Youth Fellowship, in September 1994.

Sunday School

Currently there are three Sunday School classes; juniors, primaries and a Bible class with about 20 children in total. A small rota exists to ensure that teachers have the opportunity to join in the morning worship whilst Sunday School is taking place. An important part of the Sunday School year has always been the special services which take place just before the Christmas and summer holiday breaks. Whilst needing a lot of hard work by the children, these services are a worthwhile witness and a good way to finish the main teaching terms.

It is recognised that the Sunday School work is only one small aspect of the process of shaping a child's life and maintaining the link with the young people through the Youth Club and Youth Fellowship is seen as an integral and vital part of that process.

Conference -1995

At the Methodist Conference, held in Knock Methodist Church, Belfast, Mr Thomas Clarke was commissioned as a probationer minister for the local non-stipendiary ministry. The Rev. T. Clarke is presently stationed at the Belfast Central Mission Circuit and based at the Grosvenor Hall, in Belfast. The link has again been re-established, therefore, between 'Craigmore' and the Belfast Central Mission.

150th Anniversary

At a leaders' meeting, held in December 1993, it was noted that in just a short time (1995) Craigmore would be celebrating its 150th anniversary. A special event such as a flower festival was suggested. This idea was worked on and the event was duly organised for the Harvest week-end 1995.

During the year other events were also held, including a mission led by Edgehill students in September and a visit from Team on Mission, in June. This year is a year of celebration in which Craigmore people can look back and thank God for his faithfulness in the past. It is also a time , however, as it is for all Christians everywhere, to offer our services anew to the work of Christ in the closing days of the twentieth century and beyond, wherever He has placed us to serve Him.

MINISTERS 1945-1995

The following obituaries are taken from the official records in the Minutes of Conference.

Rev. John Glass

John Glass was born at Tamlaght, Rasharkin, Co. Antrim in 1894. He entered our ministry in 1920 and travelled the following circuits: Abbeyleix, Enniskillen, Londonderry City Mission, Belfast (Donegal) Rd), Drumshanbo, Banbridge, Belfast (Ligoniel), Ballynahinch, Ballinamallard, Moira, Lurgan (High St) and Moville. Possessed of a penetrating mind he read widely and thought deeply. He was a keen student of Methodist doctrine. He always sought to relate the message of the Gospel to social conditions. He served as District Secretary in a number of departments of the church. Among his interests was the Christian Endeavour movement and he was elected President of its Irish Union in 195556. Mr Glass passed into the presence of the Lord on October 23rd 1956 in the sixty third year of his age and the thirty seventh year of his ministry.

Rev. William Edward Cullen

Rev. William Edward Cullen was born on the 4th June 1903 in Ballynahinch, Co. Down. He was a son of the manse and by the age of 5 he had told his mother that he loved Jesus and that he wanted to be a Methodist Minister. This sense of call remained with him. His education took place at Methodist College, Belfast and after this he spent some time as a Circuit Evangelist. In 1924 he was accepted as a candidate for the ministry and sent as a pre-collegiate probationer to Londonderry City Mission. He then went on to Edgehill for his theological training. Here he developed a life long love of Greek and Hebrew. During his years as a student he graduated from Queen's University Belfast. In 1928 he was appointed to Clonliffe (Dublin). Following this he volunteered for overseas work and was appointed in 1929 to the Gold Coast (now called Ghana) where he was vice-principal in Mfantsipim School. Afterwards he went to Wesley College, Kumasi in the Cape Coast area where he taught ministerial students and catechists. He returned to Ireland in 1936. Initially he served in Skibbereen, followed by Wicklow and Ligoniel and then he came to the Moira Circuit. Mr Cullen spent 3 years in charge of the Moira Circuit (1950-1953). Leaving Moira he went to Ardara, Cullybackey and Downpatrick. In 1967 Mr Cullen retired from the active ministry. He made the Lisburn Circuit his place of retirement. During his life time Mr Cullen always gave over time to serious study and maintained his love of reading. For some years he shared the teaching of Church history in Edgehill College. His sermon preparation was always meticulous and he laid great emphasis on pulpit presentation and appearance. In failing health, Mr Cullen died peacefully on November 23rd 1993 in his 91st year and the 67th year of ministry.

Rev. William Dale

William Dale was born in Magherafelt in 1902. After some years in business, he went to Cliff College for preparatory training for the ministry. He returned to Belfast and became an evangelist on the Sandy Row Circuit. Accepted as a candidate for the ministry in 1927, he was sent to the Londonderry City Mission. After training in Edgehill Theological College he served in Culdaff, Beragh, Ballintra, Donacloney, Irvinestown, Ballyclare, Moira, Shankill Rd, Belfast, and Antrim. He was a good pastor with a gift for friendship. His work as hospital Chaplain won wide appreciation. He was a man of deep devotion. His preaching was always evangelical and he introduced many to the Saviour. He served as Secretary of the Enniskillen and Clones District Synod. He expected to retire at the Conference of 1967, but after a severe heart attack on the morning of December 3rd, 1966, he passed home to God in the sixty fifth year of his age and the thirty eighth year of his ministry.

Rev. William J. Carson

The Rev. William J. Carson served in several circuits in Ireland. He later emigrated to Canada where he died a few years ago.

Rev. W. A. Warren

Rev. William A. Warren was born on the 27th October 1904 in Tullamore. Under the gracious influence of his home he early dedicated his life to Christ and to Missionary service. He attended Methodist College, Belfast and the Queen's University Belfast, where he took his B.Sc. He then spent two years on the staff of Mfantsipim Boys' Secondary School, Ghana. Following, this he returned to England and to Cambridge where he took his B.A. in Theology. He returned to Mfantsipim in 1933 and gave another 10 years of service and became Principal of the school. He returned to Ireland in 1943 and served in Ballineen, Youghal, Tandragee and Pettigo. He then again offered himself for overseas work and went to work in the Leeward Islands. He came back to Ireland in 1960 and his first circuit on return was the Moira Circuit. He was Superintendent of the Moira Circuit from 1960-1964. He then moved to Downpatrick. In 1969 he retired from the active ministry and went to live in Bangor. His whole life was characterised by a spirit of loving humility and complete dedication. He was a teacher and a preacher and he excelled in pastoral care. One of his pupils was later to serve as the Prime Minister of Ghana. Having only retired a few months he fell ill and on 20th March 1970 he passed home to God in the 66th year of his age and the 41st year of his ministry.

Rev. William Sidney Deale

Rev. William Sidney Deale was born at the Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, on the 23rd June 1903. A son of the manse, early in life through the influence of his home, he accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. At the Conference of 1925 he was received as a candidate for the ministry and appointed to Enniscorthy and later to Moy. After training in Edgehill College he served in Portstewart,


Aughnacloy, Ballinamallard, Newcastle, Wicklow and Moira. His special gifts and graces enabled him to exercise a wide and fruitful ministry. He was endowed with a lively sense of humour and musical gifts which he used to the glory of God. He was an effective evangelist and led many into vital fellowship with the Saviour and into membership of the church. His life was rooted in God and the evangelical truths of the Gospel and from these he drew his strength, serenity and peace. He retired from the active ministry in 1968 and went to reside in Bangor, where in the latter years he shared the life and friendship of his brother-in-law, Rev. Hugh Allen, whom he pre-deceased by only 2 months.

Rev. J. B. Turner

Rev. James Bernard Turner was born in Cork City on 23rd April 1910. As a young man he committed his life to Christ. After a period in the insurance industry he felt a sense of call to the ministry and offered himself as a candidate to the Methodist Church in 1934. His training took place in Edgehill College, Belfast. He was ordained in 1940 and his first appointment was to Dungarvan (Waterford) and then followed Collooney (Sligo), University Road (Belfast), Dunmanway, Birr, Ballintra, Knock, Dundonald, Seymour Hill (Lisburn), and penultimately, Glenavy where he was the first Superintendent minister of the newly formed Glenavy, Craigmore Circuit. His final stationing was to Newry. In 1975 he retired from the active ministry and resided in Lisburn His ministry reflected a desire which he strongly held, that commitment to Christ was both an intellectual and an emotional one. He read widely and thought deeply. He was viewed by all in the Connexion as a man of great integrity. He was a thoughtful preacher and endeared himself to his people as a pastor. His administrative gifts enabled him to serve as Synod secretary of 3 different Districts, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Tullamore & Sligo, and as Chairman of the Portadown District.

Rev. J. B. Turner died after a long illness in his 83rd year on the 10th April 1993. It was the 65th year of his ministry.

Three of our former superintendents are now enjoying retirement.

Rev. Edwin M. Colvin

Rev. Edwin M. Colvin retired from the active ministry in 1985. As well as serving the Methodist Church on numerous stations throughout Ireland he also served the Connexion as a District Stationer as well as on the Council on Social Welfare. At the time of his retirement the Minutes of Conference commented on his diligent and faithful pastoral skills as well as his fervent preaching of the gospel.

Rev. A. G. Hanna

Rev. A. G. HannaRev. A. G. Hanna retired from the active service at the end of his time spent on ;the Glenavy & Craigmore Circuit. He had been in the ministry for a total of 39 years. The 'Minutes of Conference' noted at the time the following tribute:

'He has brought a penetrating mind and a dedicated spirit to his pulpit and pastoral ministry in town and country circuits. Devoted to his people's needs he has exercised a courageous ministry of reconciliation in these troubled years.

Mr Hanna retired to the Lisburn Circuit with his wife Doreen.

Rev. A. N. Hassard

The Rev. A. N. Hassard The Rev. A. N. Hassard served on the Glenavy & Craigmore Circuit at a time when a lot of very positive changes were taking place in Craigmore Church. He presided over the development of the new church hall with meticulous care and enthusiasm. During his ministry in Craigmore many of the present day activities were started, these include the Youth Club, Youth Fellowship, Y.W.A. and Badminton Club. It was with the assurance of the support and encouragement of Mr Hassard that the leaders involved were able to undertake these new ventures. Mr Hassard retired from the active ministry in 1992 and the 'Minutes of Conference' stated at the time of his retirement:

'His pulpit ministry has been marked by careful and meticulous preparation leading to meaningful and helpful worship, and his pastoral care is remembered with great gratitude'.

The Rev. A. Hassard retired to the Lisburn Circuit, where he lives with his wife, Joan, and son, Desmond.

Rev. John Wilkinson retired from the ministry and as Superintendent of the Glenavy and Moira Circuit in June 1993. Sadly, he died the following March. An obituary in the Methodist Newsletter stated:

Rev. John Wilkinson

Rev. John WilkinsonRev. John Wilkinson was born on March 2nd 1929. He attended the Grosvenor Hall as a boy and at an early age responded to the claims of Christ on his life. On leaving school he became a joiner by trade. He felt the call of God to full-time service and in 1954 went as a Lay Evangelist to serve on the Fivemiletown Circuit. In 1956 he was accepted as a Candidate for the ministry and appointed to the Londonderry City Mission, where he served for 2 years before entering Edgehill College in 1958. On leaving College in 1960 he was appointed to the Maryborough and Portarlington Circuit and thereafter to Carrickfergus. Carlow Circuit (Athy), Springfield and Churchill, Greencastle, Queen's Parade. Bangor and finally to Glenavy & Moira from which he retired in 1993. Sadly, after only a brief period of retirement, in Moira. Mr Wilkinson passed home to God on March 18th, 1994.

The Rev. J. Wilkinson is fondly remembered by all the members of the circuit as well as in the wider connexion as a devoted pastor and a faithful preacher. His work as a prison chaplain was much appreciated and a message from the prisoners at Maghaberry was read out at the funeral service. His quiet gentle ministry and gift for friendship endeared him to all who knew him and for many years he was a great encourager in the service of the Lord. His musical talent and interest in church music and hymnody brought enrichment to congregational music.

Rev. W. LaveryOur present superintendent is the Rev. W. Lavery. Rev. W. Lavery Rev. W. Lavery came to the Moira Circuit from Mountpottinger, in 1993. Mr Lavery trained in Edgehill College, Belfast from 196568, following which he was stationed in Enniskillen. Successive stations included Cranagill. (1970-1973) Pettigo and Beleek, (1973-1975) Aughnacloy, (1975-1981) Shankill Team Mission, (1981-1985) Mountpottinger, (1985-1993). Mr Lavery is married to Valerie and has two children, Keith and Alison.