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
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
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
'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'.
EARLY METHODISM NEAR CRAIGMORE
JOHN WESLEY'S VISITS
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
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 SHILLINGTON FAMILY AND
THE EARLY YEARS
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
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
"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
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
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
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
'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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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
A mission, conducted by two Methodist deaconesses,
was held at Craigmore. After the mission a C.E. group was started in
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
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.
The organists in Craigmore were noted as Miss A. Marshall and Miss
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
A special mission was to be held in Craigmore from the
21st November. The missioner in charge was to be Mr Silverwood.
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
At a Quarterly Board meeting held in January 1965, Mr
Mayes told the board that 'Craigmore' had been painted by the members of
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
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
These continued to be an event in the social calendar
of the 1960's. Recorded venues include Donacloney and Moira Parochial
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
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
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
In 1983, a Y.W.A. was formed in Craigmore. Initial
membership was 14 women. The first meeting was held in September of
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
Mr Thomas Clarke was accredited as a fully qualified
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
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
Go For Ghana - 1990
In 1990, Mr Norman McRoberts took part in the 'Go for
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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. 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
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
Rev. John Wilkinson
Rev. 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,
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
Our 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.