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A Place of Worship
Banbridge Road Presbyterian church




The Organizations 1946 � end of June 1988


Foundation members of the P. W. A. at their 21st Anniversary Dinner. Back row:� Mrs. T. Montgomery, Miss M. Nichol (special guest), Mrs. H. Coulter, Mrs. A. Jones, Mrs. F. Rogan. Front row:� Mrs. McCormick, Mrs. M. Miskimmins, Mrs. E. Moore, Mrs. M. Duffy and Mrs. R. Jones.

The year 1949 not only saw the introduction of the uniformed youth organizations, the G.B. and the B.B., but also the founding of the Women's Missionary Association, the W.M.A. (the name was changed in the autumn of 1971 to the Presbyterian Women's Association). Mrs. Moore with the support of a number of ladies held a meeting on 10th of January 1949 to assess the possibility of having a branch. It was agreed to commence a branch and that it should be a non-working association. The first office bearers were elected:�

President�Mrs. H. R. Moore
Vice-President�Mrs. S. J. Duffy
Secretary�Mrs. F. Jones
Treasurer�Mrs. W. Copeland

Committee Members�Mrs. S. Silcock, Mrs. T. Hutchinson, Mrs. R. Rogan, Mrs. Bryson, Mrs. W. Miskimmins, Mrs. C. McCormick, Mrs. T. Montgomery, Mrs. T. Kerr, Mrs. S. Thompson, Mrs. D. Brown, Mrs. W. Coulter.

Sunshine bagMrs. Moore informed the members that the G.A. had arranged a `Guest Tea' for the 17th February and that she would like them to help. This was agreed and thus the Association was committed to its first fund raising experience. At the second meeting Mrs. Moore said she was very disappointed with the attendance and she asked those present to make an effort to bring others, as she wanted the Association to be a success. The ladies promised to try and interest others. They were successful, for, from then on the branch never faltered, and as the record shows no band of ladies could have done more for a congregation which needed very large sums of money raised and collected in the next 30 years. In spite of the congregational demands for money the W.M.A. never forgot its primary objective � the support of missions, and so missionary boxes were distributed at its third meeting.

It was at the next meeting that it was decided to put flowers on the Communion Table in vases presented by G.A. and the members, together with others, agreed to take it in turn. Thus began the flowers on the Communion Table tradition. That summer the first bus tour was held. The Glens of Antrim were visited�the bus cost �16 and the meal 5 shillings (25 pence) each. When the autumn of that first year came it was decided to change to a working association and the members were informed as to what kind of clothes would be of value to the missions. There was a good response, both of garments and in the mission boxes.

The Rev. Moore paid the association a visit in April 1950 to inform them about the Church Building Fund. He said he had visited all the homes in this connection and that there were many who wished to give monthly and to have their subscription collected. The members agreed to collect the various districts and to keep a record. This was the first of a number of such schemes, the ladies playing an important part in all of them.

The first meeting to which visitors were invited was held on the 13th November, 1950, when over 70 members from Lurgan, Hillsborough, Magherally and First Dromore were present.The first W.M.A. service was held on 2nd December 1952. Mrs. Moore read the lesson and introduced the speaker; the Rev. R. S. Dickey, a missionary in Rajkot, home on furlough. Early in the organization's history, a pattern was formed which has thus been maintained over the years. Catering for the Annual Congregational Social evening became part of the Association's responsibility; from time to time other ladies of the congregation were asked to help.

Every year the members devised new ways of raising money for the building projects and their own missions. There were sales of work, sales of cakes, and bring and buy sales. There were choir concerts, sacred concerts and just concerts. There were teas�Guest teas, Daffodil teas and Harvest teas. There were quizzes, question times, treasure hunts, a cook book in 1957, which proved popular, and there were the Sunshine Bags (see photograph). For a number of years these were distributed to all the members of the congregation. The idea was to drop a penny in every sunny day. There were of course the few who objected, one farmer for instance said that every summer they were distributed was a wet summer�he blamed the bad weather on the Sunshine Bag!!. The Christmas sale developed over the years until it became a major event attracting large numbers of people and Santa Claus made it a must for the children.

In all their activities the members never overlooked their objective�the support of missions and in the seventies and early eighties again and again the Banbridge Road Association was mentioned in the Presbytery report for its generosity. One example of the caring aspect of the branch was the introduction of a social afternoon meeting for senior citizens. Those unable to walk were brought in cars to the Minor Hall where they had afternoon tea and a chat, after which some local artistes gave a short programme of entertainment. This continued for a number of years until the Clinic was opened and provided a similar service.

While the members of the P.W.A. enjoyed all their monthly meetings as the attendances indicated, it would be true to say that one of the most enjoyable was always the Committee Night. On that night the ladies of the committee which was voted in each year provided the entertainment. Their skits, their sketches, their monologues, their songs, and local jokes made for a very happy evening.

Several times blankets and medical supplies were gathered and sent directly to disaster areas as in 1975 when severe floods affected Southern Romania.

The annual dinner was always a happy social evening. There were several special occasions, for instance the Dinner to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the founding of the Association. Mrs. Moore was presented with a gift to mark the occasion and in appreciation of 25 years of leadership. Other foundation members who were acknowledged were: Mrs. S. J. Duffy, Mrs. D. Black, Mrs. W. Miskimmins, Mrs. C. McCormick and Mrs. G. Wilson.

Mrs. Margaret McCord, vice president of the P.W.A., paid this tribute to Mrs. Moore at the `farewell' presentation. "It is my pleasant task this evening to pay tribute to Mrs. Moore as President of the P.W.A. Away back in 1948 Mrs. Moore was encouraged to start a branch of what was called in those days the W.M.A. So on Monday the 10th January 1949 a meeting was called and a branch was formed. That was more than 35 years ago. The object of the association was to unite the women of the Church in dedication and to encourage them to share in the mission of the Church at home and overseas and to participate in the work by their gifts and prayers. Mrs. Moore over the years has been our example in this, a dedicated President. She has participated enthusiastically in all the meetings and the work of our branch. She has always set us a very high standard..

"Mrs. Moore, you will always be remembered by us in different ways as a loyal and dedicated President

The present office bearers are:-

President � Mrs. M. Boyd. Vice-President � Mrs. M. McCord. Secretary � Mrs. M. Walker. Treasurer � Mrs. Anna Walker (now in her 18th year).


The inaugural meeting of the Young Wives' Association was held on Thursday, 30th November, 1967. It was formed at the request of a number of young wives who felt that there was a genuine need for a junior association to the W.M.A. The Rev. Moore, who was present, welcomed those who had come and wished the Association success. Mrs Moore, who had been promoting such an association for some time, outlined the objectives and after a general discussion it was decided that the membership would be for those under 40. It was hoped that at that age the members would move up to the W.M.A. Age can be an embarrassing matter and this, as in most other groups never worked out in practice. At the opening meeting Mrs. Ann Poots gave a demonstration of Christmas decorations. The following office-bearers were elected � Mrs E. Moore (President), Mrs E. McDonald (Vice-President), Mrs A. Williams (Secretary), Mrs G. Miskimmins (Treasurer). The Committee members were Mrs M. Reid, Mrs A. Pepper, Mrs M. Wilkinson, Mrs M. Adair.

Right from the beginning there was considerable support. Within a year the name of the Association was changed to the Young Women's Group to enable those young women who were unmarried to join. Over the years the minute books reveal that there were very interesting programmes with many highlights. The Group visited other similar groups and entertained in return. They supported various good causes and projects generously and were always mindful of the needs of the congregation at a time when large sums were needed for refurbishing.

At the social level an annual dinner has always been enjoyed, also on a number of years `Terry and Kenneth's', Treasure Hunt.

In 1979 the Group held a Candlelight Tea for the first time on the Sunday afternoon of the Christmas Carol Service. This proved so popular that it has been held ever since. The special offering was always allocated to some worthy cause � for instance the offering in 1987 was �215 and was given to the Northern Ireland Hospice. Over the years the Group has succeeded in enjoying their happy meetings and at the same time lending a helping hand to many special appeals. This in addition to their support of the two projects chosen annually by the Central Committee. Their record in the service of Christ and His needy children is worthy of praise.