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
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.
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
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
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.
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
"Mrs. Moore, you will always be remembered by us in different ways as
a loyal and dedicated President
President � Mrs. M. Boyd.
Vice-President � Mrs. M. McCord.
Secretary � Mrs. M. Walker.
Treasurer � Mrs. Anna Walker
(now in her 18th year).
THE YOUNG WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION (YOUNG
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',
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.