|A Tale of Two Churches
by Peggy Bryson
Life is a book of volumes three.
St Mark's Church
This is a tale of two churches. 1992 is the centenary of the dedication of 'the old church on the hill' much loved by many of the older parishioners and the 25th anniversary of the Parish of St Mark, Ballymacash, becoming an independent cure. In 1975 the new church was built.
We do well to remember that the feast of the Dedication of a church is a Feast of the Lord and His people - not a celebration of a building. The Church is the Body of Christ, the New Israel, the people of God, people like you and me and not bricks and mortar.
Ballymacash is enriched by the publication of this booklet. As a result we are made more aware of our surroundings and the people whose fellowship in Christ we share and enjoy, the community in which we live and our fellow parishioners.
Many people greatly appreciate the atmosphere of the modern church building geared for liturgical renewal. History reminds us that the present has evolved through generations who worshipped in quite a different atmosphere of the nearby older church. However nothing stands still and change is a fact of life. Ballymacash has a past and a present. It also will have a future, under God, as we move into the 21st century and no doubt change will continue to be the order of the day.
I hope that all who read the Ballymacash Story will be inspired to a deeper sense of worship, witness and service in Christ who is the One who has brought together so many in this growing community.
A Tale of Two Churches
By happy coincidence the year 1992 marks two significant milestones in the history of St Mark's, Ballymacash - the centenary of the original St Mark's Church on the Nettlehill Road and the 25th anniversary of the district of Ballymacash being raised to the status of a separate parish.
Mr Brian Kelly has made a very personal and profound. contribution to the celebration of these anniversaries in producing this booklet which represents many months of careful research. It is the inspiring story of the parishioners' spiritual commitment, generosity and sustained effort, and one which will bring encouragement to those privileged to be part of that same continuing story today.
I commend this booklet with the hope that it may not only interest you, but that you may be inspired by the record of the zeal, devotion and self-sacrifice of past generations. I trust that our thankfulness for the heritage we have received will be accompanied by a strengthening of our loyalty to Christ and a faithful stewardship of the resources entrusted to us.
W. G. Irwin, Rector
Born out of the ancient Parish of Derriaghy founded on a site which dates back to AD 1444 and the Chapel of Air ear a chaid, the area of Ballymacash served by St Mark's and its history, is to all intents and purposes a reflection or mirror image of the town of Lisburn over the past century, growing much in step with the developments of the town itself and on a scale which few would have believed possible a hundred years ago.
Although Lisburn was recognised as one of the most prosperous towns in the province at the turn of the century, it has without doubt maintained its stature as the dawning of a new century approaches with major international retailers acknowledging its potential and setting up an operation in the town.
Situated in the southern part of the Parish of Derriaghy which was bounded on the south-east by the Lagan Canal, the area developed at a rate which placed considerable pressure on the accommodation which was available in the Ballymacash area. The speed at which these developments were taking place can be appropriately described in the conversation which Rev Mervyn McCullagh, the district's first curate assistant had with a local resident when he arrived. He enquired as to the name of the particular new housing estate. "I'm sorry but we haven't given it one yet!" came the reply. And the main road? asked the curate assistant. "Oh that hasn't been named either! "
To fully appreciate, however, the extent to which the area has changed over the past century one must first acknowledge the part which Canon Joseph Atkinson Stewart played with over fifty years of devotion to the Church in the Parish of Derriaghy. He was responsible for the building of the Chapel of Ease in Ballymacash in 1892 having earlier provided substantial financial support to the Mission Hall in which services had previously been held.
Canon Stewart moved from Pond Park House to Killowen House (now better known as Killowen Hospital) on the Ballymacash Road. He provided employment for a great many people resident in the immediate locality and it would be fair to suggest that there were very few who worked in the district who did not have some connections with the House at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century.
A curate in Derriaghy from 1862-63 he returned in 1866 for a second stint remaining until 1915. He was appointed Canon of Kilroot in 1908 and was the son of Rev Henry Stewart, Rector of Derriaghy who died in 1872.
Understandably a very popular figure in the area he was surprisingly never to hold the post of rector of his much loved Parish of Derriaghy and at one point it would appear that a split developed within the Parish when he wasn't appointed. For a handbill was distributed in the parish informing them of a public meeting in Stoneyford Church on Monday 27 May 1872. Those present resolved to
The Parish has grown at a dramatic rate is perhaps an understatement. From the old Church on the hill dedicated in 1892 and serving a few well scattered houses in what was a decidedly rural community. Some fifty years earlier it should be recalled there were reportedly only 1071 houses in the town of Lisburn which had a population of 7,524.
The original building was dedicated for Divine Worship as a Chapel of Ease by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese Rev Thos I Welland on 5 April 1892 to accommodate around one hundred worshipper in this particular district of Derriaghy Parish, and to replace the Ballymacash Mission in which regular services had been held.
Built on Nettle Hill, the Chapel of Ease was of a rectangular shape. The pulpit, acquired from Stoneyford Church, was presented to the Chapel by Mr Stewart in 1900. This required slight alteration in order to suit the Chapel. The font of neat pine wood was purchased by Rev Stewart from Scott & Co of Dublin. This was later replaced in January 1948 by a font of freestone resting on a wooden stand. This font was sited at the front of the Church on the east side beside the choir stalls. The seating in the old church was of pitch pine and presented by R Brown.
The first Sunday service was held on 10 April 1892 with Rev W Riddell the preacher in the morning and the Rev Joseph A Stewart the preacher in the evening. The Church was, however, closed for repairs for a period at the turn of the century and at the re-opening service on 19 October 1902 when Rev Riddell was again the preacher, Rev Stewart read a document from the Lord Bishop appointing and authorizing 'that henceforth this said building should be designated the Church of St Mark in the Parish of Derriaghy'.
Although a curate in Derriaghy from 1894-1897 with more responsibility for Colin than with Ballymacash, Rev WS Packenham later recalled that services at St Mark's were always 'well attended and singing was always hearty and the religious spirit deep and vital.'
Painted and repaired in 1920 the church was to be further extended in 1954 and consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Connor Dr Charles King Irwin on 15 September 1954. The address was given by Canon CJ McLeod, Rector of Christ Church. Before the service Clergy walked in procession to the Church and were received at the entrance by the incumbent Rev PAG Sheppard and churchwardens W Glover and J McKinstry.
The Bishop's staff was carried by the Rev RC Ellis Rector of St Colman's, Derriaghy. The extension fund had only begun two years previously. The nave was effectively doubled in length, the vestry increase in size, sanctuary enlarged and tower erected over the old porch at the west end. The sum of £200 was apparently sufficient to erect the old building whereas £2936 was to be spent on the construction of the extension!
The old St Mark's Parish Hall is now a small shopping precinct with a general store, hairdressing salon and chip shop. The building was originally built in 1790 and reconstructed in 1833 by Edward Johnson. Used as a School House until the completion of the Ballymacash Primary School in 1932 when it was returned to the Parish, presented by Miss MEK Johnson. Miss Johnson, patron of Ballymacash School transferred the school and grounds to the Diocesan Board of Education around 1920. The Hall was extended around 1950 with a substantial stage erected, committee room built behind the stage while kitchens and toilets were added later. The extension depended on voluntary labour at a cost of around £800.
St Mark's though has in more recent times served a more densely populated area. The district of Ballymacash was recognised as a Parish in its own right in January 1967 ... becoming a full incumbency on 1 January 1970 ... to one appointing its first rector Rev TWW Jones, installed on 5 March 1970.
In terms of families the growth can be shown when it was estimated that there were no more than 120-130 families in the district associated with St Mark's in the Fifties and early Sixties while this jumped to upwards of 400 in 1974, increasing to 465 when it became an incumbency. Today the figure stands at around 630 families.
Before approval for a much needed curate assistant was granted there had been established a close link with Stoneyford Parish. Rev F Graham was appointed as minister in charge of Stoneyford and curate assistant of the temporary grouping of Ballymacash and Stoneyford Parishes and he was of considerable support particularly during the periods when Rev Jones was unable to fulfil his duties with his normal enthusiasm due to illness. It was later agreed that a full-time curate assistant could be appointed and Rev Mervyn McCullagh (1983-85), Rev Paul Hewitt (1986-89) and more recently Rev Tom Gordon (1989-date) have each made a considerable impact during their albeit short ministries with us.
The forethought and energies of the parishioners cannot have been underestimated throughout the past hundred years as they have shown outstanding enthusiasm in seeing their ideas through to fruition, at first with the church on the hill, through to its extension and consecration on 15 September 1954 to the mammoth undertaking the Select Vestry planned in terms of a new church and hall in the 1970s and then to the Canon Jones Hall which provided the much needed facilities of a Parish of this size in 1987.
The present Church and its facilities were required to meet the growng demands of the parishioners as the immediate area saw rapid growth and expansion with housing estates being built by both private and public bodies. However it must be fully realised that while many have come into the district over the past twenty-one years and set up home within the parish boundaries there has also been a significant number of people who have sadly left the parish to further their education and careers outside St Mark's and I am sure with the publication of this booklet covering principally the past 21 years that many of those who have remained in the Parish will be able to recollect the many characters who remain part of the history of the Parish.
Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of the Parish of St Mark at this point in time is the undoubted resolve, energy and leadership qualities of those who have been associated with the parish either its clergy, its organisations or its parishioners who have contributed so much by following and supporting the leadership which have taken so many important decisions over the past hundred years in order to secure the quality of worship in the Parish of St Mark in Ballymacash.
The words used by Rev TF Callan reproduced below are particularly appropriate in St Mark's at this time as we celebrate the 21st Anniversary of becoming a full incumbency. Next year will also see the Centenary of the dedication of the much loved Chapel of Ease and the 25th Anniversary of becoming an independent Parish.
"We cannot keep the names and personalities that we revere alive beyond the generation that knew them. What we can do is to make sure that the children of today and the children yet to be bored, shall be proud of their inheritance. We can teach that that the freedom into which and the supreme values of the way of life which is their birthright are there because of their forbearers"
Without the enthusiasm, vitality and commitment shown towards the Word of God in this district of Ballymacash the Parish which today is nigh on ?00 families strong could not have reached its present status. Today's Church and Halls are nothing more than a fine testimony to those who have participated in and contributed to St Mark's.
In order to set the scene for the Parish's expansion in the Seventies and Eighties we require to look back into the district's history and it is then relatively simple to realise that there was a firm basis on which the Parish could sustain a rapid influx of parishioners. During research for this historical base the editor found the period 1943-mid 50s particularly appropriate.
St Mark's Looks To The Future
At the 1943 Easter General Vestry held in the Old School House in Derriaghy the following reference was made to the recent death of Robert Brown of Pond Park:
"We have lost as a parish a diocesan synodsman, a parochial nominator and a member of the Select Vestry while St Mark's has lost a Chapelwarden, a member of the choir and its honorary treasure." Vicar Rev JG King recalled that in his predecessor's time Mr Brown had been given but a few hours to live by his doctors; which meant that all he has done in the last seven years had been carried out fighting bravely against the terrible disability and uncertainty of a very bad heart. Many a time walking to Lisburn to lodge the Church money he was to have to pause every few hundred yards to rest and regain his breath and strength.
The departure of Rev JL Spence to the Parish of Larne brought Rev SS Singer to Derriaghy and on account of being awarded the highest marks of the twelve deacons being ordained at St Anne's Cathedral on 11 July 1943 he was to read the Gospel at his ordination.
It was also a period when major re-organisation within the Church of Ireland was under consideration and in particular that of the advisability of providing a second Bishop for the Diocese of Down and Connor and Dromore in which roughly 50% of the population of the whole Church of Ireland is resident, while 50% is scattered over the twelve other Dioceses, each under the care of a Bishop. The matter was discussed at the Diocesan Synod in November 1943 and was later to see the the division of the Diocese into Connor and Down and Dromore.
Very much part of the Christmas celebrations within the Parish of Derriaghy at the time was that of the Services Christmas Gift Fund. Every service member of the armed forces within the Parish was sent a postal order for 5/- and a Christmas Card stamped 'Parish of Derriaghy' while a Red Cross Parcel was provided for each Prisoner of War. A Christmas cantata in 1944 featured the combined choirs of St Mark's and the Parish Church with soloists Misses Margaret and Jean Cairns and Messrs John Quinn and James Morrison.
It was reported at the Easter Vestry held in the Old School House on 6 April 1945 that the Church "has a major part to play in the aftermath of victory. The appeal, for example, of the open Sunday Cinema must be met and defeated on its own grounds and by a greater appeal."
Colours for the 1st Ballymacash Group of the Scouts were dedicated on 15 April 1945 while a Thanksgiving Service was held in both Churches to celebrate the cessation of hostilities in Europe. A warm welcome was extended by Vicar JG King to the returning prisoners of war and wallets of notes were presented to Leathern Fletcher of Nettle Hill and Frederick Heasley.
Frances Elizabeth Malcolm, a choir member of St Mark's was married in the Parish Church to Howard Rudolf Little of the United States Forces on June 11 1945. Helen Fenning on behalf of the choir made a presentation to the newly-weds on June 16 in the Parochial Hall, an occasion which was reportedly cut short because Mr Little had to leave early the next morning bound for France.
Mid-August saw Rev VS Dungan, who had been in charge of St Mark's appointed to the Parish of Killane, Co Wexford and when Rev SS Singer was to move to Downpatrick, Vicar King was to be assisted by Rev CK McLeod, Rector of Christ Church and Rev WJR Benson, Rector of St Mary Magdalene. It was reported that six members of the Richardson family - Noreen, Edith, Willie, Walter and Irene -had not missed a single Sunday, a remarkable achievement and certainly one worthy of mention.
A measure of this particular period in the history of the Ballymacash district, still under the umbrella of the Parish of Derriaghy, was the vicar had to visit a dozen different bookshops to purchase eight copies of a certain Bible. These were only obtained by visiting four branches of a particular shop, two on the Shankill Road, one in Sandy Row and one here in Lisburn.
The Church of Ireland Monthly which was to be found inside the Parish magazine was full of interesting facts, figures and articles of which I believe it might be interesting to resurrect and it would probably prove that very little has changed! Three such articles were entitled The Northern Education Bill (July 1945), Protestantism and Population (November 1945) and North of The Border (1947).
During 1947 parishioners of St Mark's had been devoting themselves to raising funds for the Bishop's Church Extension Fund in addition to their own Church and Hall Restoration Fund. The Annual Sale at St Mark's, opened by Mrs McLoughlin, virtually doubled the previous year's effort with £110 raised. It was agreed that almost half of the total should be given to the Sunday School Fund - already St Mark's was the largest in the Parish of Derriaghy - while £55 was to be allocated to the extension of the St Mark's Parochial Hall.
Early in 1949 the Ballymacash Orange Hall and Parish Hall were filled to capacity for an event which was to become very much a feature of future fund-raising events not to mention becoming part and parcel of the fellowship of the Parish. For it was the first attempt by Rev Musgrave. (ably assisted by Ken Levis) to produce 'The Flight' a story of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt) presented by the Youth Guild.
While the interior decoration of St Mark's Church was taking place in May divine services were held in the Parochial Hall.
Rev King returned to the Parish for the Re-Opening Service on Friday 10 June 1949 and preached on "the unswerving loyalty of the past and present members of the Church, of their zeal for missionary work and the fellowship within the Church." The cost of re-decorating and painting the interior of the Church was £72, this sum being donated by the Select Vestry while the cost of the external paintwork, new carpet and window blinds came to over £40.
Mr and Mrs McLoughlin presented a beautiful cloth for the Holy Communion Table, tastefully fitted by Miss McClure. A permit was procured for the extension of the Parochial Hall to be built by John McCall during July and August at a cost of £650. Whilst additional money would be required for heating and lighting a balance of £250 was set as the target for St Mark's to raise. June 19 saw the 400th Anniversary of the compilation of the Book of Common Prayer with Rev TNDC Salmon preaching in St Mark's.
The new extension to the Parochial Hall was officially opened on September 14 by Sir J Milne Barbour. A total of £226 was raised at a sale of work which featured such side shows as Mr Frew's Pets Corner and half-hour concerts by the Youth Guild.
March 1951 saw the departure of Rev JR Musgrave to the incumbency of Duneane and Ballyscullion, a country Parish with two Churches. The Vicar Rev PAG Sheppard reported that he was probably the first curate of Derriaghy to be appointed straight from Derriaghy to a parish of his own in this Diocese. During the past five years Rev Sheppard said that his soon to depart colleague had shown untiring energy, devoted loyalty, genius for organising and leaves in his own area of Ballymacash a thriving Church community centred around the little Church of St Mark.
He would be remembered affectionately for his work in extending the Parochial Hall. He also hoped that the Youth Guild which he had been responsible for establishing would make full use o this new facility. Vicar Rev Sheppard presented to Rev Musgrave a wallet containing £70 and an envelop with £20 towards the procuring of his MA degree and hood while Rev Musgrave's successor was to be Rev B Campion.
After preaching his first sermon on June 3 in the Parish Church the Rev Campion's stay in Derriaghy and Ballymacash was to be a brief one as he was to accept a curacy in charge of Preban and Moyne shortly after the death of his father.
The most successful year St Mark's Youth Guild had enjoyed since its inception was rounded off with a presentation to their founder and former chairman Rev Musgrave at the annual concert produced again by Ken Levis who was also presented with an inscribed cigarette case by Beth Richardson on behalf of the Youth Guild. The help of Miss Balmer, Miss Lovey and Messrs Higginson, Addis, Reid, Jamison and Ingram was also acknowledged.
A further £270 was raised for the Hall Fund bringing the grand total of over £500 to the Fund since 1947 and the Youth Guild were certainly seen to be fulfilling their motto 'Vision, Fellowship and service'. Beth Richardson was elected secretary of the Group with Maureen Abbott treasurer while Wilma Richardson, Jean Malcolm, Joe McKnight and James Gamble were duly elected to the committee with Ken Levis continuing as Leader.
1st Ballymacash Scout Troop camped at Carnlough this year and had as neighbours the lst Derriaghy Troop.
As 1952 dawned there was a concerted effort by the Parish to wripe off the yearly deficit of almosty £200 and to this end the Rector chaired a recently instituted Finance Committee in St Mark's and praise was extended towards the many fund-raising efforts of the Youth Guild (the most recent being a Guest Tea and Beetle Drive). They had met the costs of well over £40 for the entire re-decoration of the Church.
Ballymacash Girl Guides was re-established under the leadership of Miss R Turner and Miss B McShane (Lieutenant) on 14 January and it was encouraging to see a dozen girls between the ages of 11 and 15 at the opening meeting.
Sixty years after St Mark's had been raised from the status of a Hall to a Chapel of Ease the Rector reflected in the magazine that the total cost of building St Mark's - and which was borne by Rev Joseph A Stewart - had been only £172.
"Now £I72 would hardly build the porch. In fact it would only pay the expenses of the St Mark's area for about a couple of months in these days of ever rising costs in every field."
St Mark's was soon to lose the services of its organist Miss Mona Balmer who resigned for family reasons but she had made a significant contribution notably during the anniversary services held on Sunday 15 June 1952 when former Rector Ven Cl Peacocke and former curates Rev JL Spence and Rev VS Dungan were the preachers. A total of £100 was collected at the anniversary services while the presentation by Mrs Fenning on behalf of the choir and parish to Miss Balmer was to be consist of a handbag and diamonte necklet.
Rev WS Packenham-Walsh who was a curate in Derriaghy from 1894-1897 and who during the anniversary celebrations was in charge of two country parishes in England recalled those early years in the life of the Chapel of Ease, of living with Canon and Mrs Moore as there was no curate's accommodation at the time. Although he had been responsible more for the Parish and Colin district than for St Mark's he described St Mark's as being "always well attended; the' singing was always hearty and the religious spirit was deep and vital".
Following further fund-raising activities within St Mark's, including the annual sale in the Parochial Hall which contributed £82 13s 6d to the Extension Fund with a Guest Tea by the Ladies Work Party raising £66 6s the Fund had reached £720 and it was suggested that once the total passed the £1000 mark then work could commence. This was soon surpassed with the annual sale the following year raising £115 while the collections at the Harvest Services were the highest in St Mark's history and £800 had been collected over the previous twelve months for the Extension Fund.
Additional ground required had also been promised through the good wishes of the late Mrs E Brown and plans were examined by the County Surveyor. The contract which was to last around three months was to be given to John F McCall & Sons with services during the building work period being held in the Parochial Hall.
February 1954 was to see the arrival of Rev TWW Jones as senior curate in Derriaghy and he was to obtain accommodation adjacent to the district of Ballymacash at 53 Benson Street.
In one of his opening sermons Rev Jones appealed to parishioners: "I have to labour in the service of God in this part of His vineyard. I pray that with your co-operation and held this work will bear much fruit".
February 19 saw the presentation being made in the Parochial Hall to Rev JW Beamish (curate assistant from 1951-1953) who had been instituted as Rector of the Parish of Coalisland.
As the Parish had agreed to hand over part of the sale of the old curatage, St Mark's would now be approaching the half-way stage in their fund-raising with a further £1350 required. There was however to be further delays in the extension programme when it was agreed that the porch would have to be strengthened to bear the weight of the proposed tower.
£55 was raised by the Youth Guild concert with joint producers J Curran and H McCallum while a variety concert organised by F Heasley and D Keery was to realise a further £38.
A meeting was held on 20 May to re-form the Ballymcash Scout Troop and members were to enjoy a camp at Crawfordsburn later in the year. Rev Jones had become Scout Master, a position he was to hold until 1956. Mrs Hannah Jones was Guide Captain from 1954-56 and a camp was held in the Guide Cottage at Powerscourt, Co Wicklow.
It was interesting to read the August Church Magazine being virtually dominated by news of St Mark's with the Rector almost apologising for this. A Gift Day held on 27 June raised £208 4s 2d with Michael Keery collecting £2 8s in pennies no less. LOL317 donated an additional £40 earmarked for special projects eg a bell.
The Consecration of the Church Extension was held on 15 September 1954 with the Church filled to capacity. The choir, in robes provided by the St Nicholas' Parish choir in Belfast, added a great deal of dignity to the worship. Under the organist Walter Refausse the choir's rendering of 'O taste and see how gracious the Lord is' was the subject of favourable comments from all quarters.
The Lord Bishop of Connor Dr Charles ES King Irwin and clergy went in procession around the Church singing a Psalm while the service itself, with a sermon from Canon CJ McLeod, Rector of Christ Church, Lisburn was memorable.
The following gifts to the Church were also acknowledged; the ground by Mrs E Browne, prayer desks from the Select Vestry of St Stephens, Belfast, hymn boards J Kerr, font from Holy Trinity Parish in Cork, tables and chairs for the vestry, bell and a cross from LOL317 and floor covering from Mr and Mrs Richardson. Mr Dowling also redecorated the font free of charge.
By the beginning of 1955 St Mark's had received the final accounts relating to the Extension; Builders A/c £2765 6s l ld, Architects £171 18s bringing the total to £2937 4s l ld while the Extension Fund stood at over £2,000.
The anniversary of the Guides was held with Mrs TJ Fenning, Lisburn District Commissioner as guest. A birthday cake was cut by Miss K McDonald and Mrs Caswell, two former captains of the company with candles lit by guide Phyllis Elliott and blown out by the Vicar. Another former captain Mrs Hall and a former Lieutenant Miss B McShane were also in attendance. New company colours were dedicated on Sunday 13 March by Rev Jones.
The Easter Vestry in May 1955 saw one member complain at the quality of the magazines for which parishioners were being asked to subscribe 2d. By the end of the year the Parish was indebted to a gift of choir pews from St Stephens in Belfast which enhanced the appearance of St Mark's and complemented the seating which had already been obtained from St Mathias' Church in Dublin. This helped with the task of providing permanent seating for the new part of the Church.
By mid July 1956 the need for an Extension Fund had ceased as a result of a Gift Day which realised £221 8s. In just four years the people of St Mark's had raised £2436 6s 11 d while a grant of £400 was received from the Select Vestry as a share of the sale of the former curatage. A further £100 was received in the form of a legacy from the late Miss Boomer.
5 July 1956 saw the wedding of Betty Armstrong of Ballymacash and Sam McKibbin in St Mark's and because it was the first wedding solemnised in St Mark's a suitably inscribed Bible was presented to the bride.
October saw what initially appeared to be the end of Rev Jones' ministry in Ballymacash when he departed to the Parish of Ballintoy but as we see later he was to return as the first Rector of St Mark's and to play a substantial part in the development of the district for nigh on two decades.
The James Barbour Challenge Cup for table tennis was won in 1957 by St Mark's with the following team: Misses Florence and Edith Richardson, Avril Murdoch, Joan Kerr, Joan Nugent, Messrs Jim McConnell, Billy Reid (capt), Billy Richardson, Gerald Best, Norman Martin and David Stewart.
A NEW ERA BECKONS AT BALLYMACASH
The Christian fellowship and stewardship which had categorized the preceding decades in the district of Ballymacash saw its members welcome the dawning of the Sixties with continuing spirit and vitality and with an outlook which was to mark another era in the district's history. Hilary
Morrison was the honorary secretary of the Select Vestry at the time and he has since served the Church in many capacities over the following thirty years both at local level and at diocesan and national levels.
Rev William Norman Cochrane Barr who had arrived as Rector of Derriaghy Parish in 1961 addressed the first annual general meeting in St Mark's Hall on 8 May 1961 and spoke of the great potential which there was in the district with the proposed housing developments which would undoubtedly increase the size of the district served by St Mark's in Ballymacash. Such developments would however place considerable pressure on the Parish as a whole and in particular on its accommodation. or lack of it! A committee to act as an advisory body outside the Select Vestry was formed to investigate such needs and consisted of fourteen members.
Within a year the committee had put in a great deal of necessary groundwork not least in the purchase of a few acres to the rear of the old Church. Consideration was given to an addition to the parochial hall and plans for making a car park near the Church.
At the Second AGM of St Mark's held on Monday 14 May 1962 the Rector referred to the valuable service which Rev John Terence Roche Rodgers had given since his arrival in 1960 and took the opportunity to welcome Rev Adam Aubrey Johns, a native of Co Monaghan and who had been ordained for the Parish of Aghalee. With almost 200 families now in the parish Rev Barr told those in attendance the continuing increase in the size of the parish was now leading to the possibility that "St Marks would branch out as a Parish of its own in the not too distant future."
While it may have taken the greater part of the decade for Rev Barr's expectations to be fully realised for the Parish of Ballymacash, in hindsight, the intervening decade was essential for the laying of the foundation on which St Mark's could develop and prosper.
Over the next year there were a number of occurrences which gave the Rector and the parishioners a great deal of encouragement including the increase in the numbers attending communion. The attendance of eighty was almost double that of the previous years while income showed a rise of around £200 compared with 1961 and now stood at nearly £1900 ( or in other words between £9 and £10 per family per annum). Ninety-two were in the senior Sunday School with an average attendance of between 75-80 while in the junior Sunday School thirty were registered with an average attendance of over 25. The Bible Class had also commenced with an encouraging nucleus of a dozen members.
Rev Johns who had taken a deep interest in the youth organisations reported that the Brownies had 25 members, the Girl Guides had 16. There was shortly to be a change in the leadership of both the Cubs and Scouts with Mrs Crawford taking the helm in the cubs and William Hankers the new Scout Master and it was hoped that they would be given the same degree of support which their predecessors had enjoyed.
The future status of St Mark's within the framework of the Parish of Derriaghy was again the main topic of the Fourth AGM in 1964. The Bishop had suggested that Ballymacash should form a separate unit and preparations for such taking place began with the finances of St Mark's being divided from those of the rest of the Parish. However the cost of running St Mark's was estimated at £38 per week at a time when income was remaining relatively steady.
The departure of Rev Johns to become Rector of Billy brought Rev Terence Frederick Callan to the Parish in charge of the Ballymcash district, having been Rector of Clogh (Roslea). Born in Malta where his father was serving with the Royal Army Service Corps, Rev Callan was educated at Carlow National School, Kings Hospital and Trinity College Dublin. He had been ordained in 1957 and took up curacy in Derriaghy on New Year's Day in 1964.
With housing developments continuing in the area, average attendances at the services was between 150-170 and it was reported the following year that the Diocesan Council were to "look into the possibility" of St Mark's becoming a separate Parish later in the autumn. The Select Vestry considered that it would be opportune and appropriate to look for a more suitable house as a Rectory. It was however still of some concern that 53 families contributed £1253 out of a total of £1977 12s 10d, or put another way that those 53 families contributed two-thirds of the district's income.
After interest had been shown in the formation of an indoor bowling club, a club was started early in 1964 in the dining room of Ballymacash Primary School by kind permission of the Antrim County Education committee and a few members of Derriaghy club also boosted the numbers.
The June 1965 magazine reported that the Mothers Union annual outing to Portrush cost 17/6 though this was to cover the fare only!
As we entered 1966 consideration was being given through the medium of the Derriaghy Parish magazine that due to the large attendances at services in St Mark's it was being contemplated that a second Morning Service would be required to meet the increasing demands of the 250 families.
Rev Barr suggested at the 6th AGM on 27 April 1966 that it would not be long before St Mark's was on its own and almost apologised that apart from taking a few services there, such have been the demands placed on the pastoral side by Christ Church, he was having to leave St Mark's more and more in the very capable hands of Rev Callan. He also agreed that the purchase of a larger house in the area as a rectory would further help to establish St Mark's as an entity on its own.
Another pleasing aspect of the parish at the time was the ever increasing number of young people being brought forward for confirmation, almost seventy candidates in 1966. Following the resignation of Walter Cowan as sexton Mr Glover took on the position at a salary of £120 per annum.
It is important to note that as the district of Ballymacash was poised to become a parish in its own right the finances were to dictate whether or not it could function independently. In 1966 it was reported that there had been a 12% rise in the income (£256) with total income amounting to £2732 12s 4d. The surplus over the year's working was £473 3s 7d. Consideration was to be given to the purchase of a four- acre field belonging to parishioner Jacob Corkin on the Ballymacash Road while an original offer for Mrs Hardy's house at 97 Antrim Road and considered as a rectory had to be increased before being accepted at £7750.
Reflections - Ballymacash
Together with my wife and three children I arrived in Ballymacash on 1 January 1963. Having been Rector o f the rather remote Parish o f Clogh with Drumsnatt straddling the Fermanagh/Monaghan border for the previous six-and-a-half years I was to venture into the more populous church extension area as Curate Assistant o f Derriaghy with special responsibility for St Mark's Ballymacash. The little Church on the hill was our centre of worship, the old school on the Ballymacash Road/Nettlehill Road was in use as a Church Hall and our house was a semi-detached house on the Ballymacash Road.
There was an enthusiastic committee of men and the scope for work for the Kingdom o f God wide and varied. New houses were springing up all the time and new families being 'added to the Church' on a very regular basis. Due to a lack o f accommodation the need arose for two morning services and as the number o f children was rapidly expanding, running concurrently with the second service of Morning Prayer, children's Church followed by Sunday School was held in the Church Hall under the very capable leadership of Hilary T Morrison. This he did with tremendous sensitivity to the opening minds and hearts and souls o f children.
At the Church there was valued assistance of the Reverend Canon AP Chamberlain, retired from a Parish in Derry Diocese and much esteemed Kenneth Quinn whose family were staunch members of Magheragall Parish. I conducted a Kindergarten Sunday School in the afternoon and it was not long before we had to recruit other teachers for this venture. In 1966 the fine present Rectory at 97 Antrim Road was purchased and our family had the privilege of living there for three years.
The devotion to the little Church on the hill was much in evidence, particularly at Harvest time. Decorating operations began well in advance with the making o f the corn fringe and the gathering of the foliage for the sanctuary window, all lovingly positioned with ceremonious regularity year after year . The need for a new Church became obvious as the Ballymacash end o f Derriaghy Parish rapidly expanded and a Building Fund started.
Discussion and planning towards independence were well underway with a grateful senses o f achievement and St Mark's was granted independence after three years. Having become a Curacy in charge we worked towards full independence for another three years and at the end of this period full independence was granted by the Diocesan Council. Alas, I was then nominated for the Parish of St Aidan, Belfast, thus ending my six extremely happy years as Curate Assistant o f Derriaghy and Curate in Charge of Ballymacash. If I have had a worthwhile input into this sphere of Ministry, I am humbly thankful.
The Rev Canon TF Callan
ST MARK'S TO BECOME INDEPENDENT - THAT'S OFFICIAL
A formal declaration from the Diocesan Office was received towards the end of 1966 confirming that the new parish of Ballymacash be instituted with effect from 1 January 1967, the boundaries for the new Church being delineated on a map but principally out of the Ballymcash area of the Parish of Derriaghy. Approved stipend and locomotory allowance were fixed at £1000 and £200 per annum. The Representative Body had also consented to accept the vesting of Elmdene on the Antrim Road as the new Rectory.
A whole new era in the life of the Church was dawning with a new Rectory just purchased to replace a house bought a few years earlier. A service of introduction of Rev TF Callan as curate in charge of the recently created Parish was conducted by Rev Barr with the lesson read by Rev JJ Armstrong, curate asst Derriaghy. Rev Canon TE Beacom, Registrar of the Diocese of Connor administered the Declarations with the preacher the Rt Rev Dr RCH Elliott whose chaplain was the Rev RB Livingston, curate in charge of St Columba, Derryvolgie.
In the March magazine of 1967 with the old Church featured on the front cover - eight advertisements brought in much needed income - Rev Callan explained that despite St Mark's becoming a separate Parish, those who purchased grave plots while the Church was under the control of Derriaghy would nevertheless automatically retain these burial rights at the agreed scale for parishioners. The Dramatic Society played to two packed halls in January raising £65 for the Rectory Fund.
The first meeting of registered vestrymen of the new Parish of Ballymacash was held on 4 January 1967 and within three months the Easter Vestry reported that there were now some 300 families in the Parish. It was also rather optimistically suggested that over the next 15-20 years there could be upwards of 700-800 families.
The Cub pack had now increased to twenty boys while Basil Ritchie, whose late father had received the same honour was to become the troop's first Queens Badge holder. He was presented with his badge by Mr T Thompson ADC later in the year. This was a well deserved honour not only for Basil himself but the Ballymacash Scout Troop under the leadership of Gordon Knowles.
On 26 April 1967 Rev Callan moved from the curatage to the new Rectory at 97 Antrim Road for which the Parish received £5,000 from the RCB in respect of a loan.
A guest tea, which attracted just short of 500 to the Pond Park Red Cross Hall, raised the net proceeds of £237 13s. A St Mark's cake was presented by the Regal Bakery while other popular features were the P4 of Ballymacash Primary School on their recorders, tambourines and xylophones, the Minnowburn Male Voice Choir and the Villagers and Bob McCormack.
The magazine also reported the imminent departure of Mr and Mrs Kenneth Quinn to Uganda. Mr Quinn a Sunday School teacher and Diocesan lay reader had obtained an engineering post with the then Ministry of Overseas Development.
At a meeting of the Select Vestry on 19 September 1967 Rev TF Callan suggested that while the parish had been most grateful for the help which Mrs Muldrew and Mrs Callan had given by offering their services, the time was ripe to appoint an official organist and it was to be reported that the services of Mrs Geddis as official assistant organist had been acquired for £30 per annum.
William McKelvey, from St Mark's, took part in the World Scout Jamboree held in Idaho in which 102 countries were represented.
On 10 September 1967 the new service for Holy Communion which increasedthe degree of participation in the Sacrament was introduced.
In the latter part of the year Rev Callan suggested through the medium of the magazine that the present parochial hall was now insufficient to meet the demands of the growing congregation in, St Mark's and was placing constraints upon further development of the various orgainsations. Some £60000 would however be required to build a new hall with conventional materials.
A parochial meeting to discuss this problem was arranged for 14 November and the parish had reveived £1292-6-7 in respect of the half share of the sale of the curatage on the Ballymacash Road.
A new prayer desk presented by Mrs I Corken in memory of her husband Cecil and a new lecturn from the Parish of Derriaghy were dedicated on 26 November by Rev Arthur Noble, Rector of Christ Church and the new Rural Dean.
The Parish agreed to present both Miss Georgina McClure and Miss Nan Lavery with a beautifully bound and suitably inscribed Bible as a token of their service as teachers in the Sunday School. Miss McClure had given fifty years of unstinting service while Miss Lavery had served for 47 years.
Following considerable discussion over the previous months as to the type of building which would best fulfil the needs of the parish not only at the present but perhaps more importantly in the future, it was agreed at a vestry meeting on 16 January 1968 that the new building should be a dual-purpose one and not solely a church building with the voting 11 to 1. A building fund account was later opened.
The Parish was shocked by the death of William Richardson during his year as the Rector's Churchwarden. Mr Richardson had given sterling service to the Parish and had held every office open to laymen in the Church. On his death in addition to being the Rector's Church warden and synodsman he was also a transferor's representative on Ballymacash Public Elementary School which he had also served loyally. A prominent member of all the institutions which he served with dignity and loyalty he was not ashamed to take his place in Church or in his lodge regularly whether in office or not. A Sanctuary chair was later to be presented in memory of Mr Richardson and a second chain by Mr Walter Refausse.
It was reported that when the Bishop of Connor attended the parish for the Confirmation Service on 3 March 1968 that it was the first time, as far as one knows, that a confirmation service had actually been held in the Church.
Thirty-five candidates in all were confirmed: R Hewitt, S Watson, R Corbett, A Nettleship, P & R Carson, T Kelly, J Chapman, G Nawn, F Duffin, K Moorehead, P Jeffers, G Corbett, J Belshaw, N McAleenon, Misses P Doyle, L Fletcher, E Murphy, P Donaldson, L Corbett, B White, P Abernethy, W Heasley, J McAleenon, E Belshaw, E Dougherty, R Fair, B Duncan, E McBride, P Nicholl, E Parke, A Belshaw, L McDowell, S Nawn, J Lewis.
Friday 3 May saw a presentation being made to W Stewart Gamble to mark not only his many years of Cubbing and Scouting in both the Parish and the District but also in Lisburn and Co Antrim. He was a Cubmaster for 25 years, Scoutmaster for 2 years, Group Scoutmaster of 1st Ballymacash for 10 years and ADC for Lisburn & District for 10 years. Stewart had gained his Scout Wood Badge in 1947 and the Medal of Merit in 1959. Wesley Duncan presented Mr Gamble with an easy chair to mark his retirement from full-time Cubbing and Scouting and as a mark of respect in recognition to the service he had given to the organisation locally.
After a visit on 27 May 1968 by Rev Noble and Dr Wilson from the Church Extension Committee it was decided that other Churches in the Diocese should be visited before coming to any firm conclusions as to the new Church. It was however quite ironic that one of the first Churches visited was to be Immanuel Church in Ardoyne where Rev TWW Jones - later to spend eighteen years in Ballymacash and make an invaluable contribution to St Mark's - was Rector.
Having appointed WD & RJ Taggart as Architects and envisaging a total cost of around £40,000 three schemes were outlined on 19 August 1968. However the Diocesan Council informed the Select Vestry that the cost of building the new Church had to be kept below £30,000. Although much toing and froing between the interested parties took place it would be quite wrong to suggest that this was the only thing which was going on in the Parish.
The magazine featured a photograph of the old Church and listed the details of services and organisations on its front cover while on the rear cover a number of local advertisers assisted with the cost of the publication. Some are sadly no longer with us eg C & T Hardy, Bow Street while others like J & D Murphy and the Pond Park Service Station still remain prominent.
Miss Heather Murphy, Miss Dorothy Doyle and Miss Rosemary Chapman were each featured in the local newspapers when they left the choir and Sunday school on the eve of their marriages and their service to the Parish was recognised in a presentation made by Miss McClure. The Sunday School opened a new session in September seeking to maintain the high numbers on its rolls (e.g. 92 in the morning with 87 in regular attendance).
During the months of May and June some 345 households were visited. "Each family was asked to aim at an average of 2/6 or 3/- per week and this " it was reported "would see us through many of our financial difficulties."
Whether or not the badminton club was actually founded around this time is to all intents and purposes up for debate I suppose but parishioners were invited to join the Black Hall in Pond Park Road as facilities weren't sufficient in the old hall.
Peter Kerr one of the parishioners was chosen to represent the Connor Diocese at the 4th British Conference of Christian Youth while John Sturgeon was to issue an appeal to parishioners to collect all their used stamps - their 5d postage stamp had just been launched - in order that this could be another part of the fund raising activities for the Building Fund.
With progress being relatively slow to say the least it was however encouraging that forty attended the first meeting of the Young Wives Fellowship and a working committee was established under the group leadership of Audrey Gifford, Joyce Lynn as secretary and Heather Cranston as treasurer.
The end of the year saw the end of yet another piece of the history of St Mark's with the old organ, which had remained unused since the new organ had been installed about ten years previous, finding a new home in Killegar Parish in County Leitrim. The Rector of Killegar Rev TR Jennings actually collected the organ himself.
Before the first anniversary of the launch of the Building Fund it had soared to £2050 and the Bishop was now taking considerably more interest in the project after problems had been experienced with the Diocesan Council and the Church Extension Committee. But there remained a great deal of concern as to the state of the parochial hall which was not improving with the advancing years.
It had served the community first as a Primary School erected by the Johnston family of Ballymacash House who made the gift of the building back in 1913 to the Parish of Derriaghy through the Connor Diocesan Board of Education. With further extensions it continued to be used extensively by the parish organisations.
On 21 April 1969 application was made for the parish to be raised from a curacy in charge to a full incumbency and attendances at the various Church Services continued to be particularly healthy with around 360 attending both the services on Mothering Sunday. It was soon agreed that the two morning services at 10.30 am and 11.30 am should be amalgamated to one at 11.00 am because of the success of the Childrens Church under Hilary Morrison, although the 10.30 am service had been in existence for the past three-and-a-half years.
The figure of £40000 which had been verbally confirmed by the Rural Dean over the telephone was formally approved on 23 June 1969 and the magazine was used to give parishioners some idea of the undertaking which they were considering. Although approximately half of the costs of building the new Church would be borne by the Representative Church Body (RCB) on an interest free loan (ie the Parish does not make repayments for the first ten years) the Diocesan Council will give a grant of £8000 or a quarter of the building costs, whichever is the lower, and which does not have to be repaid. It was therefore reasonable to suggest that a figure of £5,000 should be reached in the Building Fund by the time the Church is ready for use.
The July/August 1969 magazine was the final one to bear the picture of the old Church on its front cover. It was replaced in the September edition by an artist's impression of the proposed frontage of the new Church. In just fifteen months £2748 5s 1 Id had been raised by direct giving ...a remarkable feat by anyone's standards. Before the year was out the Parish had been formally granted full incumbancy status after a meeting of the Diocesan Council on October 2.
Rev TF Callan was to be instituted as Rector of St Aidan's Parish in Belfast, in succession to Rev C Jameson on 2 January 1970 after having spent six years in Ballymacash during which the Parish had grown from about 160 families to just under 400, the plans for a new church building were well underway and the Primary School had grown with an additional three teachers and additional classrooms.
Just as the new decade was dawning on the Parish about to welcome its first Rector, the Church was also celebrating the Centenary of its Disestablishment.
Farewells and presentations were made to Rev Callan on his departure at a social evening on 30 January. He received a handsome oak-mounted barometer, suitably inscribed in addition to a box of chocolates for the children and a cheque while other gifts included a travelling alarm clock from the bunnies. The Mothers Union presented Mrs Callan with a beautiful handbag and gift, while the Young Wives treated her to an evening in the Woodlands Hotel.
The March magazine featured a letter from the Rev Thomas William Warren Jones as Rector-elect. Addressing his new congregation as "my dear friends" he recollected that "we left Ballymacash in 1956 with one boy and we return now with three in all - Keith, Neville and Ashley."
"Ballymacash has always had a reputation for friendliness" he continued. He became St Mark's first Rector being instituted on 5 March 1970 and despite only having arrived in the district a few weeks earlier, he was to preside over his first Easter General Vestry on 1 April 1970.
Rev Jones' arrival in the Parish was to mark a period of almost two decades of change on a grand scale with Rev Jones at the helm and which was probably only brought to an end by the Rectors continuing ill-health. Born in 1925 and educated at Trinity College Dublin Rev Jones was ordained in 1949 and served his first curacy in Shankill Parish, Lurgan before moving to Derriaghy in 1954 where he was to serve under Rev Patrick Ashton Gregg Sheppard who had been rector there since 1946. It was while curate in Derriaghy Parish that he was to have his first association with the Ballymacash district. During his couple of years in the area the much revered old church on the hill was to be extended and consecrated.
Former Rector Reflects:
I first encountered Derriaghy Parish over thirty-seven years ago, when I became Senior Curate Assistant. How much the Parish has changed especially that part of it which became Ballymacash Parish in 1967. St Marks' area was then very rural with about 130 families attached to that part.
On Ballymacash Road there were but three houses, for example at the corner of Orange Hall Lane and a couple of street lights. Long stretches of the road both towards Lisburn and also towards Ballymacash Corner were empty of houses.
Now with the upsurge in building over the years Lisburn has come right up to Ballymacash and encircled. The immense loyalty to the Church which parishioners have always shown has been exemplified in the manner in which the older families have maintained their commitment to and support for the changing circumstances and conditions confronting the newly-established St Mark's Parish.
There has moreover been a welcome integration of the old and the new, the old welcoming the new parishioners and the new being willing to work enthusiastically with the old for the common good. There has always been a splendid togetherness exhibited by all concerned, for the common good of the parish. This is what we could but hope for but how could we be disappointed when the traditional friendliness of Lisburn people is taken into account.
Thus the parish has grown and developed steadily as one and all have put their "hand to the plough" realising that the Kingdom of God will only come in Ballymacash when parishioners can say of themselves that they are 'workers together with Him (God) as St Paul described the relationship of his fellow Christians with God.
I pray that God will richly bless all that shall continue to be done,
in His Name and for His Sake, in this splendid parish of truly wonderful
Rev TWW Jones arrives as first Rector
In 1956 he was appointed Rector of Ballintoy before moving on to Belfast as curate in charge of Ardoyne Parish in 1960. Immanuel Church in Ardoyne was consecrated in 1963 and during the same year it was to be granted full status with Rev Jones becoming its first Rector.
It was rather ironic that Ardoyne should have been visited by members of St Mark's when they were considering the designs for their new church building.
When Rev Jones was to move to Ballymacash in 1970 he was again to become the first Rector of a Church, Ballymacash having previously been a curacy in charge.
When the new Church building was consecrated one wonders whether any other clergy within the Church of Ireland had ever been involved in the organisation of the consecration of three Churches? Rev Jones' ministry in Ardoyne had also prepared him well for what lay infront of him in Ballymacash.
Another facet of his ministry in Ballymacash saw him deeply involved within an educational sphere while his great love for scouting was to further develop.
About 375-400 families were in the Parish at the time and although total expenses had risen by £211 the total balance was £254-5-0 at 31 December 1969 as against an opening balance of £60-3-8. The Building Fund stood at £3710-0-5.
Mr James Scott took over the post of sexton on April 1 1970. This was to mark the start of a 21 year term in the post and the parish is most appreciative of the many hours which both Jimmy amid his wife Nancy have given to St Mark's. Archdeacon McCappin attended a meeting on 27 April 1970 and explained that as the revised cost of building and fitments of the proposed Church would be in the region of £50, a new Church was therefore only feasible if a prefabricated building was to be considered.
One Sunday in May members of the Select Vestry covered over 450 miles to visit a number of sites which were of a Bantile Construction including Loretto Convent (Mulligar), Our Lady of the Wayside (Clonown), Church of St Brigid's Hospital (Ballintrae) and the Church at Nenagh. It was eventually agreed to scrap the present drawings and to adopt the Bantile Construction method which was basically of simple form with portal frame and infill panels. Architects were asked to draw up prospective costs for building such a Church on the Ballymacash site.
The parish were then faced with the charges levied by the previous architects, engineers and quantity surveyors who had taken the proposed original building to quite an advanced stage with design details and production drawings prepared on which tenders could have been invited. The cost of £2362-2-9 was discussed with the Diocesan Council and the Vestry were to negotiate fees although the Diocesan Council confirmed that they were prepared to pay half of these fees incurred by the parish. The Bantile Construction method was estimated to cost around £40,000 plus site works.
In December 1970 it was explicitly stated in the magazine that "it was the Diocesan Church extension Committee who had called a halt to the building project largely on grounds of cost!"
Miss Kathleen McDonald who had given so many years of loyal service as organist and had looked after the Children's Choir passed away. New Scout Troop colours were dedicated on 3 January when the District Commissioner J Hilland and his assistant T Thompson were present.
At the Fifth Easter Vestry held on 15 April 1971 the Rector recalled that despite twenty baptisms and five weddings over the past year, it had been a very frustrating year particularly after the proposed building had been cancelled due to rising costs. "Outgoings at the time were £3450 with the bank balance fallen to £254 but it was suggested that an income of around £3800 would be required for 1971. A closing balance on the Building Fund was £4302. W Brown previously hon. auditor was to become treasurer in succession to H Morrison.
The Cub Scout pack competing in the district sports captured the sports shield after gaining the highest number of points in the competition. They also added the 11-a-side soccer tournament title beating neighbours Hillsborough 3-0 in the final.
The over-riding issue within the growing Parish of Ballymacash was however that the existing buildings were rapidly becoming inadequate for the growing needs of the Parish and a deputation from the Diocesan Council was received by the Vestry. It was agreed that they would support the building of a two-storey hall and Church - not of Bantile Construction - with the present Church utilised as a minor hall. The site would be in the field which extends from the car park at the rear of the existing Church to the Ballymacash Road. The building would be erected approximately half-way down the field and because of its sloping nature it would have to have three floor levels.
A vestry, choir room and side chapel would be at the lowest level while the church floor would be at a level four feet higher. The hall floor would be two feet higher than that of the Church. With seating in the Church section for 120 a movable wooden partition would enable the hall to be used to supplement the seating capacity and increase the accommodation by a further 240 seats.
The hall itself was to have a floor space measuring 54 feet by 30 feet and would include a platform, kitchen and cloak room. The side chapel was to accommodate about 22 people and would be easily heated. At a proposed cost of £44,000 it was to fall within the strict guidelines being imposed on the parish.
In 1971 the excess of expenditure over income was £800 and it was suggested that the only way to raise the additional money was to increase the giving with a stewardship programme.
Peter Kerr who had been awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree (first class) after a three year course at the University of Edinburgh was to be ordained a deacon on 19 December 1971 and the Select Vestry presented him with a surplice. He was to serve as curate assistant in Belfast's Holy Trinity.
It was agreed at a meeting held on Wednesday 29 November that a split level building would be the only feasible alternative for the Parish of Ballymacash. It was also agreed that Messrs Shanks and Leighton be submitted as the architects for the project. This was later sanctioned by the Diocesan Council providing the cost of the contract did not exceed £40000.
Mr EH Murray, the Church of
Ireland Christian Stewardship organiser, addressed the Select Vestry in the
New Year and identified that 224 parishioners were subscribing 25p or less
per week while 86 were giving 1 up to a £1. He clarified the point that some
35% of the
It was with a great deal of pleasure that the Dramatic Society welcomed back to its December meeting the Rev JR Musgrave, who was then Rector of the neighbouring Magheragall Parish. Rev Musgrave was one of the founder members of what was one of the most influential and active societies in the Parish during his ministry in St Mark's some twenty-five years previous.
It was indeed during that period in the Ballymacash district that the hall was extended with a stage and back room. However when within less than four months the Dramatic Society held its annual dinner and social evening in the Orange Hall, and despite the fact that there were over fifty in attendance, it was sadly to signal the end of the Society which had succeeded the Youth Guild.
It must also have been a very bad start to the New Year in terms of weather as the speaker for the February meeting of the Mothers Union was snow bound, and the January speaker had been fog bound. But even a power failure during a musical evening was not sufficient to dampen the members spirit and enthusiasm as the Black Hall was lit by candles, oil lamps and ... yes gas lamps.
An arts competition organised by Dunmurry District Brownies and Guides saw Janet Roberts take first prize while Claire Doloughan came second in the 7-8 age group. The presentations were made by Mr Hugh Bass, Mayor of Lisburn.
The 6th Easter Vestry saw the Parish for the first time in deficit by the princely sum of £38. General expenses were however up by £600, salaries by £500 while the half -year rates bill for the Rectory was £51-84.
On 26 April 1972 over eighty parishioners attended a meeting with the Architects of the new Church and Hall, Messrs Shanks and Leighton.
In 1972 the Parish bade farewell to T McCutcheon as Principal of Ballymacash Primary who was taking up an appointment as vice-principal of a Primary School in Ayr. During his four years at Ballymacash the School enjoyed a high and much deserved reputation. The previous year Mr McCutcheon had been awarded the prestigious Carlisle and Blake Premium for 1970 by the Ministry of Education. As only six are awarded annually this was a mark of the efficiency and high educational standards achieved by the School.
In September Wesley Duncan announced he was unable to continue as Cub Scout leader. However the group were fortunate to have a ready made successor in Bob Gifford with Harry Goldsworthy becoming his assistant. A new youth organisation was formed under the guidance of Douglas Irwin better known as a teacher in Ballymacash Primary School. Called the Y - Club it was to cater for the 12-16 age group and met on Wednesday evenings.
A warm welcome was also extended to Roy Thornton who, in being appointed Principal of Killowen Primary School, was to lead the School through its early formative years. It was with a great deal of sadness that having built the School to its present high reputation over much of the next two decades, that he was to retire from this post in 1990 due to ill-health.
1973 saw the preparations for the very important stewardship campaign. Campaign director W Erskine was to brief those with responsibility for arranging tasks such as making contacts etc while a steering committee under the chairmanship of Professor A Roberts was also formed. Mens Visitors Chairman was C Duncan and Ladies Chair Mrs M Richardson while WS Gamble was responsible for arranging the entertainment and catering for the parish supper.
The preacher for the Act of Dedication for the stewardship programme workers was Ven WJ McCappin, Archdeacon of Connor. While over fifty attended the launch of the ladies visitation, the attendance at the first of the two meetings of Men's Visitors was affected somewhat by a one -day strike - there was no gas lighting or heating available. The parish gathering held in the hall on the Pond Park Road attracted 250 despite the snow and ice.
The Rural Dean Rev JR Musgrave presided over the 7th Easter Vestry due to Rev Jones' illness and reported that with the stewardship campaign an increase in direct giving of over £8000 should be expected. The total number of covenanted subscriptions was increased from 40 to 150. Total income stood at £4690, expenditure at £4760 while the Building Fund had reached £7815.
Despite the considerable optimism within the Parish in respect of the proposals for the new Church, the Rector considered that with 350 families the attendances at the 10.00 am or 8.15 am celebration of Holy Communion could only be described as "disappointing" .
On Sunday 23 September 1973 Rev Jones cut the first sod at the place where the Holy Table was to stand and with the assistance of the Church wardens another sod was cut in the Hall area. The contract had been awarded to the Belsize Road firm, Messrs TJ Weekes & Sons. Before the end of the year the Building Fund had broken the £10000 barrier and a meeting was convened in the Rectory on 7 November 1973 to set up a Men's Fellowship Society.
As the Parish looked eagerly towards the foundation stone being laid on 2 February the present 'Troubles' were again to be brought home to those in the area when Lisburn was to have its second car bomb explosion within a fortnight.
Practically every pane of glass was broken in the kitchen and cloakrooms of the parochial hall during the early months of the year and the sexton had to remove the bulb from the outside gate light each Sunday evening . Though such a vandalism problem was annoying to say the least, the problem took on a more serious nature when a parishioner was actually hit by a stone while entering the Church one Sunday evening and others were verbally abused.
A service was held before the laying of their foundation stone with the address given by Dr AH Butler, MBE Bishop of Connor. Others taking part were Rev JR Musgrave, Rural Dean and Rector of Magheragall and Rev WNC Barr, Rector of Derriaghy. The singing was led by the Choir with Walter Refausse at the organ.
The foundation stone was laid at the request of TJ Weekes, the builder and IW Somerville, peoples church warden. Miss G McClure and Miss N Lavery who had contributed so much to the parish in their unselfish service were to jointly lay the foundation stone. The Bishop also took part in the ceremony. Tea was served in the parochial hall by ladies of the parish. The Bishop returned for the Sunday morning service and congratulated the members of the congregation on their new Church Building Scheme and also spoke of the need for the re-dedication of their lives to the service of God.
The total cost of the new building was adjudged not to exceed £65000, the adjusted tender from TJ Weekes of £57372 being duly accepted. A loan of £27000 was advanced by the RCB for a ten year period although the loan itself would run for thirty years.
The Scout Troop re-opened after a year of inactivity under the leadership of R Goffe ably assisted by G Knowles. The Cubs, under R Gifford, who was to later become the Lisburn District Cub Scout Leader were to capture the District Expandite Shield in addition to the Taggart Trophy, Guider Trophy and the subsidiary 5-a-side title.
The building of Killowen Primary was now reaching an advanced stage and due to open its doors initially for P1 -P4 and eventually towards 500 of an enrolment. On the adjacent site Laurelhill Secondary School was also due to open with forms 1-3 in a co-educational format.
At the 1974 Easter Vestry it was agreed that the 25th Aniversary of the Rector's ordination - 26 June 1949 in St Clement's Church in Templemore Avenue - would be suitably honoured by the presentation of a new cassock and belt.
The next Easter Vestry recorded the seemingly endless list of problems which the Parish was having with its new place of worship. Rising inflation pushed costs up to £77000 while completion dates were progressively postponed from the New Year, Easter, April and even May. Roofing tiles were even caught up in the strikes and industrial unrest not to mention civil unrest in Ulster. The representatives from the Scottish firm who were supplying the underfloor heating system were reported to have been at one time unwilling to travel to the province.
The Bishop's Presidential Address at the Diocesan Synod was reproduced for parishioners as the Cofl drew attention to the shortage of clergy. For the first time since disestablishment over a century ago no deacons were ordained for this Diocese.
Next year there were to be nine men but for the long term future the Bishop believed that there would be a need to have between 15 and 20 men each year going forward for the ministry. "In my opinion we would be unwise to see the auxiliary ministry in itself as the solution to our problems. We will still need good, young men of the very best type..."
The annual dinner of the Mothers Union was to prove the most successful event they had held with a highlight being the Rector's solo rendering of The Lord's My Shepherd to the tune of Amazing Grace. He was accompanied by two guitars and the harmony was by Michael Keery and Noel McMaster. Quoting from the Church magazine "The Mothers Union is the rock of our modern society. It is the band of women who care about the quality of family life - committed and dedicated enough to do something about it. It is to teach the vocation of marriage and to be concerned about those in adversity."
Following the Leader Press' decision to discontinue the printing of the magazine it was a new format, which was produced in September 1975. Estimates for publishing the magazine in its previous format and to the same quality proved to be exorbitant and so it was decided to produce it inhouse on a duplicator.
With the announcement of the Consecration and Dedication of the new Building set for Friday September 1975 at 7.30 pm many people reflected on the host of fond and cherished memories which parishioners had for the old Church as one moved to the new, modern accommodation.
Walter Refausse after a period of over thirty years was to retire as organist thus ending an era spanning the extension of the present St Mark's Church and the transition from a harmonium to the electronic organ. He was presented with a radio-alarm clock and inscribed Bible on behalf of the parishioners by W Brown. Mrs Jones on behalf of the choir made a presentation of a Parker Pen.
His successor was to be Sydney Woods, formerly organist at Belvoir Parish and St Paul's Parish in Lisburn. Due to the temporary indisposition of the Bishop, the Rt Rev GA Quinn, Bishop of Down and Dromore was to undertake the duties which Dr Butler would have carried out. Telegrams of best wishes were received from Dr Butler and Rev TJ Virtue, vicar of St Oswalds Church in Chester. Thursday and Friday preceding the Consecration and Dedication was, not unexpectedly, a hive of activity in the Parish with everyone trying to ensure that things would be in place for the Saturday.
This was however only the start of a number of teething problems which were experienced by the parishioners and clergy alike. For example draughts were noticeable between the Church and the hall when the Church was being used on its own while a ban had to be placed on the use of the under-floor electrical heating system until the three-inch layer of concrete had completely dried out. For a period the parish had to soldier on using four turbo convector heaters plus two gas heaters as the only source of heating.
The stewardship renewal programme highlighted the seriousness of the financial implications of the whole project. There was to be an extra £2000 to meet increased outlay on repayment of the bank loan which was in excess of £21000.
However there was a most satisfactory response to the programme when with over 200 attending. In the centenary year of the Mothers Union in the Connor Diocese, the Ballymacash section opened a shop for one day with proceeds going to equip a parents's room in the Royal Victoria Hospital while further ventures of this type added considerably to both parish and branch funds.
The choir was to lose three of its most faithful and enthusiastic servants in Miss N Lavery, Mrs Florence McBride and Miss Georgina McClure who had been associated with St Mark's for 55 years, 34 years and over 50 years respectively. Presentations of cut glass posy bowls were made to Miss Lavery and Mrs McBride while Miss McClure, who had been in hospital, received an item of knitwear.
On 11 December 1975 Mrs Iris Lathem, the district commissioner, presented Vivien Gamble, Kim McKelvey, Sharon Ford and Kerry Edwards with, it was thought, the first Queens Guide Badges to be presented in the Parish.
And before the year was out Helen Mercer (nee Collins) became the first
bride to be martied in thbe new St Mark's Church. Helen and her husband were
The Cub Scouts continued to dominate the various inter pack competitions and a team which included Ian Warwick, Stuart Waring, Maurice Elliott, Michael Jones and David McCoosh (subs Sean McClure and Andrew Irwin) captaured the District 5-a-side tournament.
Recently appointed organist and choirmaster Mr Sydney Woods started a course for boys and a new set of choir robes were were dedicated before the carol service on 21 December. The cost of the robes - £385 - was met by a series of fund raising activities which included a coffee morning, sale of Christmas cards, proceeds of a bowling tournament and a donation from the Treasurer W Brown.
Badminton was also to be introduced with a senior section for those over sixteen years of age while a junior section was to commence in the New Year.
The thriving Mothers Union who had raised £400 for the RVH were to participate in the All Ireland celebrations on 11 May 1976 while the Rector was to be elected President of the Indoor Bowling Club with A Ferns Chairman and D Bateman Treasurer. On its first evening on 25 February there were 19 in attendance while a parishioner who wished to remain anonymous was to agree to offer a loan to the club to purchase much needed bowling mats.
The 10th Easter Vestry recalled the 21st Anniversary of the Consecration of the Old Church. There was however without doubt considerable enthusiasm within the parish and there was growing interest in the number of organisations which had got underway including Badminton and indoor bowling, a Drama Group was revived while Guides, with over 40 girls actually was forced to close its membership and a waiting list was taken. Also a Youth Fellowship Group was established.
W Brown, parish treasurer, was to be honoured for his long standing service within the sphere of scouting when he was presented with the organisation's highest award, a Silver Wolf. This was to take pride of place alongside other awards which had been presented to Mr Brown including a medal of merit and a silver acorn.
The early months of 1976 were notable for the deaths of two parish stalwarts. Georgina McClure, a sunday school teacher in Ballymacash and in Derriaghy for around fifty years, a choir member for some forty years and an organiser of the ladies working committee for many variety sales. She had also laid the foundation stone of the new Church. Unfortunately ill-health never permitted her from seeing the interior of the finished building.
Francis Dowling who had built up a very successful painting business in the town will always be remembered for the work he carried out on stripping off the paintwork from the font in the old St Mark's Church, which had come from Holy Trinity Church in Cork, prior to the Consecration of the building in September 1954.
The Cub Scout pack intent on not letting their older colleagues take all the limelight won the Lisburn and District Inter Pack swimming competition for the first time in 1976 in addition to being judged the best pack in the district for overall cubbing.
June 1976 saw a change in the format of the parish magazine and featured on the front cover a drawing of the new Church by Lawson Burch, an art teacher at Friends School. Advertising on the rear of the magazine was retained to offset some of the costs of printing.
The Mothers Union in the Connor Diocese entered a float in the Lord Mayor's Show and St Mark's had three members on the float which won the Co-Op Award for voluntary organisations.
16 May 1976 saw Patrick Morrison, Stephen McMorris, Christopher Scott and Derek Manning take their places as boy choristers in the choir while James Morrison and Maurice Elliott were to join a week later.
A stained glass window featuring St Mark as a winged lion treated in a modern manner and presented by Mr and Mrs E Eccleston was placed above the entrance to the Church and was dedicated on 27 June.
With growing numbers of young families within the parish Mrs R Taylor was to establish a creshe facility during the morning service while Mrs J W Somerville was to succeed Mrs Anne Jones as leader of the Beaver unit which the latter had founded some years previous.
Avril Gamble and Patricia Eccleston gained their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award from a pack of 45 while Jane Morrison was to gain her Queen's Guide badge aged just 14 years.
Bunty Wilson, who had been a familiar figure in his wheelchair on the roads around Ballymacash, was to die towards the end of the year. .. on the same day her father was buried and she thus realised her wish of not being separated from him even by death.
The first Christmas Fare held on 4 December 1976 was to realise a profit of £1205 which was to make a major contribution towards the annual repayment to the RCB.
Throughout the Seventies even within their own parish we were often reminded of the brutality of the present civil unrest in the province with 1976 amongst the worst in terms of violence. The Rector adeptly described how the Troubles had changed even the run-up to Christmas. He recalled that if one had driven up the Shankill Road little more than seven years previous it would have been teeming with people on Christmas Eve ... every shop was open until 9.00 pin ...the crowd would have been a happy jostling throng. However Christmas Eve in 1976 saw the shops
ALL in DARKNESS! Not one shop was open and hardly a soul was in sight.
Allison Cunningham became the latest member of our Guides to be presented with the Queen's Guide Badge.
With 465 families now in the Parish, the Eleventh Easter Vestry reported a most encouraging year with 28 baptisms and 250 children in the Sunday School. Billy Brown reported that having guided the parish as treasurer through this all-important stage in its history, he was wishing to retire from this position, with David McMeekin succeeding him.
The final account for the quantity surveyors and main contractors was £74631.97 although Mr Dowse did not charge any post contract fees. It was reported that 1976 had been a relatively mundane year after the hive of activity which had categorised the previous five years.
During the ensuing months a number of items were dedicated for the new church including two pews donated by Ballymacash LOL 317 and a silver bread box presented by Mr and Mrs McCallum.
With the Church debt being in the region of £26000, and being committed to an annual repayment to the parish's own bank of £5200 per year plus the annual sum to the RCB of £1,200, fund raising continued to be a high priority and a second Xmas Fare was to realise £1200.
Tom Neeson, a parishioner, was killed in the La Mon Disaster on 17 February 1978. With his wife Eileen and mother-in-law Sarah Cooper they had joined friends at the annual dinner of the collie dog club. Mrs Cooper also died in the inferno while Tom's wife was to suffer serious burns.
It was reported at the Easter Vestry on 30 March 1978 that there would be a temporary grouping between St Mark's and Stoneyford Parish which has some 55 families. St Mark's would be responsible for paying 1/4 of the curate's stipend ie £1274.
The parish also bade farewell to Mr Woods as organist/choirmaster and although old church pews were given to St Paul's Parish, a cheque for £250 was received in the form of a donation. The sale of the old Church for £10,500 was cancelled when the Department of the Environment would only grant planning permission for a period of seven years.
Due to vandalism the windows of the old Church had to be boarded up on one side.
In the presence of the Rector and both Churchwardens Ian Somerville and Howard Ingram, the Bishop performed the Act of De-Consecration on 25 September 1978 enabling the parish to use the old Church for whatever purpose required.
A Christmas Card fund amounted to £540 to go towards a much needed public address system. Through another fund raising event, that of waste paper collections, a small Philicordia electronic organ was purchased second hand for use in the Chapel.
The 60th Anniversary of the Ordination of the parish's good friend Rev SJW
Nabney, who had celebrated his 92nd birthday, was to be marked with the
presentation of a book token by the Churchwardens as a small token of his
assistance in the Parish. He was to donate a silver spoon in memory of his
wife Ethel Marion to be used in the administration of Holy Communion in
Killowen Hospital and this was dedicated on 11 June 1978. Leather bound
Prayer Books and Music Hymn Books for the clergy which had been presented by
Miss Frances Reilly in memory of her sister Prudence were dedicated while
Joy Patton and Brian McMurray were to hand over the first £100 made from the
sale of waste paper.
August saw the establishment of a fruitful link between the Parish and our neighbours Elmwood Presbyterian in organising a children's mission for a week during the summer holidays. From an initial response of some 100 children the mission has become firmly established within the district and continues to prosper more than a decade later.
The Parish was shocked by the death of Robin Goffe, aged 30, in a car accident. A Sunday School teacher, assistant scout leader and whose father Hubert was a member of the Select Vestry.
Rev FL Graham, whose contract as Church of Ireland Youth Officer was to terminate shortly and who had been twelve years in Orders, was to be welcomed to Ballymacash in October 1978 in the link-up with Stoneyford Parish. Rev Graham, though resident in Stoneyford was to play a greater role in Ballymacash than initially expected during his brief stay due to the illness of Rev Jones.
Erica Gamble was to follow in her sister Vivien's footsteps by becoming the Pack's seventh Queens Guide. Alison McMeekin was to further add to the pack's complement.
The 10th birthday of the Tuesday Club was celebrated on 12 December 1978 when over fifty members, past and present, were in attendance at the Stagecoach Inn. Rev and Mrs Callan who were at the Parish when the club
Upwards of one hundred senior citizens attended the Ballymacash Social Club's Annual Christmas Dinner while the Xmas Fare had realised £1568, important income when one was to accept that the bank overdraft stood at £13076.
1979 saw the retirement of the Rector of Derriaghy Rev Canon RC Ellis. His successor Rev JTR Rodgers, the present Rector of St Stephens Parish being particularly well known to the Ballymacash congregation as he had served as a curate assistant in Derriaghy in the early 1960s with particular responsibility for Ballymacash.
Peter McMeekin was awarded second place in the under eight age group of a Christmas Card competition in connection with the international Year of the Child while Alison McMeekin was highly commended for her entry in an older age group.
The 13th Easter Vestry held on 19 April 1979 reported that the debt had been reduced by £7300 in the past year, a remarkable achievement while freewill offerings had accounted for £ 11300.01 !
May 1979 saw the death of Rev Nabney who had recently celebrated his 93rd birthday. Ten girls, seven boys and three adults were confirmed on 27 May . The Pathfinders group despite having only completed its first session was now the second largest group in Northern Ireland.
A new set of uniforms for the Lisburn Young Defenders Flute Band were dedicated and the members made a presentation of a suitably inscribed Bible.
A 21st Anniversary Dinner of the Ballymacash Branch of the Mothers Union was held in the Stagecoach Inn on 15 January 1980. There were thirteen members in the branch who had attended that inaugural meeting and each of the founder members were presented with a small gift by the Diocesan President Mrs Sheila Hughes who in turn received a momento from Mrs Muldrew, the first secretary of the branch.
May 30, 1980 was to see the presentation of Queen's Badges to Alison Elliott, Denise Gamble, Evelyn Kelly at Carrickfergus Castle while Vivien Gamble was to receive the Queen's Badge before the year was out.
Pond Park Primary School opened its doors on September 1 with Mr J Maginness its first Headmaster. Mr A Wylie, who had been scout leader for the past six years and had seen the troop grow from five to twenty-five was to resign prior to the opening of the new session.
The Canon reported at the 15th Annual Easter Vestry on 23 April 1981 that he received a donation of £200 from St Mark's, Portsmouth while Canon Barr had been appointed Dean of Connor. Despite it now costing in the region of £55 per day to run the Parish, the Canon reported that the debt had now been cleared and that in 1982 the surplus of income over expenditure was £4800.
Catherine McGeown, Joyce Pattopn and Sheelagh Reynolds each received the
Queen's Badge on 28 April 1981 at Hillsborough Castle.
The September 1981 magazine reported that parishioner Ernest Eccleston's Paint and Paper Shop had been badly damaged in a terrorist bomb explosion in Market Street. First Lisburn Presbyterian Church also had every window blown out including many beautiful and valuable stained glass windows.
David Smyth was presented with the Chief Scouts Certificate by the Chief Commissioner in Belfast City Hall. He was the first of the troop to receive this award.
The choir for the first time was to be involved in an exchange with Christ Church, with the latter singing in St Mark's on Sunday 15 November. The waste paper collections which had raised in excess of £1,000 were to cease at the end of 1981 and the Rector paid tribute to the sterling work of the Patton and McMurray families for their efforts in this particular fund-raising event.
Over one hundred candles lit the precincts of the Church on 20 December with Mr and Mrs McMurray and Colin Latimer helping the sexton and his family in the layout. Elaine Patterson was presented with her Queen's Guide Certificate by Mrs Prior, the wife of the Secretary of State while the District Commissioner Mrs Catney presented Elaine with her badge at a ceremony in Lome Guide House.
The Cub Scouts won the District 5-a-side title beating the reigning champions 5th Lisburn Tigers by the only goal of the game. The side on that occasion was Jonathan MacKinnon (Capt.), Geoffrey Alderdice, Jason Mateer, Ian McKnight, Colin Moore, Andrew Brown, Cecil Chapman, Martin Colvin and Keith Wilson.
2 May 1982 saw the dedication of the Brownie Packs first colours flag which was presented by Tracey Malcolm, the daughter of the Brownie Guide leader. The Expandite Shield was won against the might of twelve other packs: the team was Nicholas McPherson, Geoffrey Alderdice, Ian McKnight Richard Boomer, Jonathan McCaughtry, Philip Moore and Timothy Neill.
Concern was being expressed in the neighbouring Parish of Derriaghy by the Very Rev WNC Barr, Dean of Connor, in the dramatic fall in the number of communicants. While over 300 had been confirmed over the 21 years he had been Rector of Derriaghy, there appeared to be only an average of eighty communicants. In St Mark's 178 had been confirmed in the twelve years Rev Jones had been in the parish but there had been 79 communicants in attendance at one of the major Church festivals, Easter Day.
The 55th Anniversary of the founding of the 1st Ballymacash Scout Group was celebrated on 19 November 1982 with many former leaders and members being joined by the Mayor of Lisburn, Alderman W Belshaw and his wife. He presented the Rector with a plaque of the borough coat of arms. The Rector's fifty years of association with scouting was also marked by a presentation of a pewter tray, a thumbstick and a beautifully designed piece of lacework in the scout emblem.
Prior to 1927 there were three patrols in Ballymacash, which was part of the Derriaghy Troop and thus registered in the Belfast District. Registration was changed to 1st Ballymacash in 1927 with the Derriaghy Group (22nd Belfast) celebrating its 70th Anniversary the previous year.
At the 16th Easter Vestry in April 1982 the Hon Treasurer reported that the parish was in a more than reasonable financial position: the last of six instalments of £1200 had been paid to the RCB in 1981 in settlement of the loan given to help finance the building of the new Church and Hall, the overdraft in the bank had been clerared and that for the year ended 1981 the freewill offerings had increased to £16115, an increase of some £3000 on the previous year. Covenants had also increased to £5000.
If the parish was to fulfill its effective pastoral role in the rapidly expanding area - there were likely to be 800 new houses built in the district over the next four years - then there would be a requirement for a full-time pastoral assistant. While the Parish presently had been most appreciative of the help which Rev Graham from Stoneyford was able to give, it was by many onlookers considered that this link with Stoneyford Parish was not a natural unit. While a decision on this was deferred for a further year the Hon Secretary was soon to report that the Diocesan Office had given approval for a full-time curate assistant to be made available to the Parish of Ballymacash with Stoneyford Parish being established as a Bishop's curacy.
With the constraints which such a potential increase in the number of parishioners would undoubtedly create, the possibility of building a Minor Hall adjacent to the present Church was also considered and discussed with the Archdeacon and the Dean. It was reported that the sale of the old Church to the Lisburn Reformed Presbyterian Church could be put towards such a purpose.
Agreement for the sale of the old Church was reached with The Reformed Presbyterian Church, the price being £35,000 and the Select Vestry recommended its sale to the RCB and Diocesan Council with the provision that the funds should specifically be used in the purchase of a much -needed minor hall.
Ballymacash was to be asked to contribute £350 pa on covenants over a four-year period as part of the Diocese of Connor's £ 150000 towards the £400000 building debt on St Anne's Cathedral.
The parish was to lose one of its true stalwarts Walter Refausse in June 1982. The loyalty to organisations which he had served knew no bounds and he had been ever present at worship on Sunday mornings.
A major renovation and modernisation of the Rectory's kitchen commenced in the latter part of the year, the first since it was purchased back in 1967. New cupboard units were fitted, walls were re-tiled, some wiring was effected, a new cooker installed, a new and larger window built and painting undertaken.
Fifteen scouts and two leaders from Ballymacash attended the first Northern Ireland International Scout Camp held in Castle Archdale on 28 July - 6 August to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Scouting. Peter Stewart received the congratulations of the pack when he received the world scout badge. David Smyth was to become the first Ballymacash scout to attend a World Jamboree when he was invited to Calgary in July 1983.
Rev Graham was thanked at the 17th Easter Vestry in April 1983 for his help over the years in the district and was to return later in the year to be presented with a cheque for £250 with which he was to purchase a piano and a suitably inscribed New International Version of the Bible.
The subject of accommodation for the new curate assistant was raised at the Vestry and although it was agreed that the parish should purchase accommodation it was decided in the short term to rent 7 Adlon Gardens, a furnished 1050 sq ft house, for £160 per month. The sale of the old Church had been completed for £34,366.23 after payment of legal fees and it was suggested that because other loans and grants would be available for the purchase of a hall, then it would be more appropriate to use these funds to purchase the curatage. A small sub-committee later recommended that the parish should purchase a semi -detached bungalow at 11 Fulmar Avenue. Investigation into a leanto Minor Hall suggested that, excluding professional fees and VAT, the cost would be in the region of £49000.
April 1983 saw the burial of Hubert Goffe, a member of the Select Vestry and a Glebe Warden in the early Seventies who was unfailing in his attendance as a communicant at the early morning service. He even enjoyed his communion at home, reported the Rector, when illness prevented him from attending church.
The parish's first curate assistant was to be the Rev Mervyn McCullagh, senior curate assistant at the Parish of Inver in Larne. He was to complete four years there and in Holy Orders by the end of June. Canon Jones had received a most favourable recommendation from his Rector, Rev Canon LA Fair. Married in December last to Hilary he was to meet the Select Vestry on 9 May 1983.
Pamela McMurray and Janette Knowles gained the Duke of Edinburgh Gold awards while Kerry Gordon was to receive her Queen's Guide Certificate from the President of the Ulster Girl Guides at Carrickfergus Castle. Cardell McIlroy, aged just 13, also completed her Queen's Guide Badge while the link which had been established almost five years previous with Stoneyford Parish was to be finally severed on July 1, the date on which Rev McCullagh officially joined St Mark's.
Mrs Margaret Irwin who with Mrs J Neill had been working towards the Advanced Beaver Award, was to take over as Leader of the Beaver Pack in succession to Mrs Audrey Gifford whose husband Bob was being transferred by the Goodyear Tyre Company to Malaysia.
September saw the new Mothers Union banner being dedicated by Bishop GA Quinn. Mrs C Muldrew, a founder member of the branch carried the banner and was escorted by Mrs A Armstrong (branch secretary) and Mrs S Gamble (branch treasurer).
Sharon Reid and Deborah Finnegan became the latest to receive a Queen's Guide Award.
Stephen Somerville was presented with the Chief Scout Award on 5 November 1983 at Ballymena Town Hall while the Xmas Fare realised £2470.
The Mothers Union held their 25th Anniversary Dinner in the Down Royal early in 1984 with guests Bishop and Mrs McCappin and Mrs E Darling, the Diocesan President. Entertainment was by Gaslight.
Jayne Halliday, Karen Dobbin, Irene Hewitt, Lynne Spence and Ingrid Thompson added their names to the list of Ballymacash winners of the Queen's Badge.
The Select Vestry was to receive a letter from Derriaghy Parish stating that it would no longer be possible to supply graves for Ballymacash parishioners as there were no graves beyond the needs of Derriaghy Parish.
A new top award was designated in Guiding, namely the Badgn-Powell Blue Trefoil and it was not surprising that we did not have long to wait until the first awards were being made to Lynne Spence, Jayne Halliday, Kerry Gordon and Cardell McIlroy.
Rev Jones was presented with the Silver Acorn at Wallace High School by Chief Scout Major General Walsh. Thirty-five parishioners took part in a sponsored walk organised by James Morrison which raised £350 for the provision of copies of the new Alternative Prayer Book.
£12089.69 was left from the sale of the old Church after the purchase of 11 Fulmar Avenue while the Xmas Fare accummulated £2400.
Janet McMeekin and Maurice Elliott gained the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards presented at Buckingham Palace.
At the Easter Vestry on 18 March 1985 the Rector was congratulated on his election to Canon and he was presented with a hi-fi system by Prof Roberts on behalf of the parish while the Mothers Union made a presentation of a polyester cotton surplice. The choir also marked the occasion with a record of The Requiem by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a gift token. His installation was held on Sunday 14 April in St Anne's Cathedral.
Expenditure within the parish had increased by £5200 but fortunately income was also up by £7000. Daily running costs were estimated to be in the region of £100.
Tom Casement replaced Prof Roberts as Hon Secretary, a post the latter had held for thirteen years.
A cupboard and shelf of mahogany for the vestibule were donated by Mrs W
Corken in memorium of her late husband while a ciborium was donated in
memorium of the late James Swarbrigg.
Dear Parishioners of St Marks
Some months later, Hilary and I were on the move to take up residence at 7 Adlon Gardens, where the parish had secured the lease of a furnished house for one year. Thus the first full curacy of Ballymacash was established.
The parish at that time was undergoing great expansion with new housing estates being built at a number of locations. I remember beating tracks to freshly painted doors in search of new parishioners and the joy that came in finding them. The established round of visits brought its own joy as I was welcomed into the homes of the parish.
In the Spring of 1984 the parish purchased 11 Fulmar Avenue to serve as a residence for the curates of Ballymacash. The Glebewardens and a number of parishioners worked hard to get the house in order and we moved there in early July. One of the bedrooms served as the study and from its window there was a fine view of the Mournes to which recourse could be made in moments of reflection. These were perhaps rare moments, because for the most part I remember being on the go in a parish that was full of life. It was good to share in that life and to have the feeling that one was in the right place at the right time. Above all I remember the dedication of the Rector with whom I served and whose ministry enriched us all.
I am delighted to contribute to this booklet celebrating twenty-one years of the parish as a full incumbency and wish you well in all your endeavours to further the purposes of the Kingdom in the Parish of Ballymacash.
With Best Wishes
Mrs Kitty Muldrew announced that she would be resigning after 33 years in the choir and Mrs Jones presented her with a tape recorder.
By September Rev MA McCullagh had accepted a curacy for pastoral responsibility in the Parishes of St Anne and St Stephen in the centre of Dublin.
The records showed that St Mark's now had 426 families and 1334 individuals resident within the parish while a further 95 families and 279 individuals were resident outside the parish but with parish connections bringing a total of 521 families and 1613 individuals.
Mr J Malloy was welcomed as Principal of Pond Park Primary School in succession to A Maginnes at the beginning of the new session.
Copies of 'Hymns for Today' which had been received by an anonymous donor were dedicated on 30 September while less than a fortnight later Annie Totten one of the parish's oldest families was to be buried. She had come to live at Glenavy Road some 47 years ago and had been within a few weeks of her 91st birthday. Her husband had died a few years previous aged 93.
The organ fund was raised as an issue on 20 January 1986 at the Select Vestry but the credit of £312000 was looked upon 'as good but gave no cause for complacency'. Wells Kennedy Partnership quoted £14000-£20000 for a pipe organ.
Although 1986 opened with the parish looking forward to having full-time clergy assistance shortly with the Rector interviewing a number of candidate, the parish was to lose a number of well-known parishioners.
Mrs. Lena Turner aged 96 while Tom Von Essen who had come to Ballymacash some twenty years previous was almost eighty and was a familiar sight walking his dog up and down the Antrim Road.
Later in the year Ethel Refausse, in her 89th year and a member of a long established family in Ballymacash was buried. An indefatigable worker at the time of the extension in 1954, and one of the prime movers in forwarding that project, she was the treasurer of this area then under Derrighy Parish.
In the Rector's address to the Easter Vestry on 3 April 1986 Canon Jones recalled that "just ten years ago we had been in possession of our then new building for six months. Now in 1986 we face the building of a minor hall to provide for our needs."
Paul Hewitt was to be the parish's second curate assistant with his ordination at St. Marys Church, Crumlin Road on 22 June to which a coachload of parishioners from his father's parish had travelled over 150 miles. Rev. Hewitt's first sermon in the parish was to be on 29 June.
Costs of running the parish continued to grow and it was reported in the September edition of the magazine that heating for the parochial hall during the winter quarters had cost £ 1000.
Janet McMeekin and Joy Patton had travelled over to London to be presented with the Duke of Edinburgh gold awards at St. James' Palace.
After a long time in planning and receiving permissions of one kind or another from various bodies the decision to proceed with a new hall was given the final go ahead. Tenders considered by the Select Vestry had been accepted and contracts completed. The main contract was awarded to Park Construction Company, with plumbing and electrical work sub-contracted to Hall Brothers and A Walker of Hillsborough respectively. The contract was to amount to £42000 excluding professional fees. The building fund at the outset stood at £223000.
Howard Ingram then covenant secretary was asked to perform the opening ceremony due to his close oversight of the building. With architect Mr. M. Bryson a parishioner and the principals J. Coburn and J. Bains of Park Construction, the builders also having close connections with the church the Canon Jones Hall was to be completed at a slightly reduced cost.
Presentations of gallery trays were made at the dedication of the Halls on Saturday 7 February 1987 by the Churchwardens to M. Bryson and H. Ingram while the Rector gave a small gift to the Bishop's wife Mrs. McCappin as a memento of the occasion. The collection lifted at the Official Opening was £550 and boosted by a cheque of £200 by the builders Park Construction Company.
Rev. Canon J.R. Musgrave had severed his connections with the parish the previous August but the Rector expressed on behalf of the parish his appreciation for a very supportive colleague, whose high quality of preaching and pastoral care won him much praise.
The annual sponsored walk under the guidance of James Morrison realised over
£900 while the 1986 Xmas Fair brought in its highest total to date... over
When I first arrived in St Mark's for the first time I not only didn't know where I was going but I didn't know what I was letting myself in for.
On my first weekend visit I noticed there were slightly more people in the congregation than I had been used to (coming from the South) and what is more I noticed a really good-looking Churehwardeness...so that sealed it for me and I have never looked back. (1 married the Churchwardeness!)
What very much struck me in the beginning and which continues to do so to this day was the tremendously warm welcome I received from the then rector Canon Warren Jones and his wife Hannah. The time I spent under his guidance I will never forget and will always treasure. For a young inexperienced deacon to move to what was in effect a different world, I couldn't have wished for or prayed for a better start in my ministry. For this I will be forever grateful to them both. This welcome spilled over into the congregation and they took me under their wing willingly and ungrudgingly - thank God.
In simple terms the people of St Mark's were to me very accepting and open and always prepared to enjoy their worship, and so it is with joy and thanks that I remember them all, both young and old, for there was great variety not only in age but in belief, temperament and tradition.
It is a sad fact that the only news that comes out of Northern Ireland seems to be bad news. Consequently the North gets a bad press generally. And when I would return top friends down South I would testify to the truth that there is so much good in Northern Ireland, for I found it in St Mark's Parish, Lisburn.
With every blessing Paul Hewitt
David Casement was selected as one of two Co Antrim representatives in the Northern Ireland troop to attend the International Jamboree in Australia (Xmas 1987) while Jayne Best, Claire Somerville and Margaret Hewitt completed their Baden Powell Trefoil awards.
The Youth Group was re-introduced after a lapse of some fourteen years under the guidance of the curate assistant.
Out of 351 subscribers to the parish, it was recorded that 54 gave between £100-£199, 114 gave between £50£99, 82 gave between £25 and £49 and 57 gave between £10 and £24 - facts which sadly suggested that some 190 families did not contribute to the finances of the parish in 1987. This, despite covenants of £18800 saw the Parish in the 'red' by £ 16000 although this included the overdraft for the hall.
Since the last Christian Renewal Programme in 1984 it was proposed that a 20% increase in income was required as total expenditure had soared to £33759 i.e., £92 per day is required to run the parish. A team of 46 men agreed to visit the five hundred homes in the parish. David Hilland and David Casement were awarded the Chief Scouts award, the first time this had been presented since the new badge system was introduced while Ruth Otterburn, Judith Gordon, Heather Moore and Tracey Malcolm each gained the Baden Powell Trefoil award.
The Mothers Union mounted an imaginative exhibition in the Church as part of the centenary celebrations.
Kathleen Weir for the second time in three years finished runner-up in the annual league badminton tournament while Derek Elliott and Norman Spence defeated Eddie Matchett and William Martin in an all-St. Mark's final in the Ergas Alpha Tournament.
Parishioner Norman Drummond was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1987 civil honours list. Norman had recently retired from the Civil Service as Under Secretary in the Department of Economic Development. The parish however bade farewell to the Nethercott and Otterburn families, the former bound for Australia and the latter for the United States. Bill Quigley took over as superintendent of the Sunday school in succession to Mr Otterburn while Mrs Jones was to stand down after seventeen years of unstinting service as Kindergarten superintendent to be succeeeded by Mrs R Duncan. Rev Hewitt, who had been ordained in Lisburn Cathedral on 28 June 1987 was to be presented with a Master of Arts hood on 2 August by the Select Vestry.
The end of the year saw considerable fund-raising within the parish, with the Xmas Fare contributing £2340 to the Church coffers while the Mothers Union donated £ 1000 from the proceeds of their nearly new shop in September and £200 from their stall in the Fare.
Mrs Jones was commissioned Vice President of the Mothers Union, a much deserved honour for the many years of devoted service she had given to this particular organisation. The New Year saw the death of one of the parish's oldest members Mrs Margaret Drennan, aged 101.
At the 22nd Easter Vestry the Rector reported that there were now 550 families in the parish which had been, it should be recalled, established as a curacy back in 1967.
Congratulations were extended to J McLoughlin who returned from New Zealand as world champion in the bowling fours. Sharon Bates, Tracey Browne, Amanda Clarke, Louise Crichton, Suzanne Field, Clare Finegan, Janice Gibson, Beverley Reid, Kirsty Simpson, Trinas Somerville and Julie Yarr were each presented with their Baden Powell Trefoil's at Lome.
September was to mark the end of an era in the Parish of St Mark's when Canon Jones retired. "The will to continue was strong" he told parishioners "but the flesh was weak." There would be a need for a strong energetic person to lead the parish with a great unfolding future he proposed. He had been dogged by prolonged and unrelenting ill-health which enforced his premature retirement on medical advice after a period of eighteen years in Ballymacash.
Canon Jones would also undoubtedly miss greatly the contact he had established with the local schools. He was a member of the school management committee of Ballymacash since 1970 including a period as Chairman, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Pond Park Primary since it was opened in 1981 and a member of the committee in Laurelhill High School since it opened in 1974 and was presently its Chairman. Mrs Jones was also actively involved in the local schools as she had served on the committee of Killowen since it opened in 1974 and was presently its chairperson. The Select Vestry made a presentation on 20 June to the Rector of a Hebrew Bible, the language he had taken considerable pleasure and interest in over many, many years.
The Rector wrote his farewell letter in the September magazine and looked forward to setting up his new home in a retirement bungalow in the Church of Ireland Housing Association complex in Lisburn. At a presentation on 7 September the parish gave Canon Jones a recliner chair with a gold locket for Mrs Jones in addition to a cheque.
The new Rector was appointed and announced in the November edition of the Parish News. Rev George Irwin had been Rector of Movilla Parish in Newtownards for the past three years. He was formerly a curate in St Paul's and Seagoe Parishes. His wife Deirdre is a nurse in the intensive care unit in Dundonald Hospital and they have a two-year old son Richard. His institution by the Bishop of Connor the Rt Rev SG Poyntz was held on 2 December 1988.
March saw the marriage of the parish's curate assistant Rev Hewitt to Miss Chrstine McMurray. Rev Hewitt was also to bid farewell to Ballymacash after his honeymoon to take up a position as the senior curate in the Parish of Ballymena. In his farewell message he stated: "To a young bachelor curate, the parish is more than just a parish, it is family and it is friends." He also reminded the new Rector that he was not only losing a curate but also a former Churchwarden, Sunday school teacher and a vestry member all rolled into one."
"I suppose I should say sorry about that but I am not really" which typified I feel the humour which he brought to his ministry in the Parish of St Mark's.
Rev Hewitt was to be succeeded by the Rev Tom Gordon, who was to be ordained deacon by the Bishop of Connor on 18 June 1989 in St Patrick's Church, Coleraine. He was ordained to the priesthood in St Anne's Cathedral on 24 June 1990. Rev Gordon brought with him considerable expertise in his love of Church music, becoming honorary choirmaster and assisting with the publication of Irish Church Praise.
A group for boys under six years and known as Squirrels was identified within the parish and numbers doubled within a fortnight of being founded. A mothers and toddlers group was established on 20 April 1989 as was a healer prayer group.
Since July 1989 the Church minibus was proving a most valuable resource by transporting parishioners to and from worship and thus enabling many of the older parishioners to attend weekly worship.
The choir commenced a fund-raising venture early in 1990 for a set of new robes and it was to their credit that their new robes could be dedicated at a service on Advent Sunday when the special preacher was the Very Rev Jack Shearer, Dean of Belfast.
Pat Malcolm was rewarded for her 25 years of service with the Brownies while beavers were presented with silver jubilee medals to mark the 25th anniversary of beavers in the province on 25 March with the presentations made by Mervyn Douglas, assistant chief commissioner for scouting in Northern Ireland.
A major fund-raising exercise for a new organ was launched at Harvest in 1990 and by Easter 1991 the fund had been swelled to over £5000 with a very successful St Patrick's weekend Square Dance.
"1990 was another year of growth and progress with the increase in the number of families on the parish register being reflected in the growth in attendance at worship and the organisation s"reported the Rector at the 1991 Easter Vestry.
He paid tribute to David McMeekin who after 14 years of loyal and devoted service had relinquished the post of Hon Treasurer at the previous Annual General Vestry. "We owe David a great debt of gratitude not least because his term of office coincided with a significant fund-raising programme to finance new buildings. His successor Mr Norman Drummond has already done much sterling work on behalf of the parish for which we are deeply grateful."
"What the Church can attempt in God's name depends upon the commitment which her members make in response to His grace, and an important aspect of that commitment is financial" he continued.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Parish Accounts however was the evidence of rising inflation. In 1990 Mr Drummond reported that expenses had increased to £48,389 from a figure in 1989 of £43,256. This was an increase of roughly 11.5% while freewill offerings rose by £1,636 or 5% approx. Overall on the year there was a deficit of £1,727. Clearly were it not for the Gift Day we would have faced a record deficit in 1990.
For Saint Mark's was certainly no ordinary Parish. That regiment of people was a uniquely un-nerving cross-section of all life as we know it - housewives, professors, builders, stockbrokers, teachers. The list was endless. The diversity was breath-taking.
But how groundless all those fears proved to be! For as freely we broke bread and shared wine together on that Easter Sunday, so too the people of Saint Mark's freely opened their friendship to this newcomer in their midst. And that mark of friendship has been, for me, the singlemost identifying feature of the parish. Saint Mark's is truly - above all - a friendly parish.
And it is that quality of friendship which has clearly enabled so much enterprise in the parish's life. The tremendous range of organisations, responding to all kinds of needs, is an indication of the parish's breadth of vision and concern. It is this consistent thread of caring friendship which has made Saint Mark's the happy experience it is, mot only for me personally, but also for the continual stream of newcomers to the area.
Sadly though, Saint Mark's is a gathering of Christians set in a divided community and called to witness in deeply troubled times. And so it is my prayer for you all as you step towards a new century - that your joy and friendship may spill over into the wider community so that all may come to adore its Source and Author, that is Christ, the Prince of Peace.
God Bless You All
I would like to thank all those who have helped in the preparation of this
booklet, and particularly Rev George Irwin and Canon Jones, Mr and Mrs Fair,
the Scott family, Mrs Alison McKnight, Hilary Morrison and James Murphy who
have supplied material.