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
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.
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
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.
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
parishioners contributed 70% of its annual income. As there had not been a
campaign for the past dozen years it was considered that the stewardship
committee of the Church of Ireland should be invited to organise a campaign
in February 1973.
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
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 described as
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
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.
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
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.
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
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..."
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."
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
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
a book ("Through the Year With William Barclay") by the Rector to mark the
occasion. Helen also received two ornaments from the Brownies and Bunnies.
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
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
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
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
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.
was originally formed, joined Rev and Mrs Jones for the birthday
celebrations. Past Presidents Audrey Gifford, Sandra Boyd and Joyce Lynn on
behalf of Audrey Shanks, Margaret Irwin and Vivienne McMeekin, who were
unable to join the celebrations, lit candles on a cake baked for the
occasion by Mrs Joyce Lynn.
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
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
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
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.
There was a new look to the monthly parish magazine courtesy of Ian
Somerville with the cover featuring a sketch of the church above a youthful
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sharon Reid and Deborah Finnegan became the latest to receive a Queen's
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
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.
The Rectory, Batinglass, Co Wicklow
Dear Parishioners of St Marks
The Parish of Ballymacash might have been in deepest rural Ireland when it
was first mentioned to me as a possible second curacy. It was on a tour of
the parish with the Rev TWW Jones that I was to learn that Ballymacash was
originally part of the Parish of Derriaghy. This came as a pleasant surprise
as my grandfather, Rev FR McCullagh, served his first curacy in that parish
in the years 1916-1917.
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
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
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
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
Parish of Ballymena
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 -
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
"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.
St Mark's Curatage, Lisburn
I write this article on Easter Sunday 1991 exactly two years since my first
contact with the Parish of Ballymacash. For it was on Easter Sunday 1989
that a rather nervous theological student stood up to read the Epistle at
the 11.00 am Eucharist. Before him - aligned like the Hosts of Median - was
a sea of faces. And what terror those faces instilled in the Curate-elect!
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
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.
I am also very much indebted to Robert Horne Paper Co who have supplied the
paper and board, Academy Lithoplates, who supplied plates and The
Universities Press who printed the publication. Without their support this
publication would not have been possible.
St Mark's has been a very friendly and warm Parish and this can be seen from
the messages from clergy and the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev SG Poyntz.
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
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
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
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