Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Community Weekend at Elmwood Presbyterian Church

A Community Weekend was held in Elmwood Presbyterian Church on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May for everyone in the Ballymacash area.  On Saturday afternoon, about 500 people attended a Fun Day held in the grounds of the church where attractions included - bouncy castles, face-painting, games and a display of birds of prey.  The PSNI and Fire & Rescue Service also sent vehicles for children of all ages to explore!

Pictured at a Community Service in Elmwood Presbyterian Church on Sunday 28th May is L to R:  (seated at front) Laureen Lunn, Trevor Lunn - Deputy Mayor, Rev Andrew Thompson, the Mayoress - Mrs Yvonne Craig with her son Nathan, the Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Craig with his daughter Joanna, Jeffrey Donaldson MP and Mark Noble - Clerk of Session. (back row) Councillor Ronnie Crawford, Fire and Rescue Services representatives - Mark Stewart - Firefighter and Randal McComb - District Commander, Stephen Auld - Youth Worker, Wesley Gilmore - Principal of Ballymacash Primary School, Jim Millar - Chairman of Lisburn North Community Association and Mrs O Taylor - Conductor of Ballymacash Primary School choir.

A Community Service was held in the church on Sunday morning and the guests included local shopkeepers and representatives from Lisburn City Council, Schools, Health Service, Fire and Rescue, Post Office, Community groups etc.  Those attending included the Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, the Right Worshipful the Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Craig and the Mayoress - Mrs Yvonne Craig, Deputy Mayor Trevor Lunn and his wife Laureen and Ballymacash Primary School choir including the principal, Mr Wesley Gilmore and teachers Mrs O Taylor and Mrs S Brown.  The minister of Elmwood, the Rev Andrew Thompson, led the service and gave everyone a warm welcome.  Peter McKechnie and the Elmwood Worship Team led the praise; the Mayor read the Scripture lesson; Mark Noble and Kim Harshaw led the prayers.  Rachel Maguire, Rebecca McCord and Amie McClenaghan introduced �Little Zac�, �My Jesus, My Saviour� and �Song of Blessing� sung by Ballymacash Primary School Choir conducted by Mrs O Taylor and accompanied by Mrs S Brown.  In an interview with Youth Worker Stephen Auld, David McKechnie and Arran Crossey recalled the community work done by the StreetReach teams last April.

In the children�s address, Mr Thompson showed how we use the phone book to look up telephone numbers of various community services like bin collection and the local take-a-way.  He invited a young boy from the congregation to try and tear up the whole telephone book, which of course he couldn�t do.  He then pointed out that if we were to rip up one or two pages at a time, we could easily tear up the book.  From this he concluded that on our own we are not that strong, but when families come together as a community - we are stronger.  He further used the phone book to show that the spine holds the pages together and is the strongest part of the book.  He explained that just like the spine, Jesus Christ holds people together and ought to be at the centre of our community.

In the main address, he thanked the various community representatives for the work done on our behalf and highlighted the importance of being part of a more important community - the community of Jesus Christ.  He pointed that for Christian people, the ultimate citizenship is not here - it is in heaven, and that this is only a stopping-off point.  To be part of Christ�s community and heaven-bound we need to reach out and put our hand in His hand saying, �thank you Jesus for what you did for me on the cross - I want to be part of your family.  If more were to do this, what a difference it would make in our Lisburn community - not perfect - but what a difference�.

Light refreshments served after the family service provided the opportunity for people from the whole Ballymacash Community to meet, chat and make new friends.