I have spent this past week visiting the Omagh Presbytery. It has been a whirlwind tour of churches, manses, farms, schools and businesses, and it has all been energising and eventful. After 27 events in 6 days, I am feeling a bit tired, but nonetheless thankful for the opportunity of seeing so much great work being carried on by Presbyterians in west Tyrone and Fermanagh.
The name of Omagh will always be associated with the Real IRA bombing of August 1998 when 29 people were killed and over 200 were injured. It was the worst atrocity of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The memory of that awful day is still fresh in the minds of many people, and many lives have been indellibly marked by the evil that was visited on Omagh that sunny Saturday afternoon.
The Omagh Presbytery stretches from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, in the north to Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in the south. I began the tour by preaching in Douglas Bridge and Ardstraw on Sunday morning, and throughout the week, as well as Ardstraw and Douglas, I visited the manses of Mountjoy and Drumlegagh, Second Castlederg, Trinity, Omagh, Dromore and Drumquin, Fintona, Clogher and Glenhoy, Cavanaleck and Aughentaine, and Enniskillen. It was good to spend some time with my colleagues and to hear of the successes and struggles of their ministries. The ministers and their wives also enjoyed a superb meal provided by a team from Gillygooley congregation in Gillygooley Orange Hall. It has been a week of memorable meetings with wonderful people engaged in a wide variety of activities. Continue reading “Omagh Presbytery Tour”