This weekend I was deputising for the Moderator, Dr Hamilton, and had the privilege of attending the services for the re-opening of two church buildings in County Londonderry and County Down. Both buildings were splendid, and were full to capacity for the re-opening services.
The congregation of Upper Cumber in Claudy, County Londonderry, have done an excellent job in re-building their meeting house. It was a beautiful sunny evening in the Sperrins, and we were thrilled by the congregation that assembled for the celebration. The village of Claudy has made international headlines in recent weeks following investigations into the bombing of the village by the IRA thirty-eight years ago. It is reassuring to see that the Presbyterian congregation remains vibrant and is looking to the future with great hope and much faith. The supper, as you would expect in a country congregation, was superb.
Loughaghery congregation is tucked away in the rolling hills of County Down outside Hillsborough. What an impressive job they have done in extending and re-furbishing their meeting house! Afternoon tea following the service included some delicious fruit loaf and was absolutely delightful.
Congratulations to my two ministerial colleagues, Rev Hiram Higgins and Rev Leslie Patterson, who have guided their congregations through to the completion of these excellent projects. May the new facilities in both places be well-used to further the Gospel and to extend Christ’s kingdom.
A weekend like this makes me optimistic about the future of our church. While church is not primarily about buildings and property, the commitment and energy of these two smaller congregations to their building projects is evidence of the health and vitality of the church, and that under God, it is seeking to fulfil its mission of bringing glory to Him.