The congregation of First Presbyterian Church, Portadown, honoured me with a reception at which I was presented with moderatorial robes. Diane, Beryl, and Heather were the three women who served on the Hearing Committee that recommended my call to the congregation, and they made the presentation. I believe that their persistent prayers were a significant factor in my coming to be in Portadown.
The moderatorial robes are a bit more ornate than the regular Geneva gown and have “frogging” or tassles added. For quite a number of years now, Stewart Christie’s in Queen Street, Edinburgh, have supplied the moderatorial garb for both Scottish and Irish moderators. Visiting them to get measured for the robes was quite an experience, and the genial Mr Lowe did a very professional job.
Also present at the reception were three former moderators of the General Assembly with close links to First Portadown. William Craig was minister of the congregation for over 30 years and is now in his 91st year. Harry Allen is a former member of the congregation, and John Finlay’s father, Bert, was lay assistant to Dr Craig for many years. It was great to have them share in the service. They are good men and dear brothers who have been so helpful and supportive.
There was a very good congregation present. Mr Ivan Stirling, Clerk of Session in Armagh Road congregation, brought the warm greetings of the minister and congregation of Armagh Road, and that was greatly appreciated. Rev Dr David Clements of Edenderry Methodist Church spoke on behalf of other churches in our area. My successor in Carnmoney congregation, Rev John Dickinson, was also kind and generous in his remarks as he conveyed the good wishes of the many folks from Carnmoney who came along.
The whole evening was wonderfully enjoyable. Thanks to everyone for their contribution and especially to Dennis, George and Jack for their work. Most importantly, Jimmy McKittrick and his team provided a great supper.