First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing), Warrenpoint
Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland

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News - 2016

Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan

JUNE 2016

Sunday, 15 May was yet another milestone date in the life of the ever vibrant and growing congregation in Warrenpoint. Members and friends met to offer praise and thanksgiving and to dedicate the recent improvements to both the inside, but more specifically, the outside of our Meeting House.

None of the improvements that have taken place within our congregation would have been possible had it not been for the ministry of the Rev. and Mrs Hutton among us. When the Rev. Hutton assumed the role of minister in 1997, he and his wife set out to grow the congregation – and with huge success. Old families returned and new families came – and stayed. The church and surrounding graveyard and car park benefit from not only the skills and talents of so many, but also from the deep love and commitment they have for this special place.

The transformation is truly remarkable. Inside, newly plastered and repainted walls; the addition of a new Communion Table which richly complements previously dedicated gifts of Elders’ Chairs, Hymn Boards and an exquisite Communion Silver cabinet. However, it is in the surrounding grounds of our church where all the hard work may be best seen. A newly levelled and resurfaced car park; remedial works to make the back door to the church level with the church path (thereby reducing the risk of flooding coming under the door and into the kitchen); re-surfacing and landscaping of the side walk which leads the visitor round to the main entrance of the church and, finally, much needed landscaping and the restoration of several headstones in the historic adjoining graveyard – in particular those of former ministers of both the Newry and Warrenpoint congregations, the Rev. George Slipper, the Rev. John Kennard and the Rev. William Mellone, Clara Magill and Christopher Warnock, one-time treasurer of Newry and benefactor of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church as a whole.

The Rev. Hutton in his address paid tribute to the work undertaken by Mr Alan McMinn and church member Mr Kenneth Wharton who, as Clerk of Works, had supervised the entire project as well as restored the aforementioned headstones. He also thanked those members of the church who had formed a working party the previous Saturday to ensure that the church and grounds looked their best on their big day. Thanks were also extended to our organist Mrs Isobel Beck and those ladies who had provided the refreshments. The retiring collection was taken up in aid of our church Building Fund.

Our last major event had been celebrating our church’s 300th anniversary in 2007. On that occasion committee members well remember attaching themselves to the marquee poles to prevent it taking off, such were the gusts of wind that circled the church on that particular day. However, some nine years later, the weather was much calmer and brighter, albeit somewhat cooler, with many members choosing to take advantage of the better weather and partake of the refreshments while sitting around the tables provided outside.

Another happy event was also celebrated on 15 May. Members of the congregation welcomed their youngest and newest member, Emma Wharton – new-born daughter of our church secretary Laura and her husband (and church treasurer) David; and grand-daughter of committee members Ian and Pamela. Emma was making her first church appearance despite only being born a week or so beforehand and we were all delighted that her parents had brought her along.

Former church secretary Anne Holmes proposed a vote of thanks to the ladies of the congregation for the refreshments. In her remarks she observed how the Warrepoint congregation had not always been so active or numerous. She remembered and thanked those who had remained with the congregation in the lean years and extended "the gratitude of the entire congregation for the work of those members and friends who had laboured so hard to bring about the transformation which members and visitors can see before them today".

Why not come along and see the work undertaken for yourself? Nestling beneath the shadow of the Mourne Mountains, there is perhaps not a prettier place to be on a sunny afternoon. Services take place on the first and third Sunday at 3.30pm. Meanwhile, the journey of the Warrenpoint congregation under the enthusiastic leadership of the Rev. and Mrs Hutton continues.

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MARCH 2016

After a splendid year of fundraising we are in a position to commence the necessary repairs to the fabric of the building.

As usual our Harvest Thanksgiving Service was held on the first Sunday of October, when we were pleased to welcome the Rev. Sam Peden back to Warrenpoint. The church was filled with members, family and friends from other churches. The praise was led by Warrenpoint Silver Band and two of the band members – Miss Sarah Thompson accompanied by Mr Matthew Dodds – also sang for us. After the service the ladies provided refreshments for everyone. Many of our visitors commented on the high standard of decoration carried out by the ladies.

Our Communion Service on Sunday, 1 November was also well attended, with 18 communicants coming forward to the Lord’s Table.

Our Candlelight Carol Service, which is the highlight of our year when our "old world" church becomes the beautiful setting for our traditional service of Readings and Carols, was held on the first Sunday of December. The church was tastefully decorated by the ladies on the previous Saturday. The praise was led by Warrenpoint Silver Band under their conductor, Mr Maurice McCabe. Three members of our united choir from Banbridge – Mr and Mrs George Wilson and Mrs June Magowan – sang for us. The offering, which is donated to the Southern Area Hospice Services, raised £390, which the Rev. and Mrs Hutton handed over to the hospice the following Monday.

Our final service of the year was held on Sunday, 20 December; this is traditionally our Christmas Service and the children look forward to the visit of Santa Claus after the service. Mrs Hutton is usually on hand to ensure that Santa Claus delivers the right parcel to each child but unfortunately, due to illness, she was unable to be present, so Mrs Pamela Wharton acted as "Santa’s Little Helper". The ladies were most disappointed that Doris was unable to be present because they had planned a surprise for her birthday – a beautiful cake and a voucher for a meal for two in the Duke Restaurant. The Rev. Hutton cut the cake and Pamela ensured that all present got a slice each.

The New Year has seen building work commence on the church; the old plaster is being hacked off and new render is in the course of being applied. One window on the gallery has been replaced through the generosity of Mrs Agnes Wharton. New metal grilles will be fitted to all the windows in keeping with those on the doors. New drains have also been laid to take away the water surrounding the walls. With good weather, the building work shall be completed by our builder, Mr Alan McMinn, before Easter.

The New Year has also seen us welcoming a new family; this is most encouraging as most Sundays our attendance has moved out of the teens into the twenties.

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I give you a new commandment: love one another; as I have loved you, so you are to love one another. If there is this love among you, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.

John 13:34-35

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17b