SHAM! The church group that’s embracing the Toon’s greeting

HI SHAM.  Having recently formed a mens' group called S.H.A.M. at St Patrick's Church of Ireland, it was perhaps only fitting that Minister Rev Andrew Sweeney gave our lensman the 'Sham wave'.INBM35-13 004SC.

HI SHAM. Having recently formed a mens' group called S.H.A.M. at St Patrick's Church of Ireland, it was perhaps only fitting that Minister Rev Andrew Sweeney gave our lensman the 'Sham wave'.INBM35-13 004SC.

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It may not be among the list of newly recognised words like “omnishambles” or “selfie” but that hasn’t stopped one Ballymoney clergyman from embracing the long-recognised local dialect greeting of “Sham”.

For Church of Ireland Minister Rev Andrew Sweeney has named a men’s group in the church...SHAM!

The group in St Patrick’s parish has a full title of “Sharing Hope Among Men” and was inspired by the Bangor-born cleric’s puzzlement over the gesture.

“I happened to mention one evening that someone had made a strange hand signal at me. The others just said - oh yes, that’s sham! It just means hello, what about you? I had never heard of this but as we chatted we thought it would make a great name for the men’s group. It used to be call the Men’s Society which isn’t really going to attract too many people so we thought SHAM would be a good name as it’s local and it’s all about welcoming.”

The group aims to draw men back into the faith community, to encourage each other in Christian faith and to become involved in the community.

“We hope to show that the church is there to love and not to judge. We hope that the men of Ballymoney will connect to the name and to the events we run like horse-shoe throwing, ten pin bowling and curry nights and rugby trips to Ravenhill.”