MEMBERS of Ballywillan Men’s Fellowship were given an insight into the life of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church at their meeting last Thursday morning.
The Very Rev. Dr. Ian McNie was minister of Trinity Church in Ballymoney when he was elected Moderator in March 2015 in succession to Rev. Dr. Michael Barry. He took up office the following June. The Moderator serves for one year only, after which he returns to ministerial duties in his own congregation. Dr. McNie’s term of office therefore ended in June of last year when he handed over to the Most Rev. Dr. Frank Sellar, the current Moderator.
Commencing with a brief description of his installation service at the annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Belfast, Dr. McNie went on to recall various civic and church events which he had attended during his year in office.
These had included attendance at the Welsh Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and a visit to Malawi in support of the work of the Presbyterian missionaries serving there. The latter event had been memorable in that on one occasion he had had to carry out 70 individual baptisms!
Dr. McNie had also visited military chaplains at the Catterick Army Camp in England as well as undertaking three week-long presbytery tours in various parts of the Province.
The Police Service, the Lifeboat Institution, the Prisons Service and various other voluntary and charitable groups had all been included in his pastoral programme, as well as courtesy visits to other places of worship which had given him a unique opportunity to interact with the members of other faiths.
Dr. McNie returned to his Ballymoney charge in June last year, from which he retired in November.
The former Moderator’s talk, which was supported by an excellent visual presentation, proved of much interest to the members and a number of questions were answered by Dr. McNie. He was thanked by the Fellowship president Dr. Michael Gardiner.
This Thursday (23 February) there will be a talk on the history of the Salvation Army by Timothy Cook.
Meetings of Ballywillan Fellowship commence informally at 10.30am with tea/coffee and chat in the Link area of Ballywillan Presbyterian Church Hall, Portrush. Talks start at 11am.
Now in its 23rd year, the Fellowship was created to promote friendship and fellowship among retired and semi-retired men of all denominations and none. Visitors are always welcome. In addition to an annual membership fee there is a small subscription to cover speakers’ expenses, but casual visitors are always welcome.