St Mary’s Church in Macosquin was packed on the last evening in August for the Institution of the new Rector of the Parish of Camus-Juxta-Bann, Rev Paul Lyons.
He succeeds Rev Canon Mike Roemmele who retired last Christmas.
It was a homecoming of sorts for the new Rector, who grew up only three miles away in Coleraine. ‘Home’ was a recurring theme throughout the Service, which was led by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good. Rev Lyons’ wife, Nicola, and their three children were in church, along with their grandmother.
Bishop Good remarked on the size of the congregation, describing the Service as a “significant occasion” not just for the Lyons family but for the Macosquin community. Included in the congregation were the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Cllr Brenda Chivers, the Lord-Lieutenant for County Londonderry, Mrs Alison Millar, and guests from other denominations.
The sermon was delivered by a friend of the new rector, Rev Stephen McElhinney. He said the people of Macosquin were blessed to have the Lyons family coming to the parish.
Rev McElhinney said the Gospel reading for the Service (Mark 1: 29-39, read by Rev Sam Jones) began in the synagogue – “the home of the Lord” – and spilled out into another home setting, the house of Simon and Andrew, and the preacher chose ‘home’ as the theme of his address.
Home was where we were formed, he said. God was the central one who was with us in our homes – not only with us but forming the deep relationships with which we moved out into the world. “I think one of the biggest things that, as Paul arrives here – and Nicola – is that as they come to create that ‘home’ atmosphere, they do so because God has meant so much to them, as God has brought them together, as God has gone before them creating that homely sense. And one of the great gifts that they bring to you as a parish will be that sense of home-making.
A significant number of people had travelled from Rev Lyons’ former parish, Greenisland, to mark what Bishop Good called a “bittersweet” occasion – when they said farewell to a pastor whom they had loved.
Presentations were made by the Macosquin churchwardens to Mrs Lyons, Mrs Mary Good and to all three of the Rector’s children. The Rector’s Churchwarden from Greencastle, Roger Martin, used the new incumbent’s name as an acronym of sorts, to describe the man they were getting: ‘P’ for pastoral; ‘A’ for affable; ‘U’ for understanding; and ‘L’ for loving.