SUNDAY, July 17 was a great day for the Church of Ireland parish of All Saints’, Loughguile.
For years the church felt under threat of closure, but in recent years the number of families has grown by 66%, and the parishioners have just officially opened their very first church hall.
This is partly due to one person - the late Mrs Mary Christie, who used to make a point of welcoming and chatting to every new person who came to a service, making them feel so at home that many of them joined the church.
Mary died a few years ago aged 91. She had been in the choir for well over 80 years, and on the Select Vestry for about 60 years. The hall was built with a generous grant from the Church of Ireland Priorities Fund, a donation from Mrs Susie Mackie, and money from Mary herself. Because of Mary’s lifetime’s service to the church, it was named the Mary Christie Hall.
Last Sunday the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Revd. Alan Abernethy, came to dedicate the hall. Also taking part were Mrs Mackie, and Eleanor and Katy Christie, great-granddaughters of Mary and regular attenders at Sunday School.
After the service, which was very well-attended, the annual parish picnic took place. It was held in the church as there was heavy rain outside, but that did not dampen the spirits of the congregation, who brought large amounts of delicious food to share with each other.