Tribute to Dan Craig
THE Rector of Ballintoy Parish Church has paid a warm tribute to one his parishioners who has retired from the church's Select Vestry after a remarkable 65 years.
Rev. Patrick Barton has been in charge at Ballintoy for just two years, but has already formed a firm friendship with Mr. Dan Craig whose devotion and loyalty to the church has endeared him to many.
Speaking at a function in the old schoolhouse in the village on Friday night last, Mr. Barton told the Times: "I have come to know Dan as my friend. He is a great source of information and is an inspirational figure. He is always at the church door with a friendly welcome."
Members and wives of those in the Select Vestry were present to honour 93-year-old Mr. Craig whose three sons, Clifford, Winston and Ronnie, daughter-in-law, Mary, and grandsons, Wesley and Jason, also attended the function.
In a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments abundant, the assembled audience heard Mr. Barton reveal that he was the 14th Rector under which Mr. Craig had served and the eleventh as a member of the Select Vestry.
He said the minutes of the Vestry indicated that Mr. Craig had joined the Vestry on April 13, 1944 when the Rector was the Rev. William H. Sythes.
Mr. Craig was first appointed People's Church Warden in 1957 and Rector's Church Warden in 1959, both under the then minister, Rev. T. W. W. Jones.
Mr. Barton said he had been at Ballintoy for two years and his first encounter with Dan was observing him tidying up around the church. He described him as a "very tidy man."
The Rector added: "Dan has done an awful lot of work for the church and has carried out his duties quietly and without fuss. I had hoped he would be going for his 70th, but couldn't persuade him."
Still actively involved in church affairs, Mr. Craig has been busy preparing and painting signs for the forthcoming Vintage Rally at the Rectory on Saturday, June 12.
Mr. Craig whose fresh appearance belies his 93 years, said he was honoured by the occasion.
He said the Church had recognised his service after 50 and 60 years and laughed heartily when he was told the Select Vestry were looking forward to marking his 70th.
Mr. Craig was presented with a book detailing the History of the Church of Ireland as well as a framed poem, composed by Annie Colgan, and presented by Sharon and Peter Walker.