IT was an emotional afternoon on Sunday for the Church of Ireland Primate, The Most Reverend Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh, as he conducted his last ever Confirmation Service at St Patrick’s Church, Ballyclog.
“I am passing on the baton to the next generation’, the Archbishop acknowledged as he opened the service, during which he confirmed twenty four young people from Brackaville, Donaghendry and Ballyclog parishes.
“This is an exciting event for our churches and our young people,’ said the Rector, Reverend Andrew Rawding, ‘as we hope to develop our youth ministry and help these young people grow in faith.”
Godparents and relatives assembled for
the service in a packed church, and listened to a sermon in which the Archbishop encouraged the young people to follow and trust the example of Jesus, caring for outsiders and giving voice and support to those with disabilities. The lesson was read by Erin Bloomer, one of the candidates from Bush, Dungannon. The young people also received Holy Communion for the first time.
After the service the new Ballyclog Church Hall was officially opened by the Dean of Clogher, The Very Reverend Kenny Hall, who is a former Rector of Ballyclog.
The Dean was joined by the Archbishop, Glebe Warden John Evans, Sunday School Superintendent Lilian Kennedy and Quantity Surveyor Robert Harkness. As the Dean opened the hall he prayed: “As we open this new hall, may this door be wide enough to receive all those who need to learn more about the love of God. May it welcome all those who need hospitality, friendship and fellowship. May the door of this hall shut out pettiness and pride, selfishness, envy and enmity. May its threshold be no stumbling block to young or tired feet. May this hall be a shelter, and a stepping stone, on the journey of faith, for the building of the Kingdom of God.”
After the opening, the Archbishop dedicated the hall. The parish is still fundraising to pay for the new hall, which was essential to cater for the growing Sunday School, and which the parish hopes will benefit the local community. The Archbishop retires at the end of this month after five years as Primate.