Our sister church in Banbridge recently celebrated the 300th anniversary of Presbyterianism in Banbridge. It was in 1716 that presbyterians from the town, who were connected with the congregation of Magherally, decided to press for a church of their own. Click here for more....
That means many things but among others:
- the summer is officially half way through :(
- students and their parents begin to nervously look forward to ‘A’ Level results!
You try to put it out of your head but as the month progresses there’s no escaping well meaning friends and, “…not be long now!”
For most, of course, the day will bring the good news that sufficient grades have been achieved to ensure a place at university. Many others will successfully enter and leave the “Clearing House”.
And that’s that! Fourteen years of school are behind and you look forward to Freshers’ Week
It’s an important time in life. You are “flying the nest”. At eighteen you officially become an adult and take responsibility for your own direction. Bring it on!
No doubt you’ll be making a list of all the things you have to do; things you have to find out; items you have to acquire and pack for university life.
I would suggest that your list should include spending a little quality time with your parents and friends. After all, you couldn’t have done it without them. They’ve been there at every step; helped you at every hurdle; supported you as you prepared for every exam; celebrated every success; paid for….well pretty most everything!
God values honouring our parents enough to include it in the Ten Commandments. It means to have love, appreciation, affection towards them. Honour is something that begins internally, and then it manifests itself externally. As you have honour in your heart, it comes out in your words and actions.
I know I’m a wee bit biased, but I think your parents would really appreciate you suggesting a Portrait Session to mark your “coming of age” – they’ll even pay for it!
Family all together. Job done. Everyone happy.
An important time in your life is marked. You honour your father and mother. Your parents have a beautiful portrait to comfort them when you….fly the nest!
"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing
some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
"....amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life and work,
time really is the greatest gift to give someone"
Rules of the House
Mums have been saying something similar for generations.
We've all heard it over and over again, bless her!
When we were kids we had to leave our outside shoes at the back door. Three pairs of Wellington Boots would be lined up for mum to make sure they were clean before she brought them in.
As an adult and parent, my own kids leaving lights on in the house used to bother me - A LOT!
I'd give off day after day.
Seeing the house lit up like a Christmas tree from the other end of the road, and everybody in the house in the one room, would send me into a huff. I'd make the children leave whatever they were doing, and send them to all parts of the house to turn off lights that were on - but not needed, in rooms that were not being used!
One day as I was coming down the stairs after turning empty bedroom lights off DURING THE DAY - AGAIN, the thought suddenly struck me that there'd probably come a day when the lights wouldn't be left on.
That day would be when the children had "flown the nest" - university, jobs, marriage.
I determined from that point on never to complain about the lights again.
The day when lights are not routinely left on arrived. The boys lead their own lives across the water. I miss them - and sometimes even wish that the lights were still on :)
Mother's Day is celebrated every year but those of us who look back on House Rules with a little smile don't need a special occasion to honour our mums.
Drew McWilliams| Photographer
Hands of the carpenter
Once hailed as 'the best joiner in Dromore' by a former employer, Ernie Martin's service to his own church, and others in the area, has drawn on his trade, as well as his faith.
Ernie spent 38 years working for John Graham (Dromore), reaching the managerial position of Joinery Foreman before working for several other local construction companies.
One of a family of craftsmen - his late father Walter and late brother Joe were also noted carpenters with John Graham (Dromore) - among other things Ernie turned his 'God-given' talent to making the pulpits for Banbridge Road Presbyterian Church, Dromore and Drumlough Presbyterian Church.
Described as a brilliant woodworker, he personally constructed two 16-foot windows at either side of the pulpit, as well as the sacramental War Memorial window, at First Dromore (Non-Subscribing) in the early 1980s.
Beyond that, he has for decades been actively involved in various church activities, including the Property Committee, helping to ensure the smooth running of Christian worship in the Rampart Street meeting house.
Ernie's oft-quoted life philosophy - "better wearing out than rusting out" - is equally evident in his other pursuits, which between them demonstrated an until-recently tireless athleticism, a commitment to charity, a passion for music and, again, his skill at woodworking, with which he has produced five guitars and the racing body for a 1929 Riley sports car.
A keen sportsman, he began in the mid-1980s to take part in fun-runs, only lately hanging up his running shoes, and his most recent achievements include raising £1,720 for the Paul Russell Trust Fund.
His love of music finds voice not only in his church choir, but among the ranks of the renowned Dromore and District Male Voice Choir, of which he has been a member for some 20 years. (Dromore Leader 2009)
The Special Years
A talented observer of like and song writer too....Irish singer, Val Doonican died "peacefully" recently at a nursing home in Buckinghamshire. His music was an important part of my childhood and growing up and will always take me back in my "mind's eye" to those special years in my life.
Doonican reached Number 7 in 1965 with, "The Special Years" - a song he wrote himself, no doubt as he watched his own two daughters grow:
"From pigtails to wedding bells; from pinafores to lace.
And in between are the special years, Time never can erase".
Even though it was written with little girls in mind, this song reminds me of my own happy childhood, boyhood friends and good neighbours.
Our neighbours - and they still live in the same house - were great Val Doonican fans and more often than not it seemed that Val's songs were playing when we were there.
There were no mobile phones (we didn't even have a telephone in the house), or computer games (we didn't even have calculators never mind computers), Radio 1 hadn't been broadcast and, while I wasn't usually allowed to stay up that late, TV finished before midnight.
We played outside ALL DAY with friends, our toys and our imagination.
The Special Years (Lyrics by Val Doonican)
From pigtails to wedding veils
From pinafores to lace
And in between are the special years
Time never can erase
From play toys to college boys
From little girl to wife
And in between are the special years
You remember all of your life
The special years are filled
With sweet promises and pain
But love will never taste
Quite so wonderful again
So slow up, don't rush to grow up
You'll be a woman before long
So stay awhile in the special years
Their magic will soon be gone.
Anyone else remember The Val Doonican Show on Saturday nights?
I couldn’t resist photographing this young lad as we shared a London Underground car travelling home, late one Summer night. His family had obviously been doing the tourist thing all day and were on their way back to their holiday home. He could hardly keep his eyes open with tiredness as his head lolled around.
He was in the company of strangers, on a fast moving London Tube train, in an unknown city – all sorts of things that could “harm” him around – and yet, because his daddy was there, he could allow himself the “luxury” of resting his eyes, and falling into a comfortable sleep.
How wonderful that he could have such confidence in his dad. Indeed, as the train rounded corners at speed, the father even thought to comfort his child’s head against the movement of the train.
I found myself thinking about my own dad and how I always felt secure when he was around – unless I’d misbehaved (that was a different story altogether!); dad would know just what to do; dad wouldn’t let anything hurt me. I knew I could rely on him.
Dad’s can “sprinkle stardust and whisper: “Go to sleep, everything is alright”
While on another holiday at Portballentrae I remember watching from inside our caravan, a young child playing outside on his bicycle. He fell off and into a puddle and started to cry. Just as I was about to go out to assist, his father stepped in from nearby to lift and comfort his child.
The wee fella was unaware that his father was watching over him and ready to step in. He just got on with things.
The wee fella AND his dad were unaware that I was watching over the two of them and ready to step in. They just got on with things.
Then it occurred to me, who’s to say that there’s not “someone” watching over the three of us – watching over all of us?
Maybe it’s no coincidence that we usually refer to God as, “Our Father”…
Drew McWilliams| Photographer