Moderator returns to his roots
Presbyterian Moderator Dr Roy Patton returns to his roots this weekend when he travels to County Monaghan to open a renovated hall in Newbliss and preach at a presbytery rally in Ballybay.
"Monaghan people were delighted when one of their own was elected as Moderator and his visit this weekend gives us the opportunity to show our appreciation of Roy and the contribution he and his family have made to the life and witness of the church both locally and further afield," explains Clerk of the Monaghan Presbytery Rev Sam Anketell.
The Moderator's visit begins with officially reopening the renovated church hall at Newbliss at 3.30pm on Sunday 27 January. The Sunday School Rooms as they are known had fallen into disrepair and with help from the Board of Mission in Ireland €45,000 has been spent to refurbish the hall and provide up to date facilities for the congregation and better accommodation for the various church groups that meet there.
The congregation is currently without a minister but vacancy convener Rev Daniel Reyes-Martin says that there is great enthusiasm in the congregation. "The completion of the redevelopment of the halls and the support from the wider church has been a great encouragement to the congregation who are now looking forward to calling a new minister and to the challenges that lie ahead as they continue their Christian witness in the area."
Then at 7.30pm the Moderator will be back in his home congregation of First Ballybay to preach at a presbytery wide service that will be conducted by the Moderator of Presbytery and minister of First Ballybay, Rev William Buchanan.
"Roy is a regular visitor home to see his brothers who continue the family farming tradition and to see his mother who still lives locally," said Mr Buchannan. "The service is an opportunity for old friends, former school mates and others to hear Roy preach, congratulate him and to catch up on old times."
"I owe a lot to Monaghan community who shaped much of what I am today," commented the Moderator who is very much looking forward to the weekend and who has already enjoyed several official visit to Monaghan during his year of office including being the chief guest at Prize Day at his former school, Monaghan Collegiate.
"The mood here is very positive especially with the recent influx of new ministers and I hope my visit will further encourage Presbyterians here in their fine tradition of Christian witness to all in the community," added Dr Patton.