Report and photos by Arthur McCartney
The Church of Ireland Men’s Society opted to travel by train for their outing to Derry during June, making use of Smart Passes.
A total of 49 members enjoyed the day out. Twenty one members from Armagh, Moira, Lisburn and Bangor joined the coach at Great Victoria Street, Belfast, a further 13 from Cregagh and Holywood joined at Belfast Central, 12 from Carnmoney and Cloughfern joined at Mossley West, and eight from Portstewart and Killead joined at Coleraine. The last five met the train on arrival in Londonderry.
From the station the men made their way on foot or by car to the Derry & Raphoe Diocesan Centre for a welcome cup of tea or coffee kindly organised by the Diocesan Secretary.
Bishop Ken Good and Dean William Morton made the visitors welcome before they proceeded to the newly renovated St Columb’s Cathedral where final landscaping was being completed before the Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication for the Cathedral to be held on June 9. The interior of the Cathedral looked magnificent after the work.
A Service of Holy Communion was conducted by Bishop Ken Good assisted by Dean Morton and the CIMS Secretary, the Dean of Armagh, and Bishop elect of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, the Very Rev Patrick Rooke. Organ accompaniment for the hymns was provided by the Dean who climbed the spiral staircase to the organ loft at the appropriate times.
After the Service the group went to St Augustine’s Parish Hall where the Ladies’ Guild provided soup and sandwiches.
After lunch they were met by Martin McCrossan who took the group on a whirlwind tour of the centre of Derry and the Walls. Martin has guided many famous people around the city and provided local and historical information in an entertaining manner.
The tour finished at the Guildhall where the group was met by the recently elected Mayor, Maurice Devenney, who spoke about how hopeful he was for the future of the City.
The Men’s Society then crossed the river to Brown’s Restaurant for a delicious dinner.
During the meal a presentation was made to CIMS General Secretary, the Very Rev Patrick Rooke, who will be leaving the Society when he is consecrated as Bishop. Wilfred Young thanked him for his leadership and wished him well and presented him with a suitably inscribed picture containing a ceramic representation of Armagh’s two cathedrals.
After the meal the group boarded the train for our return journey to Belfast.
Connor branches who took part in the outing included All Saints, Eglantine; St Mark’s, Ballymacash; St John’s, Malone; Church of the Evangelist, Carnmoney; Cloughfern and Agherton, Portstewart.