The late Tony Hall, a man with a passion for mission, is remembered by the parishioners of Magheragall who have raised £800 in his memory for Church Mission Society Ireland (CMSI).
The donations were made as a special offering collected at the service of Nine Lessons and Carols in Magheragall on December 23.
Lay Reader Tony died on August 5 last year. CMSI, a mission organisation that was close to Tony’s heart, exists to help God’s people engage in God’s mission. CMSI makes connections between different parts of God’s global family and equips churches and individuals as they work together to share God’s transforming love.
Tony’s commitment to CMSI was portrayed in an article that appeared in the ‘Ulster Star’ newspaper in November 2003, previewing a trip Tony was about to undertake in January 2004 to Kenya.
Tony was part of a team of 12 aiming to climb both Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro.
The article stated: “This will be one of the most challenging tests of Tony’s life and he is undertaking the physically gruelling marathon to raise money for a mobile clinic at Kajiado in the African country where there is a great need for health care.”
Tony is quoted as saying: “I am really looking forward to this experience. I never thought that when I retired from work in 1999 that I would be involved in such a mammoth undertaking.”
Tony, who was a member of the congregation at Lisburn Cathedral, told the ‘Star’ why he chose to undertake the challenge for Kajiado.
“This clinic needs a full-time nurse making it less dependent on provision by government departments. A full-time nurse would also assist the more secure supply of essential drugs from government stores and enable a more dependable visiting programme to be operated,” he explained.
“This is essentially a service provided by the Diocese of Kajiado as part of its social ministry, but it is carried out in conjunction with its evangelical outreach in the presentation of a holistic Gospel ministry of the Anglican Church in Kenya.
“At the moment, there is a great need for funding and the annual budget is running at around £4,000 in deficit so nothing can be done on a regular basis until more money is available. The whole team has planned to spend a day in the field with the clinic to see the programme in action which should be a very humbling and moving process for all of us.
“This is a very poor country with great need for medical treatment for many people, especially those in rural areas who cannot get to doctors and hospitals, something we take for granted.”
Tony said that the clinic’s main function was the immunisation of children and babies against the usual childhood illnesses, treatment of any illnesses presented to them and their referral, if necessary, to the nearest hospital.
He told the paper: “The mobile usually carries them to that hospital, as generally there is no other transport available. The clinic, along with community leaders, identifies the areas to be visited and a specific day is allocated to that place, so the people know when to expect a visit from the mobile.
“Money is desperately needed to continue to fund a nurse for the clinic and also for the general upkeep of the vehicle, driver, and running costs.”
Following the donation of the £800 to CMSI, Tony’s widow Amy wrote to Magheragall parishioners to thank them.
“Tony had a great love for Africa, especially Kajiado in Kenya, where he began to preach there while helping a group from home build a church for the local people,” Amy said.
“Another time he helped raise money to enable a nurse to visit the sick in the area and it is still going strong. We, as a family miss him very much and will never forget him and the love he had for many people.”
Jenny Smyth, Mission Director of CMSI, joined the parishioners in Magheragall for their service of Nine Lessons and Carols.
“I was privileged to visit Kajiado last year and see the difference that the church is making in the community it serves,” Jenny said. “Through practical demonstration of God’s love for all people in the provision of clean water, health care, education and agricultural training people come to experience and understand the fullness of life that God plans for all who follow Him.
“Thank you for your generosity in remembrance of Tony’s life in your gift to CMS Ireland as we continue to support the work of the church in Kajiado. The clinic building next door to the diocesan headquarters will stand as a tribute to Tony’s heartfelt commitment to the worldwide body of Christ.”