The Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen, has begun his first official Presbytery tour with a weeklong visit to Templepatrick Presbytery.
He kicked off the visit in Muckamore Presbyterian, where he preached, and will conclude his tour on Sunday when he speaks at OC Randalstown at the morning service and Greystone Road Presbyterian in Antrim in the evening.
Made up of 20 congregations which includes over 10,700 members, Templepatrick Presbytery takes in the towns of Antrim, Crumlin, Randalstown and Templepatrick itself and lies to the north and eastern shores of Lough Neagh. Extending to just before Toome in the northern part and as far as Ballyeaston to the northeast and Dundrod in the south of the Presbytery, it reaches to Mullusk at the Presbytery’s eastern edge.
Looking forward to the tour, Dr McMullen said, “Since June when I became Moderator, I have visited many congregations, some of them in the Presbytery. But a Presbytery Tour, however, is a very focussed opportunity to spend time with people, building relationships and seeing some of the work that they are doing in their local communities for the glory and Kingdom of God.”
“During my year in office I will undertake four such tours, this week in Templepatrick Presbytery being my first. In fact previous Moderators used to undertake three tours a year, so the Church is getting their money’s worth! Barbara and I are very much looking forward to this week as it will enable us to experience the life and witness of our churches and brothers and sisters in Christ at first hand. It will also be an opportunity to encourage colleagues and their families, which I am very keen to do.”
The Presbytery has arranged a busy week for the Moderator. He will be visiting six congregations, which also includes a joint mid-week service in First Randalstown that is open to members across the Presbytery. At Templepatrick Presbyterian he will attend a 24-hour prayer meeting and a Presbyterian Women’s coffee morning at Loanends Presbyterian.
Dr McMullen will also visit some of the key industries and public services in the area. These include Antrim Area Hospital, Belfast International Airport, Randox Science Park, Greenmount College and the Police Service in Antrim. Education is also on the agenda with visits to Riverside Special School in Antrim and the Integrated Primary School and College in Crumlin. Dr McMullen will also pay a courtesy visit to the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, where he will have lunch.
Rev Desi Paul, minister of Crumlin Presbyterian Church and Clerk of Templepatrick Presbytery said that Dr McMullen would visit a dairy farm and attend a 100th birthday party for a member of First Randalstown. He will also encourage the work of Christians Against Poverty, which all the Presbytery’s congregations are involved.
“We are delighted to welcome the Moderator and Mrs McMullen to the Presbytery. Dr McMullen’s theme for his year in office is ‘Building Relationships – Christ’s love compels us’ which is so important as we strive to do just that in our congregations and in our local communities. We hope this visit allows Dr McMullen to experience some of the diversity of activities and businesses that are part of the life of our Presbytery on a day-to-day basis.”
“He will meet many of our ministers and pastoral personnel at a breakfast we are holding for him, and will also preach at some services, including our United Midweek Service in First Randalstown on Wednesday evening. It will be a busy week,” Rev Paul concluded.
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