Easter Vestry of Seapatrick Parish takes place

THE annual Easter Vestry of Seapatrick Parish was held in Holy Trinity Church Hall on Tuesday April 17 at 8pm.

The Area Dean, Rev Canon C B Leeke, was Chairman. He read a passage of scripture and conducted the opening devotions. Mr H. Carson was appointed secretary to the meeting.

On a proposal by Mr D Adams, seconded by Mr G Monteith, the minutes of the annual Easter Vestry meeting, dated 3rd May 2011 were adopted. There was no business arising.

The Vicar, Reverend Mark Greenstreet, began his address by reminding parishioners that the themes chosen for the last two Easter Vestry addresses had been Building and Thanksgiving. These themes were well chosen and resulted in the parish’s two church buildings being in pristine condition. A new organ had been purchased for St Patrick’s Church and the visual display system in Holy Trinity Church had been expanded. All this had only been possible through the generosity and sacrificial giving of a great many people. The parish does have a lot to be thankful for.

The Vicar then went on to say he had chosen “What lies beneath” as his theme for this year’s address. He added, it was not what was visible on the surface that caused the Titanic to sink 100 years ago but what lay beneath the water line. Similarly, the success or foundering of a church depends on not what is visible but on what underpins it or “what lies beneath”. He then said that if the trend of diminishing church attendance in Ireland is to be reversed then churches needed a vision for growth and he urged the parish, as it was about to start a new chapter with a new Rector, to develop such a vision.

Those churches in Ireland which reversed the trend of falling attendances always had something in common which was a focus on the Word of God. That is what lay beneath.

Seapatrick parish was blessed, he said, in that it had a significant number of children and young people connected to the church. He was particularly pleased to have children attending the Family Communion service this year. He added the Bishop of the Diocese, Right Reverend Harold Miller, had commented that this year’s class of confirmation candidates was one of the best he has seen. The candidates enjoyed last year’s class so much that they asked for a post confirmation series of classes.

Attendances in Seapatrick Parish had increased by 10% this year as compared to last year and special services such as Carols by Candlelight and the All Saints – Service of Hope and Remembrance had significant congregations.

The parish’s clerical team, despite being two members short for part of the year, had worked well together.

The Vicar then thanked a number of church workers which included the Church and Glebe Wardens, Holy Trinity and St Patrick’s organists and the leader of the Praise Group. He then thanked the Parish Secretary, Holy Trinity and St Patrick’s sextons and concluded this section of his address by thanking all others who contributed to the well being of the parish.

He ended his address by stating he was thrilled and humbled to be passing on to the new Rector a flock that is in such good health.

The Honorary Treasurer, Mr N. Johnston, then presented and explained the contents of the Annual Report and Statement of Accounts. He responded to queries from those in attendance and concluded his presentation by thanking the Honorary Auditors, Mr Beck and Mr McDowell. He also thanked Mr M. McCarter for his assistance and all those parishioners, who assisted him in the course of the year, for their support.

The annual report, following a proposal by Mr G. Monteith, seconded by Mr R. Harwood, was adopted.

This was Mr N. Johnston’s last report, as Honorary Treasurer, to the General Vestry and Mr H. Carson asked the Chairman to present Mr N. Johnston with a token of the parish’s appreciation of his service as Honorary Treasurer over the past 36 years. The presentation was greeted with warm applause. Mr N Johnston replied by stating he had found the task of being Honorary Treasurer rewarding and enjoyable. He went on thank all those who had assisted him over the past thirty six years.

The Honorary Auditors, Mr C. Beck and Mr H McDowell were thanked for their work on behalf of the parish.

Mr Monteith presented the Glebe Warden report. In his report, he stated the work to restore Holy Trinity Church spire had been completed. He added that a problem with flaking paint in Holy Trinity Church had been rectified.

There was, however, an ongoing problem with a leak in Holy Trinity Hall’s roof. He went on to report that the Rectory was being refurbished as the result of a Diocesan inspection and it was hoped to have the work completed prior to the institution of the parish’s new Rector. He concluded his report by stating that the glebe land had once again been let to Mr McKnight.

Appointments and Elections

Rectors’ Church Wardens: Holy Trinity - Mr D. Wheeler; St Patrick’s - Mrs S. Donaldson

People’s Church Wardens: Holy Trinity - Mr J. Heasley; St Patrick’s - Mrs G. Bingham

Rector’s Glebe Warden: Mr G. Monteith; People’s Glebe Warden: Mr D. Lowry

Select Vestry: Mr T Anderson, Mr H Barr, Mr I Burns, Mr S Cairns, Mr H Carson, Mr R Harwood, Mr N Johnston, Mrs M Jones, Mr M McCarter, Mr R Reid, Mr N Russell, Mr B Stewart.

Trustees: Mr C Beck, Mr H Carson, Mr N Johnston, Mr H McDowell, Mr T A Wilson M.B.E.

Auditors: Jones & Peters (Church Street, Banbridge)

Honorary Auditors: Mr M. McCarter and Mr D Wheeler.

Mr A Graham proposed a vote of thanks to all church workers.

The Chairman reminded all, that the parish’s Rector – Elect would be instituted at a service in Holy Trinity Church on Friday 27th April 2012 at 8.00 p.m.

The Chairman was thanked for his service to the parish during the vacancy.

The meeting then closed with all joining in the Grace.