THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Parish celebrates clergyman’s Silver Jubilee

From the News Letter, June 15, 1956

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 6:00 am
Parish of St Simon, Church Of Ireland, on the Donegall Road in Belfast.
Parish of St Simon, Church Of Ireland, on the Donegall Road in Belfast.

Twenty-five years of ministry in one parish was recognised in June 1956 when the Reverend C W Maguire, rector of St Simon’s, Donegall Road, Belfast, was honoured by the members of his congregation.

The ceremony in the parochial hall to mark his Silver Jubilee in the parish was occasion for three-fold good wishes - congratulations to Mr Maguire on his recovery from a recent illness, good wishes to both he and Mrs Maguire for a trip they propose to make soon to the United States to visit their only son, who is in the ministry there, and tributes to the rector for his work in the parish since he joined it as curate-in-charge in 1931.

The Very Reverend R C H Elliott, Dean of Belfast, said that the church authorities appreciated very much the great work which Mr Maguire had done for the people of the parish.

Speaking also as a personal friend and admirer of Mr Maguire, he said that his “familiar figure on a bicycle riding around his parish was a symbol and indication of how he was always on the job”.

Other speakers included Mr H Armstrong, secretary of the vestry, who presided, Mr W Spence, people’s churchwarden, Mr J McDowell, organist and choirmaster, Miss McBeth, the Reverend S Stewart of the St Barnaba’s. the Reverend C N Sansom of Drew Memorial, and the Reverend D Porter of Richview Presbyterian Church

In his reply, Mr Maguire said that anything that had been accomplished during his 25 years had been the achievement of “minister and congregation working together”, which he said “was the real secret of success”.

Meanwhile, members of the congregation of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on the Rosetta Road in Belfast were to “set an example in self-help” when they began the task of building their own church hall for the use of youth organisations.

The congregation, which was in a new housing area, had already a £22,000 hall which is at that time was used for Sunday services and congregational activities, but that with a total of about 1,000 children and young people, “the need for more accommodation has become paramount”.

Hence the plan for voluntary building operation.

Mr W E C O’Brien, clerk of session, told a News Letter reporter that the young congregation had “embraced a number of carpenters, bricklayers and electricians” and they had decided to carry out the work themselves in their own time.

He said: “It is proposed to erect a temporary prefabricated wooden hall which will serve the youth organisations and other congregational activities,”

He added: “We have already an extensive site for our church, but in the meantime, with a growing congregation, we have to find more accommodation.”