Loughaghery Presbyterian Church
A formation meeting of the Women’s Association for Foreign Missions (W.M.A.) was held in The Session House on 28th October 1956, with twenty-four women present, although the membership for the first year rose to thirty-five.The organisation is now called the Presbyterian Women’s Association (P.W.A.) This change in name came about in 1971.
At that meeting Mrs. Rankin was in the chair and she introduced Miss Jean Stockman of Church House, who gave an enlightening address on Missionary Work and on running our meetings. It was decided then to hold our meetings on the last Monday of the month and this continued until 1975 when the meetings were changed to the third Tuesday.
Office-bearers for that first session were –
President, Mrs. Rankin, Vice-President, Miss M. Reid; Secretary, Mrs. Eddie; Treasurer, Miss M. Irvine; and in addition Mrs. R. M. Bell, Mrs. J. Johnston and Mrs. F. Scott formed the rest of the Committee.
Each member was given a Mission Box, the proceeds of which, along with the offering lifted at the annual service were the means of realising the necessary money for the first year or two. At the end of that first year Mission Boxes realised £20 and the Service £10. We still use the Mission Boxes into which we put 50p weekly and as well as the annual service we run the Sale.
The sale is for our own expenses and as well we give a donation out of it to Cancer Research leaving the proceeds of our Mission Boxes and the Service collection intact for Missions.
Last year Mission Boxes realised £533.20, Sale £371.20 and Service £93.97.
The first sale was held as far back as 1959, when we had a Cake sale in Lisburn. Every year since, there has been a sale in some form or other. In 1964 we tried a Jumble Sale in the markets in Lisburn. That was an education in itself. Jumble sales have to be held in the winter, after dark, as customers won’t come in daylight. As Miss Reid and I arrived as advance guard the queue was forming and before the doors were opened it stretched right down Haslem’s Lane.
Fortunately, some men came along with us as we couldn’t have controlled the crowd. They kept banging the door, and when it was opened they literally burst in. I remember one man who bought his wife at least half -a-dozen pairs of shoes on various shapes, sizes and colours and all for two shillings. However, to get back to our beginnings, the programme for that first year consisted of Missionary games, a filmstrip of “‘The Chirstmas Story – Kings and Shepherds; interspersed with Carols, a talk, ‘Women of the Bible” by Mr. Rankin, which I remember clearly, Miss McAlery of the Women’s Home Mission and an afternoon trip to Bangor in July.
As well as the annual service, for three years we held a Watchnight Service beginning at 11.30 p.m. in 1972, 1973 and 1974, with P.W.A. members forming the Choir. This was the inauguration of the Ladies Choir, which we still enjoy. For a short time the members did the opening Devotions in turn, but this wasn’t very successful.
As I previously mentioned it was Mrs. Crooks who started the sale of Christmas Cards to help the Church in 1967. Over the years the following gifts have been donated from this Fund:- in 1971 The Curtains, which we made our selves, one hundred chairs and china for the Hall; help with the concreting of the car park, a wrought iron flower stand for the Church, and the carpeting of the entire church. The sum of £2,500 was given towards the cost of the New Choir Room in 1981.
Previously in 1962 the Baptismal Font was presented.
Since Mrs. Crooks left, Mrs. Gourley and Mrs. Graham have very efficiently looked after this project and continue to do so. During the vacancies after Mrs. Rankin and Mrs. Crooks left, Miss M. Reid stoically carried on as President.