Drumreagh Church was packed to capacity on Friday last for the Installation, by the Presbytery of Route, of Rev. Richard Murray as the new minister of the joint congregations.
A ‘call’ to Mr. Murray had been issued in the month of May and his arrival, together with Lynn and son Andrew, was eagerly awaited over the summer months.
Rev. Murray had ministered in the congregation of Connor, near Ballymena, for some twelve years, having served previously in Hilltown and Clonduff, in the Mourne country of Co.Down for eight years.
The service of installation was conducted by Rev. William Harkness, Moderator of the Route Presbytery, assisted by Very Rev. Dr. Ian McNie, minister of Trinity Ballymoney and formerly Moderator of the General Assembly - who preached the sermon, and Rev. Denis Bannerman, the Vacancy Convener who delivered a ‘Charge’ to minister and congregation.
Drumreagh choir added to the occasion with suitably chosen anthems. The formal act of Installation was conducted the Moderator, Rev. Harkness, assisted by the Clerk of Presbytery Rev. Noel McClean.
Following the service there were a number of speeches welcoming the new minister and his family to the Presbytery and to the Congregations by the Rev. Harkness, on behalf of Presbytery, and by John Walker and Rex Humphrey, Clerks of Session of Drumreagh and Dromore respectively. Greetings were conveyed on behalf of the General Assembly by Dr. Ian McNie, and Mr. Mervyn Johnston, representing the Congregation of Connor, spoke in appreciation of the work of Mr Murray and his family during their years in Connor.
The Very Rev. Dr. David McGaughey, a former Moderator of the General Assembly and father-in- law of the Rev. Murray, brought greetings from the family.
Replying, the Rev. Murray told of the clarity of his ‘Call’ to serve the Lord in the congregations of Dromore and Drumreagh and expressed his appreciation of the welcome that he and his family had received into the area and all that had been done to assist them in settling into the Manse.
Following the speeches the large attending congregation were entertained to supper, which had been prepared and was served by members of the two congregations – no mean feat considering the large attendance. The Rev. Murray commenced his ministry in Dromore and Drumreagh on Sunday.