2021 IN REVIEW

CLOGHER VALLEY FREE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Ballagh Road, Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone

MINISTER

Rev Peter McIntyre

13 Willand Crescent, Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone. BT75 0QJ

Tel: 02889521611 / 07817767039

Email:  cloghervalleyfpchurch@gmail.com

Website: www.hopeinthevalley.co.uk

Charity Reference: XN48626  

2022 MOTTO TEXT

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name (Psalm 100:4)

CLERK OF SESSION

Mr Neville McIlwrath, 55 Drumcor Road, Fivemiletown. BT75 0RH.

TREASURER

Mr Jeffrey Condell, 2 Morrow Park, Fivemiletown. BT75 0LT

KIRK SESSION

Mr Jeffrey Condell, Mr John Irwin, Mr Ian Mcclung, Mr Jim McClung, Mr Neville McIlwrath, Mr Neville Robinson, Mr Wills Robinson.

CHURCH COMMITTEE

Mr Leslie Allen, Mr Rodney Condell, Mr David Hetherington, Mr Andrew McMullan.

27th March 2022 

As with last year the General & Financial Report will take the form of a simple letter, as many of our activities continued to be curtailed throughout the majority of 2021 as a consequence of the pandemic, risk assessments and restrictions.  Nevertheless we are grateful to the Lord that as the year reached a conclusion, a higher degree of normality began to be introduced and we are now in a much better situation.

Opening of the New Meeting House

The Session & Committee with Rev John Armstrong (Modertaor) at the Opening Ceremony; Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – 16th October 2021 Clogher Valley Free Presbyterian Church Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

The most significant event of 2021 was the long awaited opening of the new meeting house, foyer, toilet facilities, minister’s room and refurbished prayer room.  We appreciate the sacrificial and committed giving of the congregation, the gifts we received from several of our sister congregations within Presbytery and other friends from outside our congregation.  We appreciate the skill and workmanship of Weir Brothers and the various sub-contractors led by Lester Weir, the management and advice of Architect Neil Irvine and the input of Rodney Condell, Quantity Surveyor.  Businesses which deserve special mention for their support which saved us many tens of thousands of pounds are Exitite (heat recovery and air conditioning) Principal Cooling (installation of duct work) E & R Bennett (plumbing supplies), Dungannon Electrical (lights and other electrical supplies), and Condell Consultancy (Quantity Surveyor).

Preeminently, however, we give the glory to God for His grace and favour; He has indeed accomplished for us more than we ever deserved, more than we could ever ask or think! We pray that this meeting house will continue from generation to generation, as a preaching house calling men and women to repentance and where the flock of God are fed with Gospel truth.

A word of thanks is in order for all those who helped move the pews into the new meeting house and all who cleaned the building to make it ready for the opening. There were those present to help prepare the new meeting house who were also present in 1977 making the former meeting house ready for its opening; a testimony to faithfulness and consistency.

Financial Report

It is a blessing to present this Financial Report for the year ending 31st December 2021.  Reading the report will demonstrate to you the faithfulness of the Lord’s people and the goodness of our Heavenly Shepherd.  The Session and Committee felt it was important for me to go further than publish the Financial Report for last year and update you on our current status.

You will observe from the the Building Fund section that as of 31st December last year we were £159,600 in debt to Danske Bank, this was in addition to the £15,000 of generous interest free loans which we already received before the last financial year.

During the course of last year, however, we also received a total of £330,000 in interest free loans generously borrowed, which includes the £30,000 from the Presbytery Loan Fund.  As a consequence we had a credit balance of £184,084.17 in the Building Fund and £26,092.04 in the No.1 Account.

As of March 2022, however, Weir Brothers have received £902,850 (a further £23,150 retention payment will become due in October 2022).  £536,850 of this amount has been paid by the Session and Committee from Church funds.  Currently we owe £345,000 in interest free loans, with a further £21,000 in borrowing to Danske Bank.

The Session and Committee have taken a decision early in 2022 to use existing capital to reduce the Danske Bank borrowing, thereby reducing interest payments.  We subsequently have set up a bank overdraft facility on No.1 account of £30,000.  As a result there will be no bank loan, only an overdraft which we ought to be able to clear within one year, which will enable us to get to work repaying the interest free borrowing. 

Church Hall Refurbishment and Easter Offering

The position we are in enables us to press on with haste and bring the project to a conclusion with the renovation of the former meeting house, to make it fit for purpose as a Church Hall.  The walls will be dry lined, creating better insulation, new heaters installed, new flooring laid, new speakers and mixing desk installed, sound and vision relayed from the main meeting house and the burglar alarm system extended to the whole building.  The kitchen will also be completed in this final phase of the project.  The upright car park lighting will be extended with improved light at the gate, which is very necessary, and a boundary fence is to be erected at the back of the building along the stream.

We are confident that with the gift aid reclaim this year and the giving of the congregation there will be sufficient funds to cover the costs.   As in past years there will be a special Easter Offering for the Building Fund, and this will be used to offset the costs of the Church Hall refurbishment. 

Church Ministry in 2021

During the first part of the year we were in total lockdown being unable to worship as a result of the potency of the Delta variant of Covid-19.  By March we were back in public worship and were able to continue uninterrupted (with the exception of two weeks building disruption in September / October).  The Session and Committee are grateful for the continued support of the congregation throughout these challenging times.

The local press showed some interest as we reopened for public worship!

It was such a blessing to see the return of the entire church family for worship (without seating rotas) with the opening of the new meeting house.  The increased space and improved ventilation has given us a much safer environment in which to worship.  

Youth Fellowship continued throughout 2021 with a combination of visiting speakers and myself bringing the Word to the young folk.  We appreciate Neville McIlwrath’s continued work in leading the youth of our congregation.

While Sabbath School functioned by Zoom through 2021, the opening of the new meeting house, enabled Ian Mcclung, our Superintendent, to commence in-person classes making use of what is now our Church Hall. We had two young people who completed their time in Sabbath School in January 2021; Anna McIntyre and Laura Robinson with both reciting the Shorter Catechism with distinction. We thank Ian and his team of teachers for their labours.

Anna & Laura receiving their awards

There were no weekly Bible Clubs throughout 2021 but we were able to convene the Holiday Bible Club and Teen Challenge in Fivemiletown College in August. Choosing not to run a bus, because of the increased risks of infection, we were most encouraged by the number of children and young folk who were brought along by parents.

Our two sisters Miss Roberta Boyd and Mrs Ruth Andrews retired from the weekly Bible Club and were acknowledged in our first Sunday morning service in our new meeting house. We thank them for their faithfulness and ability given so freely to reaching boys and girls with the gospel.

Mrs Rhonda McIlwrath was therefore appointed as leader of the Thursday Bible Club, a work that has now recommenced along with the Claremore Wednesday Bible Club under the leadership of Mrs Beulah McMullan.

New Arrivals

As in previous years we have been blessed with babies born within the Church family.  This past year Albert Robinson, Autumn Baxter and Elijah Irwin began their little lives and we pray for them, that they will converted early, and that their parents will be guided by the Holy Spirit in nourishing and parenting.

Marriage

One of our young people, Philip Wilson was married to Bethany in Calvary Free Presbyterian Church, Magherafelt, in November.  We express our congratulations and wish them well as they settle into married life in the Clogher Valley.

Answered Prayer

In 2021 we prayed much for one of our young people Laura Robinson, who as a result of a diagnosis of lymphoma had to undergo intensive treatment.  In September Neville and Avril requested a special service of thanksgiving at which Avril testified of the Lord’s grace and response to prayer during these difficult months.  It is such a blessing to know that the cancer has gone from Laura’s body and we pray that God will richly bless her in her future life.

Closure of Clogher Valley Independent Christian School

It was with regret that I announced in June 2021 the closure of the Independent Christian School.  Throughout the thirty-four years of the school’s existence a number of children, many of whom were from our own congregation, received their education within the church premises.  The Session and Committee, however, reached a difficult place towards the end of the final term of the 2020/21 academic year, where as a result of very low numbers, maintaining the school was not a viable option, and therefore providence was leading us to closure.

We wish to thank all who have taught in the school, the parents who sent their children, the children and young people who were educated, all who supported, raised money, gave and prayed for this work.  In particular I wish to thank Mrs Pamela Foster, Acting Principal, for all her help in winding the school down and in organising the distribution of equipment and materials to other Christian Schools and home schooling families. Also Mrs Ingrid Irwin is deserving of particular mention as she diligently looked after the school finances throughout its history and continues to work to bring financial matters to a conclusion.  

There continues to be a monthly offering for Christian Education, which will be given to Education Board of our Presbytery, on the first Sunday of each month.

Pupils & Staff of Clogher Valley Independent Christian School; 2020 – 2021

Appreciation

On behalf of Elizabeth and myself I wish to express our appreciation for your continued support as we live and serve the Lord among you.

I thank the Session and Committee for their commitment.  A building project presents many challenges, many decisions and late hours.  We have worked through this project with an excellent spirit of fellowship and unity; words can’t relay how grateful I am for this blessing.

December 2021 saw the conclusion of our cleaning rota; the work of the volunteer weekly cleaners (as well as the efforts of all who prepared the building for the opening ceremony) is much appreciated.  We wish Clive Keys well, who was appointed as our permanent caretaker from the beginning of 2022, and thank him for agreeing to take on this role.

The new meeting house has given us excellent audio visual facilities which came with its own unique set of challenges.  John Robinson, Philip Andrews and Daniel Honeyman quickly got to grips with the system; I know that John in particular put many long hours into understanding the technical details. 

With the increased burden of controlling sound, sending out a livestream and operating the slides it became necessary to put a team together.  In addition to the three members of existing team we now have Craig McMullan, Robbie McIlwrath and Chloe Wilson involved in this work.  With the videos and podcasts being watched and listened to across our community and around the world we should not underestimate the value of this ministry. George Condell assists me each week preparing the announcements for the screens as we enter and leave church, I appreciate his expertise.

During the Covid restrictions Ian McClung oversaw the seating plan, George Condell assisted me with the risk assessment and Neville McIlwrath maintained our supply of sanitising liquids; all have been most helpful.

Neville McIlwrath and Andrew Mcmullan were most helpful throughout the year in assisting with the leading of the worship.

A word of thanks to our organist Mrs Ingrid Irwin and the team of pianists who accompany her; I am very grateful to Mrs Doreen McClung who organises the piano rota. It was a blessing to see the piano return in our Sunday worship, on moving into the new meeting house.

Finally, last year saw the retirement of our long time groundsman Cecil Boyd. We thank him for his faithfulness. William Cuthbertson is now engaged in this work, which involves salting the car park during frosty wintry weather as well as cutting the grass in summer. We thank him for his willingness to help.

Prayer Requests

As we move ahead through 2022 please pray:

1:  That our transition to normality post-pandemic would continue.

2:  That our building project would be brought to a conclusion and that the Lord would continue to supply the need.

3: That all aspects of our work and witness would know the blessing of the Lord.

4: For the sick, the elderly, the infirm that would know God’s grace, His healing touch and His comfort in their distress.

5: For all who mourn, that they would know the comfort of our Saviour.

6: For Andrew and Beulah McMullan as they continue to serve the Lord as Assistant Directors of the Southern West Europe Area of CEF.

7: For David Wilson, A Licentiate of our Presbytery, as he prays for and waits upon the Lord for an opportunity to minster.

8: For revival, that there would be a turning to God in our nation, which is rapidly becoming an increasingly godless and secular society.

Your Friend and Pastor

Peter McIntyre

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

DateEvent
Sunday 10th April, 7pmDeputation – Miss N McAfee (Uganda)
Sunday 17th April, 11:30am & 7pmEaster Sunday; special Easter Building Fund offering.
Sunday 1st May, 7pmTestimony – Mr Alastair Hamilton CBE
Wednesday 4th May, 7pmDeputation – Rev Julian Patterson (LTBS)
Sunday 8th May, 7pmTestimony – Mr David Robinson
Sunday 15th May, 7pmTestimony – Mr Lavelle McIlwrath
Sunday 22nd May, 7pmTestimony – Rev David McMillan
Sunday 29th May, 7pmTestimony – Pastor Trevor Gillanders
Wednesday 15th June, 8pmDeputation – Miss Joy Gillespie (Nepal)
Sunday 26th June, 11:30am  & 3:30pmChildren’s Sunday – Andrew & Beulah
22nd – 26th August, 6:30pmHoliday Bible Club, Fivemiletown College – Andrew & Beulah
Wednesday 21st September, 8pmDeputation – Rev Craig Dennison (TBS)
Wednesday 5th October, 8pmDeputation – Rev Angel Alvarez (Madrid)
Sunday 16th October, 11:30am & 7pmAnniversary of New Meeting House Opening – Rev Wesley Irwin (Rutherglen)
Saturday 22nd October, 7:30pmHarvest Thanksgiving – Rev David Mcmillan (Armagh)
Sunday 23rd October, 11:30am & 7pmHarvest Thanksgiving – Rev Simon Anderson (Aughnacloy); Special Harvest Offering for the Building Fund.
Sunday 18th December, 11:30am & 7pmChristmas Family Services

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