Half a century of service treasured
Half a century of service treasured
For over half a century, there have been many changes at St. Macartin’s
Cathedral, Enniskillen but not when it comes to the Honorary Treasurer, Mr
Norman Hilliard, who has served with outstanding diligence and commitment as
parish treasurer since 1957. To mark this significant milestone, the Select
Vestry considered it appropriate to recognise the devotion which has been given
to the parish by its honorary treasurer. In doing so, a stained glass window
was recently dedicated in honour of Norman’s exceptional service by the
Bishop of Clogher, the Right Revd Dr Michael Jackson. On the Saturday evening
before the dedication, a special parish dinner was held in the Cathedral Hall
to mark the occasion.
In his address during the service of dedication, Bishop Jackson referred to
the Bible readings and the fact that a lifetime of discipleship and service
cannot come out of nowhere. “There is careful tending. There is regular
pruning. And there is sustained fruitfulness,” he told the congregation.
He said the stained glass window which was dedicated expressed the parish’s
thanks to Almighty God for the sustained and generous service which their good
friend, Norman Hilliard, has given to the Church of Ireland in St. Macartin’s
Cathedral Parish, in Clogher Diocese and in the wider Church of Ireland. “It
also recognises publicly the support, contribution and companionship of his
late wife, Alice” said the Bishop.
Norman Hilliard trained as an accountant and began his work in the Health Service
in 1956 until his retirement in 1990, working mostly at the Erne Hospital in
Enniskillen. The Bishop went on to say that in a particular way, Norman combined
aspects of Matthew and Luke, financial management along with care of the sick
and those in need of healing through his work. “And for this reason it
is surely fitting that the very special window given and dedicated depicts
St. Matthew with three purses and St. Luke along with the serpent which brings
Norman was asked to undertake the work of Parish Treasurer at the invitation
of Dean Thomas Clements in November 1957 until the following Easter Vestry
of 1958, but each year since Norman has been re-elected to the honorary position.
The Bishop praised the way in which money has been put to good and Godly use
in the Cathedral Parish over those 50 years. Houses for each of the caretaker
and curate-assistant were built on parochial land adjacent to the church and
an extensive Cathedral Hall was completed in 1963. The Regimental Chapel in
the Cathedral was completed during that time also. Bishop Jackson also referred
to Norman’s voluntary service in other church positions within the parish
and diocese. Norman was for many years a member of General Synod, and for a
number of years has held the position of Honorary Lay Secretary to Diocesan
Synod and Diocesan Council. He is also a valued member of the Diocesan Sustentation
and Finance Committee.
At the parish dinner, tributes were paid to Norman for his lifetime of work
for the parish. Mr Sam Morrow, Honorary Secretary, recounted Norman’s
life beyond the role of parish treasurer. Norman gained his apprenticeship
with an accountancy firm in Enniskillen. In 1956 he was appointed accountant
with the Fermanagh Health and Welfare Committee. With the reorganisation of
local government in 1973, Norman became finance officer and assistant district
administrative officer for the Western Health Board and four years later, as
Group Administrator until his retirement.
Apart from his parish duties, Norman has other interests including the Masonic
Order, treasurer of the Enniskillen branch of the Ulster Cancer Foundation,
treasurer of Fermanagh Unionist Club, a member of the Rotary Club since 1975
and in the past he has served as a school governor at the Erne Special School
and Portora Royal School, both in Enniskillen. He was a former High Sheriff
of Fermanagh and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1984.
Also paying tribute to Norman at the parish dinner, Mr Jim Kerr, who has been
associated with the Parish for almost 50 years, spoke of Norman’s contribution
to parish life, especially the construction of the Cathedral Hall and other
parish projects and dealing with the fire in the Cathedral in 1996.
In response to the tributes paid, and the standing ovation which Norman received,
Norman said the most difficult time within the parish was the night of the
Cathedral fire and the18 months which followed. He has worked with many people
including four rectors, Dean Thomas Clements, Dean Brian Hannon, Dean John
McCarthy and Precentor Brian Courtney. He asked the Vestry and parishioners
to accept his gratitude and that of his family for the gesture of the window.
In addition to the dedication of the stained glass window, the conference room
in the Cathedral Hall was renamed the Hilliard Room in honour of Norman’s
service to the Church.
At the service of dedication, two members of Norman’s family, his son
Ross and his daughter Alison, read lessons. At the recent Easter General Vestry
of St. Macartin’s Parish, Norman was again re-elected treasurer.
Date: 25 May 08