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 healing.”
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