Garvary Parish celebrates 150th Anniversary


On Sunday 20th September a special service took place in Garvary Parish Church to mark the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone by Anne Elizabeth Honoria Belmore, wife of Somerset Richard Lowry Corry, 4th Earl of Belmore, who had given the land on which the church would be built and who was shortly to leave Ireland to take up the position of Governor of New South Wales, Australia.

The young Honoria was to become the first president of the Mothers' Union in Clogher Diocese and a mother to thirteen children. 150 years ago the architect presented the Countess of Belmore with a silver trowel. At the service the silver trowel, now given to the parishioners of Garvary by the 8th Earl of Belmore, was dedicated by the Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, the Rt. Revd John McDowell, along with a mahogany table given in memory of Molly Lucy, Feddans, by her son Jimmy and daughters Hilda and Margaret.

Also dedicated were the offerings towards the recently launched Organ Appeal. The service was conducted by the rector, Chancellor John Stewart, assisted by Mr John Irvine, parishioner and diocesan Reader. The Bishop preached the sermon during which he commended the parish on how well their church and grounds were looking. He also commended the rector on completing 25 years ministry in the parish and on his historical publication which he had prepared for this occasion. He went on to explain the difficulties the Church of Ireland had to face in the 19th century and the challenges it continues to face in the 21st. Mrs Diane Whittaker was the organist. The hymns were "O praise ye the Lord!", "Great is thy faithfulness", "Bright the vision that delighted","Be thou my vision", and "The Church's one foundation." Psalm 84 was sung along with the usual three morning canticles, "Venite", "Urbs" and "Jubilate"~. Three young people read the lessons, Harry Dane, Victoria Wilson and Amy Downey.

Following the service everyone enjoyed refreshments in the Parish Hall.

A souvenir colour, professionally printed, booklet was produced by the rector. It contains original drawings by the architect and other colour photographs and notes of historical interest. Copies are still available.

Participants in the service