~~~ Loving God and Loving our Neighbour ~~~


The Church of Ireland parishes of Desertlyn and Ballyeglish, Diocese of Armagh

25th - 27th May 2012: A BLOOMING GREAT WEEK-END!

The Festival began at 2pm on the Friday.  Alison Stringer, the Rector's wife opened the week-end, along with a tremendous concert given by Moneymore Primary School.  Our thanks to the pupils, teachers and Mrs Ashley Cunningham the Principal, for their time and skills.  And what did those first people say as they filed out of church?  “Wow”, “Amazing”, “Superb”!  These comments were amply justified.  Outside the front door stood a maypole with scenes from a country life, together with bunting strung from the tower, and on the Saturday a display of vintage vehicles and tractors.  Scenes from all across Ulster were depicted in flowers and accompanying models.  In the entrance porch, there was a representation of The Ulster American Folk Park and a large floral map of Ulster.  In the nave, the pillars and pew ends were adorned with flowers.  The Carrick-a-rede rope bridge swung between two huge granite pillars in the middle of the church.  In the centre aisles were Peatlands Park and Stormont, whilst in the sanctuary Tryone Crystal, Beleek and an arrangement for Holy Communion.  Running from the gallery right down to the ground could be seen a waterfall and Carndaisy Glen.  Around the sides of the church further scenes: Marble Arch Caves, A Country Market, A Country Girl, Armagh - Orchard Country, Desertlyn Rectory, Lough Fea, Giant’s Causeway, Springhill House, the Harland and Wolff shipyard, Bushmills and with the Union Jack one side and the Irish flag on the other, a floral arrangement entitled ‘Across the Divide’ depicted the beauty of peace when both sides of the community work and play together.

Well done to the ladies, together with their friends and partners who assisted them, and especially to Ann Wilson who gave so much of her time encouraging the ladies to create these wonderful arrangements themselves.


Food was also served throughout the week-end: our thanks to all those involved, proving once again how much can be achieved when people work together.  On Friday we had a fabulous concert by The Sperrin Choir led by Sam Cuddy - a tremendous experience of its own, but when placed within the context of our decorated church was truly amazing!  Then, on Sunday we had two special services.  In the morning Rev. Paul Hoey led our family worship, together with songs from the Sunday School. 

In the evening, Lord Eames kindly preached at a Songs of Praise type of service where members of the congregation chose hymns and talked about their work and life at St John’s.Our thanks must also go to the many people who came and viewed our beautiful displays, including those who travelled in coaches from some distance; and also to the many individuals and businesses who kindly sponsored the event - your support was much appreciated!

This was a tremendous week-end for all the right reasons, including how it fulfilled our parish mission statement of ‘Loving God and Loving our Neighbour’!  The only question left for us now is: “What’s next?”!!