Presbyterian moderator Rev Dr Michael Barry brought a message of encouragement to East Antrim during his tour of the district recently.
Dr Barry met church groups, members of the business community, community workers, political leaders, senior police officers, members of the public and schoolchildren during his visit.
The moderator has underlined the importance of thank ing and encouraging those involved in providing public service especially the PSNI.
“As a church, we believe in the force of law and order and keeping in touch with the police on a regular basis especially as they may feel society is against them. We want to reassure them as a church and encourage them in this work.”
The Moderator indicated that talks with the PSNI in Carrick focused on the Chief Constable’s recent comments regarding proposed budget cuts.
Dr Barry spoke of the difficulty of working in community relations following a visit to PAKT (Parents and Kids Together) in Carrick run by the YMCA. PAKT involves working with parents and children at “grassroots level” .
The Moderator’s tour commenced last Sunday (October 5) with a return to First Carrickfergus, his childhood church.
The Carrick man said that the visit had “brought back old memories” and he had seen “many familiar faces”.
That afternoon, he re-dedicated a “burning bush” sculpture which had been returned to Carrick town centre following renovation in the district.
On Monday, he was welcomed to Kilcoan Primary School in Islandmagee, one of the schools which he visited. Others included Model Primary in Carrick of which he is a past pupil and Ballynure Primary.
In a show of support for local industry, the Moderator visited LEDCOM and AES Ballylumford in Larne, Irish Salt Mining Exploration Co. Ltd. in Kilroot and Dennison’s in Ballyclare.
He also met with Larne’s SDLP mayor Councillor Martin Wilson, the mayor of Carrick Alderman Billy Ashe and Newtownabbey mayor Alderman Thomas Hogg.
There was a communion service at Magheramorne Presbyterian and a meeting with church elders from the Larne area.This meeting took place at First Larne Presbyterian, the moderator’s first congregation as a newly ordained minister where he assisted the late Rev Lambert McAdoo.
Dr Barry’s tour concluded with a sermon at Ballyclare Presbyterian on Sunday morning and harvest service in Raloo that evening.