At an emotional valedictory service, parishioners from two congregations packed into All Saints’, Craigyhill to say goodbye to local minister Roger Thompson.
After 11 years as rector of St Patrick’s, Cairncastle with All Saints’, Craigyhill, Roger is now moving on to take up a new role as Partnership Coordinator at Belfast-based Development agency CMS Ireland.
The rousing worship was led by lay reader Tom Irwin, who paid tribute to Roger stating that he had loved working alongside him for the last three years.
Roger in turn thanked Tom for his friendship and faithful service, presenting him with a birthday gift on behalf of the parish.
He also thanked the members of the two congregations for all their love and support over the years, sharing many happy memories.
Finally he thanked his mother Helen (who had travelled over from England for the occasion) and his wife Fiona and sons Kieran andNathan. for supporting him so steadfastly through the ups and downs of parish life.
Music for the service was led by organists Victor Haslett and Derick Jenkins, with a Kenyan song for the children, who were dressed in colourful African costumes.
Congregation members Trevor Hassin and Mabel Gilpin then thanked Roger and his family for all they had contributed to the church, particularly the care and support during times of illness, bereavement and family celebrations.
Roger and Fiona were presented with gifts and flowers, before Fiona and Kieran both expressed their gratitude for all the family had received.
After the service the festivities continued with refreshments in the hall.
Roger said: “It was a wonderful send-off which we will never forget.
“We have been greatly blessed by our time living in the area, and will be sad to leave.
“Nevertheless I am looking forward to my new role in CMSI , which will involve liaising between churches in Ireland and projects in various developing countries in Africa and Asia.”