Moderator’s Visit to NW,
These details were prepared prior to the planned visit from 1st to 10 October 2010.
Presbyterian Moderator Dr Norman Hamilton begins a ten day visit to the north west tomorrow, Friday 1 October, to undertake a programme of events and meet with local Presbyterians, other church leaders, politicians, community representatives and business people.
The visit is hosted by the Presbytery of Derry and Donegal and will take Dr Hamilton the length and breadth of the area from Londonderry to Letterkenny, Lifford to Ballykelly and Malin to Strabane. In a busy programme (details below) the Moderator will preach at a variety of services and church functions, visit local schools, hospitals and businesses, meet community groups and attend a number of civic receptions.
As with all Moderator's presbytery visits - every Moderator usually makes four such visits during their year of office - much of the emphasis will be on meeting local Presbyterians, to see what is happening in their lives and congregations and to encourage them in their work and witness.
But on this visit part of the programme has been given over to opportunities to debate and discuss some of the particular problems that confront the North West and encourage engagement between the various communities.
"The primary purpose of my visit is to hear from and give support to the many Presbyterians who live here," commented Dr Hamilton. "I want to find out what is going well for them but also to learn of the difficulties that they face and to give confidence to local congregations in equipping their members for day to day living.
"But I am also keen to encourage the churches, with a humble and graceful attitude, to promote debate and discussion among the wider community about the many issues that effect us all as we learn to live together, side by side."
The programme (detailed itinerary follows) begins on Friday 1 October with a Derry City Council reception hosted by the Mayor in the Guildhall and is immediately followed by dialogue event to which local politicians, church leaders and community leaders have been invited. Later that evening the Moderator will attend the installation of Rev Mark Russell in Leckpatrick Presbyterian Church.
Saturday takes the Moderator first to Donegal Hospice and then on to a series of engagements on the Fanad Peninsula visiting the Kerrykeel Church and the Bewglass Youth Centre.
On Sunday Dr Hamilton will preach and dedicate gifts at Upper Cumber Presbyterian Church and in the evening conduct a Presbytery Communion Service in Raphoe.
The schools in Strabane welcome the Moderator on Monday morning and after visits to the High School, Primary School and Grammar School, Dr Hamilton will travel on to Killygordan Creamery near Lifford to talk to local farmers. Monday's engagements finish with a reception hosted by Donegal County Council in the Council Offices, Lifford.
Tuesday begins with a visit to the Fountain Estate to meet local residents and teachers and children at the primary school followed by lunch at the Magee Campus of the University of Ulster with the Provost, Prof Jim Allen. On Tuesday afternoon the Moderator will see the restoration work being carried out on the historic Presbyterian Church of First Derry as well as meeting community groups and business leaders from the City side. In the evening Dr Hamilton will attend a Meeting for Presbyterian Women in Magheramason.
The Garda station in Letterkenny hosts the Moderator on Wednesday morning before a visit to the Royal and Prior School in Raphoe.
On Thursday the focus is on social witness and health provision with a series of visits to the Churches Trust - a social action programme run by the Churches in Derry, Ard Cluan - a residential home run by the Presbyterian Church, Altnagelvin Hospital and the Western Health and Social Services Fostering and Early Years Unit at Cloony Hall. On Thursday evening the Moderator will lead a Presbytery Rally in Newtowncunningham Presbyterian Church.
After a visit to the Strand Road PSNI station on Friday morning the Moderator will travel to the Vale Centre and Faughanvale Community Project in Greysteel to meet members of the local community. Gransha Hospital to meet staff and patients is next on programme and Friday ends at the Ebrington Site to see the work being done as part of the ILEX Urban Regeneration Programme.
On Saturday Dr Hamilton will visit Donegal town before attending a Presbytery Youth event in Kilfennan Presbyterian Church.
A busy ten days finishes on Sunday 10 October when the Moderator will conduct morning worship in the Co Donegal congregations of Carndonagh and Malin.
In the afternoon he will return to Londonderry to attend the final act of worship in the Stand Road Presbyterian Church building which will be immediately followed by a service to mark the new congregation of Carlisle Road (incorporating Strand and Buncrana).
On R238 from Derry to Buncrana at Tooban, Burnfoot
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