The 2nd March, 2002, will go down in history as being one of the most wonderful send-offs any minister could possibly have. The Rev. Desmond McBride preached his farewell sermon on Sunday 24th February to a huge congregation.

However, Saturday night saw an enormous gathering of over 330 of Mr. McBride's friends, in the Church Hall. Every seat was filled by an excited and expectant crowd, all admiring the beautiful floral decoration arranged so tastefully by Valerie, Kate and Julie.

The Rev. and Mrs. McBride's party was piped in by Alan Barr amidst huge applause. Following the warm welcome from Mr. W. Poole, and an opening prayer by Rev. Boggs, the choir sang two hymns, led by Nance Davis, who had been organist for 32 years of Mr. McBride's ministry.

The main programme consisted of a lengthy "This is your Ministry"? consisting of many pictures and short stories about incidents in the life of Mr. McBride during his time in Saintfield since 1966.

We saw him as a young man, we heard stories of his first visit to Saintfield and other various incidents. The wedding pictures were shown with his new wife, later Alison appeared and later still Alison's husband Nick. 

The many fascinating pictures were projected onto a large screen by  Stanley McFarland and his son, so that everybody could enjoy them. 

Each episode was accompanied by a huge picture. These episodes were told by an assortment of people e.g. Mrs. Gibson, Jim Magee, Dr. Bailie, Diane Barr, Dr. Patterson, Rev Delamere and Florrie Newell.

Congratulations must go to Milne Barbour who planned, concocted and organised "This is your Ministry". It was a huge success and was greatly enjoyed by everybody.






Gifts from the  congregation were given to the McBride family. The Rev McBride received a beautiful Alan Ardies painting of a Ballycastle beauty spot, plus a generous cheque.. These gifts were handed over by Nance Davis.





Enid Minnis presented Mrs. McBride with a very attractive handbag (not empty!) and Julie Graham gave Alison a little blue wallet (again not empty).

The Rev. McBride, Mrs. McBride and Alison each thanked the congregation for their very beautiful and most generous gifts,

Following a wonderful supper served by all the ladies, guided by Dorothy and Kate, this very successful evening came to a close with general remarks and a prayer by the Very Rev. Dr. Hutchinson.

A very special and long-to-be remembered happy evening.

By Enid Minnis

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