Garvaghy’s special service to honour the QueenFriday 13 July 2012
The enthusiasm and excitement surrounding the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend celebrations at the beginning of June was rekindled in Garvaghy Parish Church at the end of the month. On Sunday 24 June the parish held a special service to commemorate the Jubilee ahead of Her Majesty’s visit to Northern Ireland on the following Tuesday.
The church was specially decorated with red white and blue floral arrangements and pictures of Queen Elizabeth II at various stages of her life. Parishioners were invited to “dress to impress” and many did make a special effort from very smart outfits, period dress, through morning dress to ball gowns. There were little princesses and one knight who arrived complete with sword.
The service followed Morning Prayer and Canon Leeke welcomed the special guests from Banbridge District Council, Mrs Joan Baird (outgoing Chairman) and Mrs Olive Mercer. He also welcomed members of the family of the late Mr Stanley Ferguson who had donated monies to the choir in his memory.
Miss Edna Ferguson, Organist, and the choir made a special effort to use music from the Coronation with the organ voluntaries including Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune”, Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” and “Nimrod” as well as Holst’s “Jupiter”. The choir sang the C Hubert H Parry anthem “I was glad” and the National Anthem was preceded by the Gordon Jacob Fanfare.
Other congregational hymns were “All people that on Earth do dwell” (R Vaughan Williams’ arrangement), The Lord’s my Shepherd (old Scottish version), Praise my soul, the King of Heaven, and Guide me O thou great Jehovah. The chant was Te Deum and the Junior Choir sang “King of Kings, Majesty” by Jarrod Cooper.
During the Service Canon Leeke dedicated Chant books for use by the choir as well as Jubilee New Testament Bibles purchased by the choir in memory of the late Mr Stanley Ferguson. The New Testaments were then presented to each family by Mrs Joan Baird. Mrs Mary McKay, daughter of the late Mr Ferguson, presented Mrs Baird with a bouquet of flowers from the Ferguson family.
In his sermon, Canon Leeke referred to Her Majesty’s devoted and dedicated service to her people and to God and urged others to follow her example. He reminded the congregation that while she was a great Queen, there was a greater King in the person of Jesus Christ.
A short excerpt from Her Majesty’s first Christmas Broadcast in 1952 was played asking all her people to pray for her … “At my Coronation next June, I shall dedicate myself anew to your service. I shall do it in the presence of a great congregation drawn from every part of the Commonwealth, and, while millions outside Westminster Abbey will hear the promises and the prayers being offered up within its walls, and see much of the ancient ceremony in which Kings and Queens before me have taken part for century upon century, you will be keeping it as a holiday but I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day. To pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life.”
Outside the church, Mr Dean Cinnamond played the bagpipes to welcome the congregation and also as they left. Mr Maynard Rankin rang the bell at the beginning and end of the service when everyone was happy to mingle and pose for photographs outside. Thankfully, unlike the Pageant on the Thames on the Jubilee weekend of early June, on this occasion the ancient Parish Church of Garvaghy in this part of the Kingdom was bathed in bright sunshine.
With thanks to the author, Alma Ferguson