Hundreds of people defied the elements last weekend to support the parish of Camus-Juxta-Bann’s ‘Open Day’ at the beautiful Walworth Garden in Ballykelly. Parishioners are trying to raise £60,000 to put a new roof on the 400 year old St Mary’s Church in Macosquin.
There was much to entertain the gardening enthusiasts and many others who travelled – from near and far – to support the open day. Those who made the journey were rewarded with stalls, a vintage car display and Afternoon Teas, and entertained by the Brassnecks, the JazzLite Band and St Mary’s talented church choir.
The Rector of St Mary’s, Canon Mike Roemmele, said the event was “a major undertaking for a small country parish”. It was, however, “a huge success” for the manner in which it brought people together – not only his own parishioners, but also members of other churches and the wider community. “Friendships were formed or renewed throughout the afternoon, as people met and enjoyed each other’s company – and the various activities – in such wonderful surroundings.”
The Rector said those who attended the open day made generous donations to the Church Roof Fund. Many, including parishioners, helped in countless other ways – both on the day and in the weeks before. Canon Roemmele said all of them demonstrated their love of God and their good will for Christ’s church in Macosquin.
The site on which St Mary’s stands has been a place of Christian worship since the 12th Century, when Cistercian monks built an abbey on it. The Rector said the efforts of the congregation – and the “massive response” to last Sunday’s afternoon in Walworth Gardens – testified to the present spiritual health of the parish and hope for the future well-being of the church.
Canon Roemmele, the Select Vestry and the congregation of St Mary’s have expressed their profound gratitude to the people who supported the event and especially to Mrs Noreen Brown for her generosity in opening her beautiful gardens to the public for their fundraiser. They also thanked the musicians and singers who provided entertainment at the open day.
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF PAUL DAVIS AT DAVIS PHOTOGRAPHY, COLERAINE