The Parish of St Patrick’s, Broughshane, held a farewell service of thanksgiving for the ministry of The Very Rev. John Bond, Dean of Connor, and Rector for almost 17 years.
Ordained in 1967 for the curacy of St Paul, Lisburn, he served as curate of St Polycarp’s, Finaghy,from 1970-1977.
He became rector of the Parish of Ballynure and Ballyeaston (Ballyclare) prior to his appointment to the Parish of Skerry, Rathcavan and Newtowncrommelin (Broughshane).
He was appointed Dean of Connor in 2001.
Dean Bond has been a member of General Synod since 1978 and has served on many committees and held different positions in the Church of Ireland. During his ministry an extension an extension to St Patrick’s Parish Hall in Broughshane.
In his farewell address, the Dean said it had been a privilege to minister and serve in the various parishes over the years and to visit people in their homes.
He paid tribute to the wardens, youth leaders, sunday school teachers, select vestry, organist and choir and those behind the scenes who laboured sacrificially and contributed so much to the church.
He asked the congregation to remember Curate, Rev. Adrian Halligan, who now shoulders added responsibility, and the Parochial Nominators as they set about the appointment of a new rector.
Speaking to the packed church, Dean Bond said: “The church is not about me or you, it is about God, the creator of heaven and earth.
“Sadly, we live in a day when many people think too little of God and too much about themselves. The church must be a place of welcome for all regardless of creed, class, colour or gender orientation. The church must be open too, otherwise we are in danger of becoming a holy huddle or cosy clique on our terms and that has nothing to do with Christianity.”
The Dean added: “I have been privileged to be part of your lives as your Rector and Joyce and our family thank you all for your kindness, support, prayers and Christian love.
The Service of Holy Communion was conducted by the Rev. Adrian Halligan, Curate, assisted by Mr Allan Bond, Diocesan Reader and Dean Bond’s Son; and friend from college days, Rev Canon David Jardine SSF, Divine Healing Ministry.
Presentations were made to the Dean and Mrs Joyce Bond by the Parish Hon. Secretary, Mrs Megan Nelson and Mr Richard Reade; Sunday School Co-ordinator Miss Lindsay Williamson; Mrs Wendy Halligan, St Patrick’s Mothers’ Union Chairperson, and also by representatives from the community.
Tributes were paid to the Dean for his pastoral care, compassion, friendship and dedicated ministry and also to Joyce for her outstanding work in the Parish over the years.
The Dean and Mrs Bond replied suitably and thanked everyone present for their gifts and generous thoughts.
The Dean officially retires on January 31.