Rev. Norman Gamble retired from active ministry in January this year after over 30 years of dedicated service in our parishes. We deferred finalising arrangements to mark the occasion in anticipation and hope that further easing of Covid restrictions during the year, might permit a gathering of friends and parishioners to attend such an event.
As unfortunately this situation failed to materialise, we decided to hold a service of thanksgiving in St. Andrew’s church on Sunday 15th August followed by a presentation to Norman and his wife Susan. The service of Holy Communion was conducted by Rev. Lesley Robinson.
Due to the continuing covid restrictions the attendance was by invitation only, limited to 50 persons, including personal friends of Rev Gamble. Select Vestry members, representatives of parish organisations and parish office holders.
At the conclusion of the service , John Chambers, Rector’s churchwarden St. Doulagh’s church, addressed the congregation outlining the many contributions Norman had made to the development of the parishes.
The following is an extract of John’s address.
Norman had served three generations, welcoming the new born, seeing them grow and get married and has perhaps baptised their children as well. He has been there with us in tougher times as well – ministering to the sick and comforting those of us who have lost loved ones.
Over the 30 years much had changed, so too had the physical face of the parishes. The development of St. Andrew’s Church, the construction of St. Marnock’s Chapel, the conservation work at St Doulagh’s Church and the building of a Parish Centre, which provides a home to so many activities run by groups and community organisations.in these parishes . Norman and Susan have been active and supportive, a strong and steady presence at the heart of our parishes and in the wider community.
We should also acknowledge the great contribution that Norman made to the ecumenical field, strengthening ties with other faith communities, especially locally.
In a real sense, Norman has shaped the future of these parishes through the commitment he brought to his Chairmanship of the Board of Management of St. Andrew’s School. He advocated for and supported the extension of the school buildings in both phases, and part of his legacy is the wonderful, modern and well-equipped school we now have. Norman also played a key role in the Church of Ireland Primary School Managers Association.
A presentation was subsequently made by John Chambers and Linda Barry, (Rector’s Churchwarden St. Andrew’s), on behalf of the parishioners and friends to Norman and Susan in recognition and appreciation of their dedicated service and support afforded to us during their stay with us.