WARINGSTOWN man Colin McConaghie has taken up a new post as curate in Dungannon.
The 37-year-old took his first services at his new parish on Sunday after being ordained as a priest during a service in St Mark’s Church on Friday night.
“I had four services to do which was an easy start,” joked Colin, a former pupil of Lurgan College.
Colin’s curacy under rector Andrew Forster takes him between St Anne’s in Dungannon and St Elizabeth’s in Moygashel.
Up until two weeks ago Colin and his wife Gillian had been living in Waringstown. They’ve now relocated to Dungannon with their twins Madison and Siena (eight) and their baby daughter Ava (18 months).
Colin and Gillian met in 1993 while they were both studying at Lurgan College.
The family will still be regular visitors to the area as Colin’s mum and dad live in Bleary, while Gillian works at Gilford Health Centre and Colin is an ardent follower of Glenavon.
Of his love for Glenavon Colin said: “I’ve been following Glenavon since 1981. The first match I went to was the Irish Cup Final which got snowed off in May. That should have told me something about Glenavon. It was a warning to stay away which I didn’t heed.”
Colin was a member of St John’s Church until he was 17 then came to Shankill Parish.
He commented: “I kind of knew I had a calling at about 17 or 18, but I was a bit of a Jonah, running away from it for a long while.”
Colin spent many years with Craigavon Council working in Portadown Park, followed by Lurgan Park as head ranger, then Oxford Island as head of environmental education and events.
After leaving the council he started a masters which involved one year foundation and then two years full time in Dublin. The third year saw Colin take up a part time post at Seagoe Parish in Portadown.
Colin said: “After completing the masters there were a few parishes to choose from, but I thought it was best to make a clean break and not be somewhere too close to home. It’s important that people don’t know you too well and can open up to you.”
Colin said his big influences are his parents as well as former St John’s rector David Coe and Shankill Parish rectors Maurice Elliott and Geoff Wilson.
He commented: “I’ll miss the people at Shankill. I was involved in a very good home group there.
“Shankill is making a real impact in the community thanks to the links Geoff has forged with other churches.”
He added: “My aim at Dungannon is to get to know people and build up relationships in the churches and through the town.
“The challenge for churches now is to have an impact in the community rather than to be standing shouting on street corners. It’s a case of living as Jesus did which has been lost sight of over the years.”