Free Presbyterian Minister Reverend David Creane is retiring after 36 years as a minister in Lurgan.
It is thought Rev Creane is one of the longest serving ministers in Lurgan.
Mr Creane revealed: “I was born into a close knit family of five boys and two girls to God fearing parents and raised on a farm half way between Castleblayney and the border on the road to Newtownhamilton. At the age of fourteen I was brought to a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. It happened during a season of evangelistic meetings conducted by the Faith Mission on both sides of the border near our home,” said Rev Creane.
“Since there wasn’t room for all five boys to stay on the farm, I went to work in a local firm of builders’ suppliers and hardware merchants.
“It was during this time that I heard the call of God to full time Christian service.
“Subsequently I left home for the first time to go to Glasgow where I studied for two years at the Bible Training Institute.
“It was there that I met an attractive young lady from Bangor whom the Lord had also called to study at the college.
“A friendship began and on completion of studies in 1970, Jennifer and I were married in Martyrs Memorial Church, Belfast by Dr. Ian Paisley.”
The first two years of Mr and Mrs Creane’s married life were spent in Dublin doing evangelistic work. Then, in 1972, he entered the Theological Hall of the Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast for further studies.
“In May of that same year I was placed by the Presbytery of our denomination as a student minister in the new extension Church, the John Knox Memorial, in Belfast where I was later ordained and installed as the minister of the Church.
“The worst period of the troubles was in the 1970s especially in North Belfast, nevertheless, the Lord sustained us and richly blessed the preaching of His Word. The work started with just a handful of people, but God is faithful and added to the church until over 100 people, including children were in attendance each Lord’s Day.”
After six and a half years in Belfast, the couple went to Lurgan and Rev Creane was installed in the church here in 1978.
“Jennifer and I and our little family came to Lurgan with virtually nothing except the clear and unmistakable call of God.
“Even going back to the early days of the work in the Clare Orange Hall, then to the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ in George Street, and finally to the beautiful building we now have on the site gifted by the late Misses Seytons on the Banbridge Road, where we have worshipped for the past 31 years.”
At his recent retirement service, Reverend Creane said that, though a preacher for 36 years, he was ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘lost for words’ at the kindness of his congregation.
“Jennifer and I are just two very ordinary people and when we consider those of our dear family and friends who have travelled from far and near, we feel most unworthy of your loving interest in us,” he said.
“Jennifer and I want to thank the congregation for the lovely gifts we have received and the kind words which have been spoken here tonight.
“I want to go back four weeks to the final meeting of the Bee-line Children’s Meeting which was very special to us. We are so grateful for the beautiful and generous gifts we received from the workers and from the children.
“For being a member of the team during the whole period we have been here, and also leader of the Bee-line team for 27 of those years, Jennifer received a beautiful silver and gold necklace, beautiful flowers, poems and messages from the children themselves and a precious homemade memory book, recording photographs events and little personal notes from the boys and girls.
“For being part of the team, a beautiful garden seat for two was presented to me which I will always treasure,” he said
“I should point out that, while I am retiring from being Pastor of Lurgan Free Presbyterian Church, I will not be retiring from the Lord’s work.
“There is no discharge from that warfare. A vow I made in the early 1960s to serve the Lord to the end must be kept as the Lord gives me opportunity and strength to carry on.
“The Lord has blessed us with four children, all of whom are saved and involved in various ways in the work of the Lord and in the service of His church.
“Jonathan and his wife Jayne are ministering in the Church in Convoy in Co Donegal. Rachel is in Belfast where her husband Garth is the minister of Sandown Road Church. Ruth and her husband Philip and Sarah are involved in this Church here in Lurgan where Philip is a ruling elder.
“We have nine grandchildren, each one of whom is very precious to us. Our children and our grandchildren have given us everything.
“It has been a huge honour for me to have the privilege to serve this congregation as your minister these many years.
“We shared many happy times together, as well as grief and sorrow. We have gone through every emotion of life that there is to experience together,” said Reverend Creane.
For 30 years Rev Creane was also the editor of ‘Truth for Youth’, the young people’s magazine of the Free Presbyterian Church. Also he has been lecturing on two subjects, Church History and Bible Survey at the Whitefield College of the Bible near Lawerencetown for the past 35 years and hopes to continue with College lecturing for the foreseeable future.
Rev Creane was also a chaplain at the Maze Prison for 15 years prior to its closure in the 1990s.
The Rev and Mrs Creane plan to move to Dollingstown for their retirement.
Rev Creane should be kept busy as already he has received invitations to preach at various other Free Presbyterian churches across the province during the summer.