Reverend Dr James Alexander Matthews

James Matthews, who passed away on July 19th.
James Matthews, who passed away on July 19th.

Former minister of First Lurgan Presbyterian Church, Rev, Dr James Alexander Matthews, has passed away.

The congregation of First Lurgan Presbyterian Church was saddened to learn of the recent death of Dr James Matthews, who died peacefully on July 19th at his home in Castlerock.

Dr Mathews was minister of Brookside Congregation in Ahoghill when he accepted the role of minister to the First Lurgan congregation, and was installed on April 29th, 1971.

His ministry over the years demonstrated that he was a man of deep spiritual discernment, true to his calling, self-effacing and attentive to each and every request for help and sympathy far beyond the call of duty. He was greatly supported by his wife, Jean, in his exemplary diligence in pastoral work.

A significant event in the life of the church, and in Dr Matthews’ tenure, was the tercentenary year in 1982 when a number of specialist evangelical events were held.

The esteem in which he was held in the wider church received recognition, and it was a special honour to the congregation when Dr Matthews was elected as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and was installed as such on June 5th, 1989.

After twenty-three fruitful years of ministry at First Lurgan Presbyterian Church, Dr Matthews accepted a call from a congregation in Sixmilecross. He was installed there in 1994 and served in Sixmilecross until his retirement, when he moved to reside in Castlerock.

Dr Matthews passed away on July 19th, after experiencing ill-health for a long period of time - a situation he had borne with dignity, quietude and fortitude.

A service of thanksgiving for his life was held on July 22nd at Second Dunboe Presbyterian Church, Coleraine.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, are being sent to Ms Charlene Wade, 3 Abbey St, Coleraine, BT52 1BF, for Scripture Union or Alzheimer’s Society.

Dr Matthews is survived by his wife Jean, daughters Barbara and Carol, and son Stephen. The congregation of First Lurgan Presbyterian Church sincerely expresses their condolences to each family member, and the extended families.