Lord Eames pictured with former Dean of Down, the
Very Rev John Dinnen at a farewell reception last
Sunday morning (23rd December) marking Mr Dinnen's
retirement from active ministry after 23 years of
faithful ministry as Rector of the Parish Church of
St Malachy, Hillsborough.
The Very Rev John Dinnen bids farewell at a
reception in the Downshire Centre last Sunday
morning (23rd December).
Over 600 people packed the Parish Church of St Malachy for the
Children's Christmas Nativity last Sunday morning (23rd
December) marking the retirement of the Very Rev John Dinnen.
The former Dean of Down will retire from active ministry at the
end of December after 23 years faithful service as Rector of
The children opened the service as they rang out 'The First
Noel' on hand bells after which Mr Dinnen welcomed the
congregation and thanked all who took part. The organist,
Phillip Elliott (who will also leave Hillsborough at the end of
December) and the Children's Choir conducted by Ella Morrison
led the worship of well-known carols including 'Come and join
the celebration'. The children created a wonderful 'Christmas
card' scene on stage as they presented the Christmas Nativity.
The special service was followed by a farewell reception for Mr
and Mrs Dinnen. Following seasonal refreshments the curate, the
Rev Simon Richardson led the fun and fellowship and paid tribute
to Mr Dinnen who during his entire 40-year ministry 'focused on
the Gospel and the good news of Jesus Christ'. The children's
choir took on the role of the Von Trapp family as they gave
their own special goodbye in the words of a well known song from
the Sound of Music - 'So long, Farewell'. The senior choir
followed as they sang a humorous goodbye entitled, 'John,
Reverend John' after which a framed copy of the song was
Jenny Williams showed a powerpoint presentation entitled 'A
journey with John and Jane' which highlighted many of the
memorable moments from their ministry at Hillsborough and also
paid thanks for so many years of faithful service, building,
teaching and encouraging deeper relationships with God.
At the Christmas Nativity in Hillsborough Parish
Church last Sunday morning (23rd December) are L to
R: Angela Ballentine (Rector's Churchwarden), the
Very Rev John Dinnen, Mrs Jane Dinnen, the Rev Simon
Richardson (Curate) and Elizabeth Bell (People's
Pictured after presenting gifts to the Very Rev
John Dinnen and Mrs Jane Dinnen (seated) are L to R:
(back row) Kenny Dougherty (Sexton), Angela
Ballentine (Rector's Churchwarden), Elizabeth Bell
(People's Churchwarden) and Robert Lucas (Select
Speaking of behalf of the Select Vestry, Robert Lucas spoke of
refurbishment and construction work carried out during Mr
Dinnen's stewardship including the erection of new church halls.
He went on to say that children and young people have played a
major part in his ministry and spoke of the successful youth
club formed. Robert also recollected many happy memories of
sporting activities, church weekends and holidays. He concluded
by thanking Mr and Mrs Dinnen for their friendliness and example
and wished them well in retirement.
Churchwardens Angela Ballentine and Elizabeth Bell presented
gifts to Mr and Mrs Dinnen on behalf of the congregation and
Sarah Ballentine, who was one of the first children Mr Dinnen
baptised when he came to Hillsborough, presented a floral
arrangement. In an emotional response, Mr Dinnen thanked the
congregation for the gifts. He went on to speak of his
supportive wife and his family of which he was very proud and
concluded by speaking of the great team at Hillsborough
reminding them that Christ is the head of all things.
Mr Dinnen will preach his final sermon as rector of Hillsborough
Parish at a Watchnight Service on New Years Eve at 11.30pm - a
most appropriate time to mark a long and faithful ministry at
this historic church. Mr and Mrs Dinnen look forward to enjoying
their retirement in Seaford.