Retirement party for Chancellor Stewart
Tribute to the Rev Chancellor John Wesley Stewart BD on the occasion of his retirement, following his farewell service in Garvary Parish Church on Sunday 11th February 2018.
Rev. Chancellor Stewart, today is the day you decided to retire and thus has ended another chapter in the history of Garvary Parish.
It is my sad duty this afternoon to pay tribute and say farewell to you, Chancellor Stewart our esteemed rector since September 1990, twenty seven and a half years, a record unsurpassed in the history of most parishes today. This tribute marks the end of your fulltime Ordained ministry in the Church of Ireland spanning almost forty one years, thirty two of them in Clogher Diocese in just two incumbencies.
Well done good and faithful servant!
There’s a phrase which occurs a small number of times in the Bible and I think it aptly describes you as Chancellor of the Diocese and as our rector and that is “a man without guile”, a plain spoken man with no airs or graces, honest and true to your vocation, a man of integrity, modest and unassuming.
You have been a good servant of the Diocese throughout your membership of the various Boards and Committees, but even more so you have been a faithful Pastor to your parishioners in Garvary who have been enriched from your compassionate ministry. Your services of public worship have always been conducted in a dignified manner, your sermons, which I have not counted but reckon to be in excess of fifteen hundred, have always been carefully and extensively researched, often containing personal reminiscences and anecdotes, well chosen quotes from notable writers, interesting, informative and most important, Biblically based, spirit-filled and culturally relevant. You never failed to display an affirmation of your unwavering faith and unyielding love to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Visiting the unwell in hospital or at home and your systematic visits around the parish generally were a regular practice. Your homely and friendly conversations with the aged and housebound were looked forward to and much appreciated. As regards other aspects of parish life the building of our new church hall, the re-roofing and redecoration of the church and the production of the booklet in 2015 on the “Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Laying of the foundation stone of the Most Holy Trinity Parish Church, Garvary”, are but a few of your accomplishments that shall stand to serve as mementoes of your time with us.
Chancellor Stewart, we have valued your friendship, delighted in your company and enjoyed your preaching. However, it would be remiss of me if I neglected to say thank you to your wife Valerie for her contribution to the Mother’s Union both as former Diocesan President and Enrolling Member of Garvary and Derryvullen South Branch for twenty seven years.
I now wish you, Chancellor, a long healthy, and enjoyable retirement in the days ahead where you will find more time to spend with your family, doing some gardening and pursuing your interests in reading and music. Thank you both for everything you have done for Garvary Parish over the years we have been privileged to know you.
John Irvine MBE.
Following the tributes paid by John Irvine and Derek Wilson on behalf of the parish, and Paul Trimble on behalf of the Sunday School, gifts were presented to Chancellor Stewart by Derek Wilson, Rector’s Church Warden, Zoe Wallington from the Sunday School, Freda Beacom from Mothers’ Union, Hilda Lucy from Garvary Bowling Club, and Margaret Porter, People’s Church Warden presented a bouquet of flowers to Mrs Stewart. Chancellor Stewart cut the cake and responded thanking all for their gifts. Refreshments were served