One of the great Methodist leaders of the Caribbean area, the Rev Dr Hugh Sherlock, has died in Jamaica. It was in that island that he was born in 1905, his father being a methodist minister in Portland. Hugh Sherlock entered the ministry in 1932, and became one of the most outstanding pastoral ministers and most able administrators of the Church, both in Jamaica and in the wider Caribbean area.
Having served for some years with distinction as Chairman of the Jamaica District he was elected first President of the newly autonomous Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. When his term of office as President concluded he went to Geneva, where he was Secretary of the World Methodist Council from 1972 to 1977.
Always an enthusiastic supporter of sports activities, he was for some time a leading Jamaican cricketer. This sportsmanship was put to excellent use when he was called on to administer the Boys' Town project, and to his administration added a strong pastoral element.
Several Irish Methodist ministers served in Jamaica, and came to know and love him well. One of these was the Rev Charles Eyre. Mr Eyre's musical gifts complemented the poetic gifts of Mr (later Dr) Sherlock, and they co-operated in publishing a small collection of hymns. Irish Methodists and others in this country have become familiar with Dr Sherlock's hymn, Lord, thy church on earth is seeking, though the tune to which it is usually sung is not one of Mr Eyre's. Less well known here is the fact that Dr Sherlock wrote the words of the Jamaican National Anthem. He died in his native Jamaica at the age of 93, after more than 65 years in the ministry (information supplied by Methodist Recorder).
Methodist city mission work in Derry has for many years been based in Clooney, just across the Foyle from the centre of the city. Work began there in 1894, when the former Primitive Wesleyan Methodist chapel was taken over, reorganised, and renamed Clooney Hall. Through the intervening 100 years the work has evolved to meet the changing demands of the 20th century. Looking towards a new millennium, the Mission Committee has decided that Clooney Hall can no longer be made to meet the challenges of work in the city. It has therefore embarked on an ambitious scheme which will involve the demolition of the present premises and its replacement by something more versatile. The business of raising funds for this has already begun.
Each year the department of youth and children's work appoints a Team on Mission (TOM) to undertake short-term projects in Irish circuits. This year's TOM comprises four girls, Heidi Bloomer, Fiona Teeney, Catherine Blair and Lyndsey Gray. They are at present completing an assignment with a children's club in Limavady, and for the rest of the month will be in East Belfast and West Cork doing similar work.
This year is the 200th anniversary of the Methodist Church in Arklow. Yesterday Ms Mildred Fox TD opened a flower festival in the church as part of the celebrations. The theme of the displays is Seeds of Methodism. The festival is open today from 10.30 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. and tomorrow from 2.00 p.m. It will conclude with an ecumenical service in the church tomorrow at 8.00 p.m. when the preacher will be the Rev Dr John Parkin from Dublin.
Between July 24th and August 3rd a group of young Irish Methodists will be travelling to Bischwiller in France, 25 km south of Strasbourg. There they will assist the work of a local church and co-operate with local young people as they adapt a building to serve as a conference centre.
Tomorrow morning the President of the Church, the Rev. David J. Kerr, will preach at the church in Portrush. He leaves next week to attend the Conference of the Methodist Church in Southern Africa. Recently Mr Kerr attended Mass at St Columcille's Church in Ballyhackamore, an area in which he spent his boyhood. He went to meet the parishioners, whose church had been damaged in one of the recent arson attacks, and to express the sympathy and concern of the Methodist people.