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Rev Weir to lead service to mark his golden year

By Eddie McIlwaine

It will be just like old times when retired Rev Derek Weir steps back into the pulpit of Killead Presbyterian Church on Sunday week. He will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Sabbath on which he preached his first sermon to the congregation in this corner of south Antrim in the shadow of Aldergrove Airport.

Rev Weir has been invited back by his successor, the Rev John Murdock, for this special occasion. It was on Sunday, April 24, 1966, that Derek began his ministry there as a 27-year-old cleric, called unanimously by the Killead congregation from the Cliftonville Church in Belfast where he was assistant minister.

His ministry in Killead went on for 38 years until his retirement in 2004, during which time Derek earned the love and respect of the people to whom he preached and ministered in one of the oldest congregations in Ireland.

Derek, who will be accompanied by his wife Maureen, daughters Jennifer and Marina, and grandchildren, says: "I'm looking forward to seeing many familiar faces. Killead was unforgettable. I made so many friends."

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