Canon Jack Mercer: Bishop pays a glowing tribute to long-time rector of Ballyholme
Canon Jack Mercer, who died recently, was rector of the St Columbanus Parish in Ballyholme for 35 years of his 40-year ministry.
At his funeral service in St Columbanbus Church, Bishop Gordon McMullan paid tribute to his service and commitment.
He said: "It is entirely fitting that this church and house of prayer should be Canon Jack Mercer's last resting place before he is taken on his last earthly journey - to the place of his burial - because this church and the parish of Ballyholme were at the heart of his ordained service."
Bishop McMullan added: "The fruit of that much blessed ministry was evidenced in the growth, strength and stability of his rectorship, and in the strong foundations on which his successors have continued to build and minister in the parish of Ballyholme.
"A number of qualities and characteristics contributed to Canon Mercer's effective ministry.
"One was his openness to people of varying backgrounds.
"Another was his deep love for, and loyalty to, the Church of Ireland as an important instrument of Christ's witness and service in this island and outwards into the wider world from which it had gained and to which it gave."
The Bishop also paid tribute to Canon Mercer's enthusiasm for life.
"He approached the opportunities and challenges with active, positive energy of mind, spirit and body. In his leisure activities, as well as in his parish and wider Church involvements, this was his pattern of life.
"As a young man he was a fine cricketer and hockey player, in addition to his academic progress and preparation for ordination.
"In his later years he much enjoyed his golf, and the companionship of the members of Clandeboye Golf Club Leprechauns group of golfing friends, as well as his rounds with clergy friends."
Bishop McMullan also paid tribute to Canon Mercer's late wife, Jo.