Priesthill (Zion) Methodist minister, the Rev Colin Gracie, will in July take up a new role as minister of Finaghy Methodist Church and Superintendent of the Finaghy Methodist Circuit.
Mr Gracie, who is also minister of Dromore Methodist Church, was previously minister of Birr, Athlone and Tullamore.
He began ministering at Priesthill and Dromore in July 2008, succeeding the Rev Robert Wallace. He in turn will be succeeded by the Rev John Corrie.
In an interview for ‘The Light’ (Lisburn and Dromore Methodist Circuit magazine) Mr Gracie said coming to Priesthill and Dromore had meant a huge change from his previous position.
He said: “I will remember Priesthill Zion as a church which looks outward, drawing its membership from a wide geographical area, young and old and many social backgrounds.
“Priesthill feels like a big family and the congregational weekends were always great times of fun and fellowship.
“There have been many occasions before a Sunday service when I could sense the expectant anticipation of people eager to worship God.”
He added: “We have made many friends in Dromore and Priesthill who we will keep up with even though no I’m longer their minister.”
Colin said too he appreciated the practical support of his wife Anita, who took a lead in various events.
“I often think of Anita as my ‘secret weapon’,” he said. “Her wisdom has prevented me from making more mistakes than I have.
“She has never been afraid to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in with some over-ambitious plan that I had come up with.
“Having a family to come home to each night is a precious thing and she, along with Eleanor and Alex, has kept my feet on the ground, probably in more ways than I realise.”
Mr Gracie said of his move: “Coming up to the time of a possible move Methodist ministers are always anxious - where will I be sent?
“However, the move for us to Finaghy works out well for the family as Eleanor can remain at Wallace High School and although Alex will need to attend Dromore Central Primary for a year, we hope he will be able to join his sister in the future.
“Finaghy and Seymour Hill will have their own challenges, but I look forward to taking on the challenges of moving God’s work forward. “
Mr Gracie’s successor John Corrie was in fact born and raised in Finaghy, attending Dunmurry Presbyterian Church.
He went to school at Dunmurry Primary School, Wallace High School and Stranmillis College.
While at school he was encouraged to help in Lisburn Gateway Club, which led to helping with the Regional Society of Mentally Handicapped Children and volunteering on holidays run by the National Society.
On one such holiday he met an English girl, Jan, his future wife.
“ I eagerly await joining the Lisburn and Dromore Circuit with pastoral oversight of the societies in Dromore and Priesthill,” he said.