Tributes are paid to former Minister

Rev William Cowper Lynas
Rev William Cowper Lynas

A thanksgiving service for Rev. William Cowper Lynas who passed away recently at the age of 92, was held at Ballycairn Presbyterian Church, last Friday (January 29).

Rev Cowper Lynas, of Dunmurry Presbyterian Church was married for 64 years to Betty and the couple had two children Gillian and Michael. He also had three grandchildren Tom, Archie and Rory.

Known as a strictly honest person with a gentle spirit, quiet and unassuming, he was the second son of William Lynas and Winifred. He attended Rosetta Primary School and Methodist College.

He was an outstanding sportsman, playing rugby in the first team and competing in the Schools’ Cup final at Ravenhill aged 15. He was also a keen runner and held the 100 yards school record for many years.

Throughout his childhood, he spent many happy summers with the family in Newcastle, a place where he would later return with his own children and grandchildren.

His first job was with the Belfast Savings Bank at Arthur Street. It was around this time his mother sadly died.

The family were members of Fitzroy Avenue Church where he sang in the choir and was an officer in the BB.

It was in 1940 he met his wife Betty Stevenson, a minister’s daughter and a student at Queens who sang in the Fitzroy Avenue Church choir. Both shared a love of music and tennis.

This was the beginning of a friendship which was to lead to marriage ten years later.

Rev Lynas’ father was a City Missionary and Sunday School Superintendent and his brother Victor also studied for the church.

In 1944, Rev Lynas started a long road to becoming a minister, working during the day and studying in the evening.

In 1946, he left the bank and studied at Magee College in Derry and at Trinity College Dublin where he graduated in with an MA in 1949.

He went on to train for the ministry at Assembly’s College in Belfast. In 1951 he became Assistant Minister at McCracken Memorial Church.

He sang in the choir and went with them to sing in the Festival Hall as part of the Festival of Britain. On July 20 1951, on his 28th birthday, he married Betty at Glastry Presbyterian Church where her father was minister.

At the end of 1953, he was called by the congregation of Ballywillan and on January 29 1954, he was ordained as a minister.

He spent seven years at Ballywillan and he retained his connections to the church and to North Antrim for the rest of his life.

In 1961, he moved to Dunmurry where he was minister for 28 years. During that time the congregation grew and flourished and new church halls were built on two occasions. There were many thriving organisations in which he played an active role – BB, GB, PWA, bowls, badminton etc. and golf.

He was Convenor of the Central Ministry Fund 1973-1980, of the Widows of Ministers Fund 78-85 and, after retirement, of the United Appeal in 92-98.

He was for many years a chaplain to Purdysburn Hospital, a role in which he took great pleasure, even though it meant an increased workload and on many occasions three services to conduct on a Sunday.

In 1989, at the age of 65, he retired and moved to Comber where Betty’s family lived. He continued working for the next 20 years making connections to many congregations most notably in Ballycairn where he took charge of a vacancy, at Belmont where for many years he did pastoral visitation, and at Killinchy where he frequently conducted services and also sang in the choir.

He is survived by his wife Betty, children Gillian and Michael and grandchildren Tom, Archie and Rory.