This year Omagh High school embarked on a new venture by organising additional Carol Services in the Ulster American Folk Park. Ninety-nine excited pupils and many of the staff, in Victorian costume, participated in three services in December.
The first service, held on Thursday 8 December in the Mountjoy Meeting House, was a memorable occasion with the congregation comprising of approximately 80 members of the Treasure House Group from across Northern Ireland along with some of the park visitors on the day. The service was led by Rev John Morrow and provided an excellent opportunity for the pupils and staff to become familiar with their venue prior to the full houses on Wednesday 14 December.
Rev Jonathan Cowan led the morning service on Wednesday 14 December at 11.00am. Many local community groups were joined by parents, friends and members of the public to fill the meeting house. Having enjoyed morning tea and coffee in the Assembly Room at the UAFP, the visitors were greeted en route to the Meeting House by the drama groups and musicians who really set the scene. The service had many items of song, music, reading and reflection with the Rev Cowan reminding all of the importance and relevance of the events in Bethlehem which were old but ever new.
With over 180 tickets issued for the evening service, the Meeting House was filled to capacity. Having enjoyed a glass of hot fruit punch, the congregation were once again greeted by the drama group and musicians en route to the Meeting House and the scene was set for a most memorable candle lit Victorian Carol Service. On this occasion, the pupils and staff were joined by the Friends of Omagh High School Parents’ Association who also participated in song. Rev John Morrow drew the evening to a close by considering the old question, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews?’ in a relevant context for today. The Omagh High School pipes and drums then led the congregation back to the Assembly Room where everyone enjoyed a festive supper provided by the Friends of Omagh High School.
A special word of thanks is extended to the staff at the Ulster American Folk Park and to all those who helped in any way to make these services so enjoyable and heart-warming this year. Without the support and guidance of Mr Patrick O’Kane, Mrs Jane Anthony and Miss Dorothy Crawford from the UAFP this event just would not have been possible. We also really appreciate the willingness of the Rev Cowan, Rev Morrow and Mrs Morrow to fully embrace our Victorian theme and for their encouragement and support along the way. Our gratitude is also extended to the Friends of Omagh High School for their provision of supper and to Mrs Dixon and Mrs Moody for their solos.
Finally a special thanks to all who attended and gave generously to the Chest Heart and Stroke Association. As a result a presentation of money will be made at the end of January. Thank you one and all.
To see more photos please visit the Gallery section of the website.