Tandragee Presbyterian Church has appointed a new minister. But Mark McMaw won’t be a ‘Rev’ until the date of his installation is arranged, as Tandragee will be his first ‘charge’.
His current post is Licentiate Assistant to Rev John Hanna in Glendermott, Londonderry, in the Derry-Donegal Presbytery, where he has worked since 2013.
It was his first appointment after he entered the Presbyterian ministry in his mid-30s, having been a chartered town planner with the DoE and then in private practice.
Mr McMaw (now 40) felt “a strong call to become a full-time minister” after he had been involved in Christian youth work and various missions through his ‘home’ church, First Holywood.
He hails originally from East Belfast and was educated at Belfast ‘Inst’ and the Queen’s University, after which he embarked on his career in planning.
He then studied theology at Union College and he attained a Master of Divinity Degree, after which he moved to Londonderry.
A second life has beckoned for Mr McMaw, having reached 40. Last July, he married Heather – a primary school teacher in Ballyclare - and they are expecting their first baby around the Easter period.
“It’s a time of wonderful change in our lives,” he said. “I believe God has called me to Tandragee – that we are well suited to one another. I have a background in youth, mission and pastoral care, and our aim is the growth of the Gospel.”
He also takes a keen interest in sport. He spent a short period of his childhood in Liverpool and is an Anfield fan. He also follows the fortunes of the Ulster rugby team, although they are in a lean period just now.
“In those days, the football choices were Liverpool, Everton or lowly Tranmere Rovers,” he recalled. “I chose Liverpool – and now I believe we have chosen wisely in Tandragee. Our first impressions are of fellowship and friendliness. And we love the whole appearance of the town.”
The official ‘call’ was made by the congregation at special meeting on Monday night. He succeeds Rev George McClelland who retired last March.