Pat served the Salvation Army

Mrs Pat Reynolds
Mrs Pat Reynolds
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The name of Mrs Pat Reynolds was synonymous with the Salvation Army and Elim Pentecostal Church in Portadown during the two periods of her life that she spent in the town.

Mrs Reynolds (66) died in Craigavon Area Hospital after a short illness. She made an impact in Portadown when she and her husband Gordon moved here in 1983. As well as serving with the Salvation Army at that stage, she worked as a recreation coordinator for The Fold Housing Association and was a probation community service supervisor.

She also undertook a period of employment with the Haven Ace Scheme. However, her most important and cherished roles were that of wife and mother to her two young children - Timothy and Melanie.

Violet Patricia McFarlane was born to William and Violet McFarlane, in the Fermanagh village of Ballinamallard – one of three sisters and five brothers. The family moved into Enniskillen where she attended the Model Primary School and Enniskillen High School.

She became an enthusiastic member of The Salvation Army in Enniskillen. Around the same time, she met Gordon Reynolds, and following his conversion and similar call to ministry, they were both ordained as Salvation Army officers.

Marriage followed on 23 August, 1975, with a not so extravagant seven-day honeymoon in Dublin.

Their vocation took them to Coleraine, Belfast’s Shankill Road, and leadership of the Salvation Army’s mission work in Dublin.

They started a family with the birth of Timothy in 1977, and in 1980 left full-time ministry and moved back to Enniskillen, with Gordon pursuing a career in social work as a probation officer. Gordon’s employment brought them to Portadown in 1983 with their new born daughter, Melanie, in tow.

During the next few years, Pat worked as a recreation coordinator for The Fold Housing Association and a probation community service supervisor. She also undertook a period of employment with the Haven Ace Scheme. However, her most important and cherished roles were that of wife and mother to her two young children - Timothy and Melanie.

Pat and Gordon continued to serve as lay people in Portadown Salvation Army. Pat enjoyed singing in the songsters, leading the Army’s Home League and volunteering at their drop-in centre for people with substance abuse issues.

In March 1992, the couple moved to Canada to serve in The Salvation Army in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. They made a brief return to Portadown in 1994 for three years, during which Pat worked at the Cherrie Top Bakery. In 1997, they returned to the same town in Canada, and to the same vocational employment as before.

While in Canada, Pat was a client support worker and home cleaner until she went to work as a sales assistant in a family-owned furniture and appliance store. She spent 10 happy years there, being much appreciated and valued by the owner and his family.

In 2005, when Gordon became Pastor of Gregory Drive Alliance Church in Chatham, Pat very quickly settled into, and thrived, as a Pastor’s wife. She was actively involved in leading the women’s Bible study, pastoral visitation, and supporting Gordon in his busy ministry. Pat was known for her warmth and love for people and made it her mission to greet and hug people arriving each Sunday for worship – something which was very much appreciated.

They returned home to Northern Ireland in retirement in July of last year, making their home in Bleary and their spiritual home at Portadown Elim Church. They loved reconnecting with family and friends but Pat’s greatest joy since returning home was being ‘Nana’ to her two grandchildren - Levi and Ada.

After the short illness, which she bore with grace, Pat passed away on Thursday morning of last week. Said Gordon, “Although the family are in deep grief at her passing, we are also at peace, knowing that she is with her Saviour and they will one day be reunited.”

The service of thanksgiving was at Portadown Elim Church and conducted by Pastors Ross McBride and Stuart Argue, with the latter singing the solo ‘Give Me Jesus’, and the main hymns were ‘Great is They Faithfulness’ and ‘In Christ Alone’. The pianist was Claire Breheany.

Tributes were by son and daughter Timothy and Melanie and mourners came from as far afield as Canada and Italy. Burial was at Kernan Cemetery.

Donation in lieu of flowers are to Compassion UK and Hope Ministries, c/o Ian Milne Funeral Directors, 57 Tandragee Road, Lurgan, BT66 8TL.