A CHURCH of Ireland minister has preached himself into the record books after making the longest sermon.
The marathon - which was around five hours and 50 minutes long - was given on Saturday by the rector of Lambeg, the Rev Ken McReynolds, reclaiming a record he had held five years ago.
Eight of the most faithful of his flock - including his wife - stayed for the duration but other parishioners popped in for sections to support him.
Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, Mr McReynolds said he felt "shattered" but said that was mainly from the preparation which took him most afternoons and evenings last week.
However, despite his achievement, he was back behind the pulpit again yesterday to give his regular Sunday evening service.
"I'm a bit sore from standing in the one position for that long but the delivery went well," he said.
"I had been aiming for six hours but I was just short of it by around eight to 10 minutes.
"I had run out of material and didn't want to ruin it by going on. I kept going by taking small sips of water as well as honey and lemon
to lubricate my throat.
"I was also really hungry afterwards as I didn't eat much beforehand or during it."
Although his record is recognised within church circles, it will not be by the Guinness Book of Records.
"They demand you stop for 10 minutes every hour - if I did that I could have gone on all day - so it is just an unofficial record within church
circles," he said.
Five years ago Mr McReynolds held the unoffcial record for the longest uninterrupted sermon ever preached – which lasted five hours.
But that mammoth effort was beaten bya clergyman in the south of England, who exceeded it by 30 minutes.
However, the record has now returned to Ulster after Saturday's sermon which was based on the theme of Christian love.
Mr McReynolds said he was inspired by the account in Nehemiah 8 of Ezra standing on a wooden platform and reading the law "from daybreak till noon" - a period which he said is estimated to be six hours.
The sermon was sponsored for the Church Army Evangelist Training Fund which will support Craig Dowling, a student from Lambeg parish as he trains to become an evangelist."I think if I lose the record again this time I will lose it, I don't think I will do it again," he said.
Mr McReynolds said he enjoys writing his sermons each week and likes to make them as relatable as he can, sometimes even introducing the likes of the X-Factor into them.
"I like to do a bit of research to explain things, I wouldn't like to think I am one of those ministers who just drones on," he said