Former MP and Free Presbyterian minister, the Rev William McCrea, has announced he is stepping down from the ministry next month after 50 years.
His final Sunday as minister of Calvary Free Presbyterian Church in Magherafelt will take place on October 14, with a farewell service on November 1.
The DUP veteran was recently appointed to the House of Lords, becoming Lord McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown.
The well-known gospel singer went into the Theological Hall of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster 51 years ago. On July 21 1968 he held his first Gospel mission on Mullaghboy Hill – on the site of the present-day church complex.
“After this mission I went to Scarva and then back to Desertmartin where I collapsed in exhaustion and was taken to hospital,” he recalled.
“After the mission in Desertmartin a group of people separated from the ecumenal apostasy and formed a Free Presbyterian witness in this town under the leadership of Rev Gordon Cooke.”
On getting back to health he returned to Magherafelt in June 1969 as the student minister in charge.
He was ordained minister of Magherafelt Free Presbyterian Church in February 1972.
“Since 1969 I have had the privilege of ministering to the congregation of Magherafelt Free Presbyterian Church, and have witnessed God’s work grow and prosper,” he said.