Rector in flute band mission

Rev William Orr, Rector at St Mark's. INPT45-252.
Rev William Orr, Rector at St Mark's. INPT45-252.

St Mark’s in Portadown could soon be resounding to a new type of music as its rector, the Rev William Orr, launches it as a Flute Band Church (FBC).

Rev Orr, a passionate lover of flute band music who set up a band in his previous parish of Muckamore, is now bringing the concept to Portadown.

The aim is to reach out to people who wouldn’t normally go to church and allow them to come together, enjoy the common interest of flute band music and explore issues such as faith, culture and tradition.

The band will be formed on Wednesday, November 29 in the Fergus Hall at 8pm.

He said, “We will plan to meet just once a month, play tunes, drink plenty of tea and coffee, eat loads of biccies, and enjoy what I hope will be a good night’s craic.

“Furthermore, being part of FBC will in no way interfere with existing band commitments. We don’t do parades, except the odd church parade, only concerts, and so FBC is no way a new band competing for new members in that way.”

He explained, “Having been in a band in my youth, I may have rejected traditional church, but I was open to the person of Jesus, and I spent many a night engaged with my friends on a Saturday night about questions of faith.

“But, I never had the opportunity to ask my questions to a Christian who lived in my world, and who could give me an informed answer, and be part of our discussions.”

The rector, who still helps out in Pride of the Hill Auld Boys in Rathfriland, added, “Jesus spent a huge amount of time eating and drinking with ordinary people, who would never have darkened the ‘church door’ of their time, and yet somehow those same people today I believe think that Jesus is not interested in them, and yet He is.

“So FBC is my way of creating a table – a space for us to meet together.”

He said that when he first went to his previous parish, “desperate to find a way to connect with the local community”, he felt he was being directed by God to use his life experiences to speak to others.

His experience of being in a marching band was the way he found to do that.

Anyone interested in finding out more is welcome to go along to the Fergus Hall on November 29.