For those who do not know me. I Married the same man twice!
My Name is Margaret Williamson wife of the late Rev Robin J H Williamson who was minister of Ballycarry Old Presbyterian Church and Raloo Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church and his last Ministry was at Larne and Kilwaughter Old Presbyterian Church.
I was born in Kidlington, near Oxford on 12 May 1934 to Isabel and Frank Brown, both active members in the Church of England, and my dad being an honorary Thurifer. We later moved to Headington, Oxford.
I trained as a nurse and worked as a nurse in Queen Mary’s Hospital Carshalton for the princely sum of £1.10d in old money. After some time I retrained and became a Bank Clerk, and about this time I met Robin who was a trainee minister at Manchester College, Oxford.
I was at one of the College dances where several young men wanted to take me home, I chose the tall handsome Irish one and our relationship developed from there. We often met up secretly to go to the pictures.
Our first wedding
When we decided to get married, it was not allowed, One of those rules that the church and college authorities had imposed: “No one was allowed to marry while they were in training for the ministry”.
However we found a way around this and we slipped quietly into the local Registration Office in Oxford and married with only the Registrar and our witnesses.
Wedding Number 2
When Robin finished his training and before his appointment to Walsall and West Bromwich we thought it time to have a more public wedding which we did at the ancient Church of St Michael, North Gate where it was rumoured that Cromwell once stabled his horses. The Rector here was of great assistance and supported us. When we supposedly retired to sign the official register, in the vestry we simply sat and chatted until he felt a suitable time had passed so he looked at his watch and said, “I think we can rejoin the congregation now”.
On the 9th of January, in celebration of NSPCI Women 2022, Rev Lena Cockroft kindly agreed to be the speaker at the Sunday services in Dromore and Banbridge.
Rev Lena's sermon was delivered on the 40th anniversary of her ordination into ministry! We invite you to read and enjoy her sermon below...
Sermon on Ministry 40th anniversary
Dave Allan, the late comedian, tells a joke about a devout R/C. on his deathbed. He begs his family gathered round him to send for Dr. Paisley. Why, they say, “You’re a good Catholic. We’ll get the local priest” “Och, no”, he says, “ You wouldn’t bring a decent man out on a night like that”. I would be the first to say immediately, if they had asked Dr. Paisley, the same man would come! But that story had an impact on my ministry.
My father, just before he died had a major operation. It was successful but he succumbed to an infection, he caught in recovery. My sister and I spent most of the night huddled in the porch of the old Royal Victoria Hospital, part open to the 4 winds. Although we were together, Jane’s approach was very different from mine, including chain smoking which I hated. I longed for company, and thought about asking one of my colleagues. The exact same thought struck me as the dying R/C and I didn’t bring anyone decent or otherwise out on a night like that. But I did resolve from then on I would make sure that anyone keeping vigil with the dying was visited - any hour of the day or night. And I would sit and keep them company so long as I could. I remember one night, sitting with a gathering of Co. Antrim farmers at the bed of their friend. These were a collection of tough weather beaten guys, yet gentle and caring as any woman.
About 1:30am. They got hungry and one was despatched for fish and chips (where he got them I don’t know). As they were passed round the bedside it occurred to them their friend might like one, too. It was a surreal experience. They’d fed him half a bagful before I left.