SCHOOL (at the time of the 1998 Exhibition)
The first recorded
Superintendent of Strand (2nd Derry) Sunday School was Mr. Robert
Gray Headmaster of the Strand Road National School attached to the church.
From the early
1920's until 1938 Mr Gray built a dedicated band of Sunday School
teachers who catered for all ages from five years ( the current age
for school enrolment) to 12 - 14 year olds who would then pass to
Bible Class and preparation for Communion Class their full membership
of the church.
Mr. Robert Neely,
a long-serving elder in Strand, also Sunday School teacher, succeeded
as Superintendent after the retirement of Mr. Gray. Mr. Clayton,
Headmaster of the new Model School, became Superintendent of the
Sunday School in 1940.
Once again, on the
retirement of the Superintendent, an experienced teacher from the
Sunday School was prepared to take on the responsible task. In 1960
when Mr Clayton retired and left the city to reside in Bangor, Mr.
Alex Canning was appointed.
The programmes of
work used in the Sunday School were developing with the changes in
life-style over the early Fifties. Children's Church had been started
in 1954 which enabled the young children, up to eight years, to leave
Morning Service before the Sermon, and take part in Junior worship
under the guidance of Children's Church leaders.
service as Superintendent lasted until 1983 - a record of 23 years.
During this time the civil unrest in the city caused a decrease in
attendance on Sunday mornings. Parents, especially those now residing
in the Waterside, found it more practical to come as a family to the
church service than to risk double journeys to bring children to
early Sunday School and return to church.
Because of this
the Children's Church was a substitute during those years for the
fellowship of the children of the congregation, which was previously
found in the Sunday School where all the children gathered.
annual event of the Sunday School was the Excursion to Portrush. This
originally was an exciting train journey for all the children
accompanied by parents and friends. Children travelled free and their
tickets included a lunch of sandwiches and buns prepared by caterers
and distributed out of doors (weather permitting), or in a local
By the late
Sixties the outing had become a bus trip to Portrush with the same
eager anticipation of the delights of the sea-side resort. Lunch was
served in the precincts of Barry's Amusements and the individual
white cardboard lunch boxes contained tasty cold chicken portions,
with buttered baps and the traditional Paris buns.
After Mr. Alex
Canning's resignation, his brother Sydney, Bible Class leader,
became the Superintendent and continued from 1983 until 1987.
Numbers in the
Sunday School stabilised over these next years but never returned to
the large enrolment of the early Seventies.
On Mr. Sydney
Canning's resignation in 1987, Mrs. Ann Pinkerton became
Superintendent for two years until Mr. John Reid, the present
Superintendent, took over responsibility on 1st January 1990.
Pinkerton's time as Superintendent, the use of Drama was introduced
into the special Christmas and Children's Day services. Sunday School
teachers all prepared suitable musical and dramatised themes. Older
children from the Sunday School were encouraged to lead the
congregation in worship from the pulpit while Rev. Bolton became a
These ideas are
still a feature of the Sunday School contribution to the life of the
congregation of 2nd Derry (Strand and Buncrana) church.
With a faithful
band of teachers, Mr. John Reid devotes much time to the care and
religious instruction of the children. The Portrush excursion
eventually faded out to be replaced by outings more appealing to the