More than 1,000 people attended a concert in Shankill Church, Lurgan, on Friday night to celebrate the life of Revd Liz McElhinney, who died from motor neurone disease (MND) in June.
Some had come from as far away as Sligo and Roscommon to honour a remarkable woman and pay tribute to her legacy as a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, colleague, minister and counsellor.
The event raised £10,700 which was donated to MND Association (NI), represented by chairman Stephen Thompson.
Compere, Bishop Ken Clarke, mission director of SAMS UK & Ireland and a close friend of the McElhinneys, spoke for many when he described Liz as “caring, compassionate and consistent – a joy to be with; a privilege to know. She was a joy carrier.”
The special event shone a spotlight on Liz’s Christian faith, and especially her faith in the face of suffering.
A selection of her poems, read by actor Ian McElhinney and his actor son Matthew (Liz’s godson), was at the heart of the evening.
They were all written following Liz’s diagnosis two years ago, and resonated with her love for God, for people and for nature. She enjoyed life in all its fullness.
In a short film, Dr Sharon Heron, Liz’s creative writing mentor, said that Liz’s vision for the poems grew steadily as she wrote of her experience, hoping that “some glory might be brought to the Lord she loved”.