A TIME FOR EVERYTHING.
King Solomon of Israel was perhaps the wisest man the world has known and his poem, from Ecclesiastes - with its universal advice - is one that Rev Bill Lavery will know better than most.
And now the time comes that Rev. Bill Lavery, Chaplain to Linfield Football Club for over thirty years, has made the decision to hang up his ‘boots’ and take a well-earned retirement.
Bill has given exemplary service going back to the late 80s when he invited Linfield FC to a “Sports Service” at the Newtownards Road Methodist Church. During hospitality afterwards, he expressed a keen interest to become involved with the club in a low-key pastoral care background capacity.
Sports chaplaincy was coming to the fore with the Rev John Bowyer of Man United being the key driver throughout the U.K. John later visited and addressed a symposium at Windsor Park. For some years Bill was just an enthusiastic regular at training sessions, match days and events and probably would have put in crosses, had he been allowed to!
In 2002 Linfield FC took the decision to appoint an official chaplain, with Bill being the very first in this new role. Making himself readily available, not only in matters spiritual but with everyday concerns and problems common to us all, Bill throughout was an avid Linfield Supporter with strong opinions on the game, expressing the tensions of a match day but always in a more ‘controlled’ way than many of us could.
As official chaplain, he led various club celebratory services and functions and introduced a Linfield Carol service at the conclusion of the home game just before Christmas. A brave outreach as the mood was highly dependent on the match result! It was also his sad duty also to officiate at many funerals of Linfield personnel down through the years. Much of his work will forever be confidential and we can only guess at the extent of this.
In his recent conversation with club officials, Bill expressed his deep appreciation of being afforded the privilege as LFC Chaplain for so long, and his sadness that the time had come to relinquish the voluntary position.
The LFC Board, recognising the long, devoted, and unstinting service given by Rev. Bill over these many years is not only deeply grateful for the contribution he has made to the welfare of the club but wish to mark this in a very special way.
As from now, the Rev. Bill, Lavery, a life member, becomes the Honorary Chaplain to Linfield Football Club.
Rev Bill, seen here with the Rev Harold Good (President of the Methodist Church), former team doctor Cameron Ramsey and sports therapist Terry Hayes