The son of a Church of Ireland clergyman who passed away suddenly early yesterday (Saturday) has paid tribute to his father and thanked everyone for their support.
Ian Somerville, whose father David was the rector of St Matthew’s Parish Church in Richhill, described him as a “good Godly man”.
Rev Somerville had ministered at Richhill since he was instituted in September 2013.
His funeral service will take place in the village tomorrow (Monday) at 1pm.
Rev Somerville, a native of Lurgan, had been a teacher before his calling to the church.
Married to May, the father-of-three, Ian, Sarah and Dan, had taught RE at Rathfriland High School for 17 years, having studied himself at Stranmillis College.
When he was ordained to the ministry, his first calling was to Christ Church in Lisburn, before becoming rector of St John’s Church in Rathfriland.
He served there for 10 years, from 2003 until August 2013, before arriving in Richhill, where he made many friends and was held in such high regard.
The church yesterday shared photographic memories of the rector’s time at the parish where, as in Richhill, parishioners and friends were quick and fulsome in their praise and affection for their former minister.
Son Ian has taken great comfort from the support shown by all since yesterday’s sad news, thanking all via social media for their “kind messages”.
“My Dad was such a good Godly man and it is comforting to know how well he was thought of,” he writes.
“He loved his time in Rathfriland a village which was so very special to him. You knew him as a teacher and a minister and he was so good at both.
“We knew him as a Daddy and at that job, he was simply the best!
Bishop Harold Miller said has also spoken of the “great shock for everyone to hear of David’s sudden death”.
“David was dearly loved and his ministry greatly valued,” he said.
“Our prayers and sympathy are with May and Dan, and with his wider family as they hold on to the sure and certain hope of eternity in Christ at a very difficult time.”