When I was appointed minister of Portrush Methodist Church in July 1946 the Church of Ireland friends were holding epilogue services on Sunday evenings. There were so many holiday visitors that I argued there would be room for another epilogue service. So on Sunday evenings at 10 o'clock we invited the holiday makers to end the day in church, for a service of 20 minutes. On Thursday evenings we had a 'Thursday Half-hour' which was exactly what it said.
This kind of ministry was rather different from the formal Sunday services. What I aimed to do was to have two hymns, a prayer, a short reading and a talk which usually sprang from something topical. These epilogues proved to be very popular and usually the church was filled.
When we moved to Tandragee in 1951 I missed that form of ministry but could never think of any way in which it could be continued, until one day in 1955 a very simple incident happened in a local shop which gave me an idea. I went home and typed out my very first 'Random Thought' and sent it to the editor of the Portadown Times, Mr W H Wolsey. I suggested that if he liked it I could let him have one occasionally. He immediately responded by asking me to do one every week. And except for occasional' lapses' for one reason or another I have been doing one every week since. I cannot now remember the title I chose for the series but it was the editor who gave it the title by which the column has come to be known, 'Random Thoughts.'
An unkind critic once called them 'Rambling Thoughts' - well, so be it. Rambling or not, quite a number of people have asked for them to be produced in a more permanent form and I have at long last responded to their wishes and offer this collection of my earliest 'Random Thoughts.'
T Henry Holloway