Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford, launched a new book on Lisburn’s Churches in Railway Street Presbyterian Church on Friday June 12,
The launch took placed during an evening of celebration marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of Lisburn.
The book, ‘Lisburn’s Rich Church Heritage,’ is by local churches writer John Kelly, and gives a brief history of all 132 churches and places of worship in the Lisburn city area. It contains more than 700 photographs taken at events during six years in which John has reported on events in churches for the local press and mainstream church magazines.
The Rev Brian Gibson, Minister of Railway Street Presbyterian Church, welcomed the large congregation and gave a special welcome to distinguished guests including Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson. MLA, The Rt Rev Stafford Carson (Presbyterian Moderator) and the Rev Donald Ker (Methodist President).
The Rev Dr Bert Tosh ,Senior Producer of Religious Programmes, BBC Northern Ireland, who compered the evening added his great wealth of knowledge on the history of churches as he showed a powerpoint presentation giving a most interesting overview of the book.
A large choir comprising members of Lisburn city centre churches, conducted by Tom Whyte (Director of Music at First Lisburn Presbyterian Church) and accompanied by Mr Gordon Myers (Lisburn Cathedral) sang ‘Non Nobis Domine’ and ‘Come Holy Spirit.’ The congregational hymns, words of which are used in the book, were ‘How lovely is Thy dwelling place’ and ‘Thine be the glory’. Dana Masters (USA) accompanied by Stephen McLoughlin, Principal of the Lisburn School of Music, sang ‘What a wonderful world’ and ‘The climb.’ Noel McMaster of Bakerloo Junction concluded the evening as he sang his well-known chart topping song ‘My Lagan Softly Flowing’ and also his new song entitled ‘Lisburn Town’ which will be recorded in a few weeks time.
Refreshments were served afterwards in the church hall. The book is currently on sale, cost £5, at Lisburn Museum Shop, Island Civic Centre and Faith Mission Book Shop. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be in aid of the Mayor’s charity, Diabetes UK.
In celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the founding of Lisburn, John said he hopes the book will have succeeded in creating a valuable and permanent record of its churches and places of worship. He expressed thanks to The Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson MLA, for their support and encouragement during the compilation of the book and all who contributed articles, photographs and helped compile and proofread the manuscript in preparation for publication.
John also thanked those who have sponsored or made donations towards the publication of the book, and all those who had taken part in the evening of celebration.
During the evening Dr Tosh reported that the publication of the book on Lisburn’s Churches marks John’s retirement as a religious correspondent, a voluntary work that for past six years had been a ‘labour of love’.