The Bishop of Connor and former Church of Ireland Primate Lord Eames will be among the guests at the Rehallowing of Dunluce Parish Church on Sunday March 21.
The Service of Rehallowing is the culmination of nine months of extensive restoration work to St John the Baptist church, which dates back to 1821. The church was built on the site of the old mid 13th century church of Portcammon, and the church at Dunluce Castle was closed in 1821 giving its title to the new parish church of St John the Baptist.
A sanctuary was added in the 1890s, but this latest refurbishment is the most comprehensive in the church’s history. It involved re-pointing of stonework, the removal and replacement of floors, wall plaster, pews and wainscoting. The church needed a new roof, and an extension has been added to rear to accommodate a choir room and disabled toilets.
The church was completely re-wired, and a PA and audio visual system installed, along with a new heating system. The old organ, now in Drumtallagh Church, was removed and replaced with a new organ, stained glass windows were refurbished, and the font and pulpit were re-located. Outside drainage was improved and new paths were laid.
During the restoration work, services were held in the Chancellor Guy Hall of the Dunluce Parish Centre.
Sunday’s service gets underway at 3.30pm. The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, will conduct the Service of Rehallowing and dedicate gifts presented by members of the parish. Lord Eames will be the preacher, and the Archdeacon of Dalriada, the Ven Stephen Forde will lead the Prayers. Lessons will be read by Stephen Chapman and Anne Gault, and the service will be conducted by the rector of Dunluce, the Rev Canon George Graham.
Canon Graham said the project has restored a ‘very beautiful’ church to its former glory. “It was in need of extensive repair and thankfully we were able to do it in a way that honours those who first built the church.”
The rector said he was deeply grateful to the architect, contractors and all concerned with the project.