A ‘Celebration Service’ was held at the Hilden Centre on Sunday September 25 to mark the 10th anniversary of this purpose built worship centre.
The service, held in a large marquee in the grounds of the centre, was conducted by the rector, the Rev Canon Ken McReynolds, assisted by Miss Mavis Gibbons. The guest speaker was Sister Myrtle Morrison (Church Army) who, as member of Lambeg Parish staff for seven years, had worked with the rector in pioneering the work in the Hilden area.
Also taking part was Mrs Pat Harvey who in May 2000 took over and continued Myrtle’s sterling work when she moved to St Saviour’s, Craigavon. Pat was on the staff as pastoral assistant for eight years and a key part of her role was the work of the Hilden Centre.
During the service, Hilary Shaw (Sunday School leader) led the prayers and Victor McDonald (Ministry Team member) read the Scripture lesson. Also during the service the Sunday School children were presented with commemorative anniversary medals.
Mrs Reta Dickson presided at the piano and led the celebratory praise that included, ‘Lord for the years your love has kept and guided.’
The Sunday School children led a special praise time when they sang a selection of choruses that included, ‘Faith as strong as a mustard seed.’ The words of this lovely chorus, a personal favourite of the rector’s, were the theme for a gospel message printed on a souvenir bookmark which was issued to all who attended the service. The message read, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, just a tiny little seed, God will make it grow and grow” – a fitting statement of the worship and outreach work which was planted and which continues to grow at the Hilden Centre.
After the service, the congregation and well wishers moved into the Hilden Centre filling it to capacity for a celebratory dinner; during which time Myrtle and Pat cut a 10th anniversary birthday cake marking this important milestone in the history of Lambeg Parish.
The Hilden Centre as it exists today was the culmination of several years work in the Hilden area, when it had been realised that although the area was within the geographical boundaries of the parish it was logistically detached from the parish church itself.
Activities initially took place in the EMB Hall which was bought in 1996 by Lambeg Parish for Church extension work. The building, which was in a poor state of repair, was demolished in early 2000 and 12 months later, on September 27 2001 the present worship centre was opened in its place. Today, the Hilden Centre runs a full programme of worship and teaching events, a parent and toddlers group, a ‘drop–in’ morning and other community based events.
Report and photos by John Kelly.