The newly reordered and restored Derrykeighan Parish Church was full for its opening service on Sunday June 16.
The celebrations began in the Allen & Adair Hall which has been the venue for Sunday worship since the work on St Colman’s began in February 2012. The officers of the Select Vestry and parish readers carried back to the church various items needed for Sunday worship including a Bible, Prayer Book, Communion vessels, and baptismal bowl.
Members of the choir led in a Psalm and brought the music books back to the choir stalls.
Everyone processed from the hall to the newly restored church and once the congregation had taken their seats there was silence as everyone took in the beauty of the interior for the first time. While the exterior of the church has been restored to what it was, the interior is now a modern worship space which successfully retains the character of the old building.
The service was led by the curate, the Rev Graham Nevin, and the preacher was the Rector, the Rev John Anderson, who spoke of the early life of St Francis of Assisi and his calling to repair the church of San Damien despite many setbacks and difficulties.
The congregation stayed in the church after the service ended to have a good look at the detail of the restoration and to explore the new extension which includes a new vestry room, meeting room and other facilities.
Further services of celebration are planned over the summer. On Friday July 5 at 7.30pm there will be a guest service with Canon Walter Lewis as preacher, when members of neighbouring congregations will be welcomed and on Wednesday September 4 at 7.30pm, the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, will come to formally re–dedicate and bless the work.