The people of the Parish of Ramoan have used their gifts to serve their community, the Bishop of Connor stated at the official opening of Ramoan Parish Centre.
The Rt Rev Alan Abernethy told guests at the opening: “This parish has such a legacy of people, talents and assets; all gifts. They have used these gifts to help serve this community and so God’s gifts are offered to others to express His love for all.”
The new state-of-the-art centre has full conference facilities, disabled access including a lift, a main hall which can accommodate 250 people, and several meeting rooms.
Located at the Diamond, Ballycastle, Ramoan Parish intends the new centre will be a safe and welcoming space for the whole community.
The rector, the Rev David Ferguson, said: “The opening and dedication of Ramoan Parish Centre is a celebration of the new life that this work will bring to the Parishes of Ramoan & Culfeightrin as we face the challenges of mission and ministry in the 21st century.”
David paid tribute to the Select Vestries of the church, past and present, who gave ‘great leadership to the parish in stepping forward in faith to undertake this project.’
The new centre, adjacent to Holy Trinity Parish Church, is built on the site of the former sextons’ bungalow which served as meeting rooms for several years. The bungalow was demolished, and the new building, which includes a church office, kitchen and tea and coffee point, was constructed in its place.
Local groups, including the Alzheimer’s Society and the Art Society, are already making use of this great new space, while it will also host the parish Sunday School, the indoor bowling club, youth group and Girl Guides.
David said: “It is our desire as a parish that this would be not just our Parish Centre, where we meet to do our things which are important, but would also be a safe and welcoming space in the midst of this community for our whole community.
“As we dedicate it to God, it is our prayer that this building will be used by all sorts of people who wish to build up our common life together – through spirituality, through health and sport, through activities and learning.”
Parish Secretary Brian Dillon said that the parish centre’s very central location in Ballycastle, and the quality of accommodation offered, will make it an ideal venue for local groups to hold events, and will also lend itself to catering for events large and small.
Catering was provided at the parish centre for visitors to this year’s Lammas Fair, and, in partnership with the Ballycastle Town Market, the driveway to the building proved a great location for a variety of artisan stalls.
Brian paid tribute to the rector who he said had been a contributory factor in providing the drive to successfully complete a high specification Parish Centre for Ramoan.
Speaking at the opening on September 3, Bishop Alan said: “Thanks be to God for everything He has given us even when we take it for granted. Everything is gift!”