Christ Church, Lisburn, celebrates 175th anniversary

Thursday November 23rd 2017

The Rev John Pickering, the Rev Julie Bell, the Rev Paul Dundas (rector of Christ Church), and the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, launching the anniversary book.

Christ Church Parish, Lisburn, celebrated its 175th anniversary with a weekend of special events from November 17-19.

The anniversary provided an opportunity for people to gather for a meal, share in worship and celebration, catch up and share stories of life and faith.

On the Friday evening people gathered in the hall, enjoying the music provided by the Howe family, to view the exhibition in ‘Memory Lane.’

Stories were shared at the dinner by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Maureen Doran, Jacqueline McComb and by hosts Tom Doran and Jim Fleming.

Bishop Alan launched a book recounting the life and witness of the parish and there were many favourable comments about the book’s cover, content, memories and photographs. The book is available from the parish office priced £3.

There were prayers for the 175th celebrations as well as the parish mission statement, which continues to shape witness in Christ Church.

The evening also provided the opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Richard as parish organist, choir master and director of music. Mrs Barbara Watson, people’s church warden, spoke of Richard’s ministry over those 25 years and made a presentation to him on behalf of the parish.

There were also presentations to Marie Anderson, Mildred Briggs and Robin Smythe for all their help in the gathering and shaping of the material and photographs for the book, while Iris Murphy and Beverley Ringland received flowers for their dedication and time in planning the weekend.

Jim Watson (Rector’s church warden), Richard Yarr (organist for 25 years), Barbara Watson (People’s Church Warden) and the Rev Paul Dundas (Rector).

The birthday cake was cut by Bishop Alan, Mrs Watson, and the rector, the Rev Paul Dundas. The evening finished with Anna Dundas singing ‘Jesus loves me’ and ‘In Christ alone.’

Sunday worship was enriched with encouraging talks from Jill Hamilton and the Very Rev Sam Wright, Dean of Connor.

Jill did a drama on the lost sheep and the sense of celebration when it was found. Sam spoke on the theme of ‘Cradle, Cross and Crown’ of God’s mission.

Thomas Coates, Emily Thompson, Beverley Ringland and Wesley Dickinson shared about their faith and being part of the church family.

The rector said: “To see so many people attending as well as former curates, parishioners and people from the community partnerships we have, local and global was such a blessing as well. There was so much mingling and sharing. A real sense of belonging and fellowship within our parish and community.”

There was a surprise visit from an ice cream van on the Sunday morning, as well as goodie bags for the children, pens, bookmarks and stickers to reflect the weekend of celebration. There was cake to help in celebrations at both Sunday services, with Mr Jim Anderson cutting the cake at the evening celebration.

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Tim Morrow, brought greetings on the Sunday night and spoke encouragingly about the role of churches in the community.

“It was special to have our parish’s children and youth organisations present at the morning service and to again acknowledge the role of these groups in the parish and community as well as those in leadership in our church, modelling faith in Jesus,” Paul said.

The exhibition in Memory Lane of the ministry of the parish through organisations and worship allowed people to reminisce, remember and get nostalgic, with many pictures and stories of faith and the church family. The rector expressed gratitude to Frank Higginson for taking so many photographs over the weekend.

He also thanked Richard Yarr and Julie Bell for their leadership and direction of the music groups and choirs, and everyone who worked so hard to prepare for the weekend.

“As we have been blessed over 175 years, thank you for the generosity to the Thank Offering over the weekend for Stepping Stones, Action MS and Parish Ministry Development,” Paul said.

The Memory Lane exhibition was captured by a drone camera – you can view the film HERE.

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