Celebrations marking the 150th year of St Matthew’s Parish Church, Shankill, continue this Sunday March 6 with an anniversary service attended by special guests, the Archbishop of Armagh; the Most Rev John McDowell, the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison; and Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor.
A number of events, including an exhibition and concert, will be held in the week following the service.
Earlier this year, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, and his chaplain, the Rev Tosin Oladipo, helped the Rev Tracey McRoberts and parishioners of St Matthew’s to mark this 150-year milestone by joining them for worship on February 6.
The Archbishop and his chaplain were in Belfast for the annual 4Corners Festival, and were invited to St Matthew’s by Rev Tracey. Since rioting in nearby Lanark Way last April, she and Fr Martin Magill from St John’s (Upper Falls), one of the organisers of the 4Corners Festival, have been working together on a weekly basis and have had held more than 60 meetings with a range of people to discuss issues in the Falls and Shankill.
Fr Magill encouraged Rev Tracey to write and invite the Archbishop to speak to the people in St Matthew’s during this, their 150th year of mission and ministry in Shankill Parish. Conor Burns, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, also attended, and Archbishop Welby gave the address.
This Sunday’s service takes place at 3.30pm.
Next Tuesday, March 8, St Matthew’s is hosting a history exhibition in partnership with Queen’s University. Among the artefacts on display will be a 9th Century Bishop’s Crozier originally found in Shankill graveyard, on loan from the National Museum Dublin for one day only.
All are welcome and the exhibition will be open from 1.30pm-4pm.
On Friday March 11 at 7pm there will be a concert by a Brass Ensemble from the Ulster Orchestra and on Tuesday March 8 and Saturday March 12, there will be an opportunity for members of the community to come along and share stories, memories, photos and artefacts with Queen’s University researchers who are compiling a history of the Shankill.
For further detail and exact times, please check the St Matthew’s Facebook page.