On Sunday June 2 2024, the Cathedral Church of St Anne, Belfast, will mark the 120th anniversary of the consecration of the Nave of the Cathedral with a service of Celebration and Thanksgiving.
As part of the Belfast Cathedral 120 celebration, the Cathedral has launched an appeal to replace the existing wooden chairs of the Nave. These have been in continuous use for 120 years and they will be replaced with new chairs which will be more comfortable and more easily stacked and moved for the many different events which make up the life of a 21st century cathedral.
Belfast Cathedral is inviting parishioners, friends of the Cathedral, and parishes across the dioceses of Down, Dromore and Connor, to make this possible by purchasing one or more chairs with a donation of £100 for each chair.
The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde, said: “We believe that many people may wish to donate a chair in memory of someone whose death occurred during the Covid pandemic when it was so difficult hold the funerals we would all have wished, or as a memorial to someone special whose death was at another time.”
Every donation will be listed and acknowledged for the future. Details on how to donate will be posted on the Cathedral website and on the weekly service sheets. It is hoped that 500 new seats will be in place in the Cathedral Nave for the anniversary service on June 2.
On that date in 1904, the Rt Rev Dr Wellar, Bishop of Down, Dromore and Connor, led the great Service of Consecration for the Nave of St Anne’s Cathedral. The numbers in attendance were huge, as the offering of £3,000 (which the Dean said today equates to £406,000!) testifies.
The weekend of the anniversary will be celebrated not only by the special service, but there will be various other events, and later in the year, a Gala event.
And Belfast Cathedral 120 will extend beyond 2024. “At our 120th anniversary celebrations, we propose to launch an ambitious plan to raise new funding to secure the future viability of our Cathedral for the coming years,” Dean Forde explained. “Over a three-year period from 2024 to 2027, and in partnership with the Belfast company Callow Events Ltd, the Cathedral Board will seek to raise funding from across Northern Ireland, across these islands and internationally.
“By establishing a new Belfast Cathedral Foundation with the aim Preserving the Past, Building for the Future, the Cathedral plans to raise a significant sum of new money from individuals and charitable trusts to establish a funded foundation. The foundation will ensure that the future of this great Cathedral is secure for whatever challenges and celebrations the coming decades may present.”