Parish celebrates 175 years of worship and witness

Rev John Pickering, Rev Julie Bell, Rev Paul Dundas, rector, and the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, launching Christ Church Parishs 175th anniversary book.
Rev John Pickering, Rev Julie Bell, Rev Paul Dundas, rector, and the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, launching Christ Church Parishs 175th anniversary book.

Christ Church Parish, Lisburn celebrated its 175th anniversary with a parish dinner, a historical exhibition and special anniversary services.

On Friday, November 17 people gathered in the hall for a celebration meal, enjoying the music provided by the Howe family, and the opportunity to view the ‘Memory Lane’ exhibition.

The anniversary cake is cut by Bishop Alan Abernethy, Mrs Barbara Watson (people's church warden) and the rector, Rev Paul Dundas.

The anniversary cake is cut by Bishop Alan Abernethy, Mrs Barbara Watson (people's church warden) and the rector, Rev Paul Dundas.

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

Bishop Alan launched a book recounting the life and witness of the parish. There were prayers for the 175th celebrations as well as the parish mission statement, which continues to shape witness in Christ Church.

The evening provided the opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Richard Yarr as parish organist, choir master and director of music. Mrs Barbara Watson, People’s Churchwarden, 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 all their dedication and time in planning the weekend.

Jim Watson (rectors church warden), Richard Yarr (organist for 25 years), Barbara Watson (peoples church warden) and Rev Paul Dundas (rector).

Jim Watson (rectors church warden), Richard Yarr (organist for 25 years), Barbara Watson (peoples church warden) and Rev Paul Dundas (rector).

The birthday cake was cut by Bishop Alan, Mrs Watson, and the rector, 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. There was cake to help the 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,” Rev Dundas continued.

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.

Rev Dundas 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,” Rev Dundas added.