It is a day that will live on in the memory of the Ballinalee community for a long time. On Sunday July 22 last St. John’s Church of Ireland, Ballinalee, reopened its doors to welcome its congregation and supporters to a warm rededication ceremony.
Some 270 people gathered in the intimate and newly redecorated 1825 building, which had been closed for approximately seven years.
“It was a warm but overcast day and our reception afterwards in the Currycahill school hall was also very well attended,” said Ken Percival, treasurer at St. John’s Church of Ireland, Ballinalee.
Among the gifts that were offered on this special occasion were a communion chalice and bread patten made of Bishop William Beddell sycamore.
There was also the gift of a Holy Bible from local Parish Priest, Fr. Brian Brennan, and his parish council for the Holy Trinity Church, Ballinalee and Old Clonbroney. This was seen as a Christian symbol.
“This (the bible) will be suitably inscribed to show its provenance and will accompany our lectern Bible, which remains an important historical artifact of the church but is no longer used in services,” said Mr Percival.
Other members of the local Church of Ireland community involved in the service, which was conducted by Reverend Jane Catterrall, were: Fiona McVitty (reader), Isla Duffy (reader), Tommy Forster (Parish Churchwarden), William McVitty (Parish Churchwarden), Mandy Moorhead (prayer), Wendy Hudson (prayer) and Francis Forster (prayer).
Members of the wider community who assisted were Colm Nugent (sound system), and Peter O’Reilly (photography and video).
Bishop Ken Clarke delivered a sermon which, while celebrating the restoration of the Church, reminded the congregation of the true purpose and doctrine of the Christian Faith. The congregation were generous in their donations on the day.
Fr. Brennan has instituted a yearly ecumenical service in Ballinalee and it is the hope of the local community that the next service (2013) will be held in St. John’s Church of Ireland, Ballinalee.