THE PACIFIST PAPERBOY FROM WEST BELFAST’ – TONY MACAULEY BOOK READING
Tony Macaulay reads humorous and thought provoking excerpts from his bestselling memoir ‘Paperboy’ which tells his story of growing up in the 1970s and delivering the Belfast Telegraph on the Ballygomartin Road. The book was first published in Ireland in 2010 and has since gone on to international success, with the film rights being picked up by Titian Red Pictures. Tony has worked in youth work, community development and peacebuilding for the past 25 years. He was inspired by his parents who were volunteers in Ballygomartin Presbyterian Church Youth Club, keeping young people from the Shankill community off the streets and safe at the height of the Troubles.
THE HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF KELLS’ DR ANGELA GRIFFITH, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
Dr Angela Griffith from Trinity College Dublin will be taking a lecture on the history of the Book of Kells. We are excited to celebrate this national treasure as a symbol of Belfast’s shared heritage in both faith and creativity.
The Book of Kells is one of the greatest surviving treasures of the early Christian period in Ireland. It is a testament of the craftsmanship, the faith and the creative powers of those involved in its production. This lecture will examine its origins, the processes used in the manuscript’s production, its artistry and cultural contexts. The discussion will also include a summary of how the Book of Kells became an icon for ‘Celtic’ Revivalist designers and artists at the turn of the twentieth century.
CROSS COMMUNITY PRAYER BREAKFAST
Invited guests from across Belfast will converge on Clonard Monastery for the first “Four Corners Festival” Prayer Breakfast. It will provide opportunities for people across the city to meet. It has a number of purposes including encouraging people who are not familiar with the west of the city to come together in this part of the city in faith and in fellowship. It is hoped that those who take part will be encouraged to attend other events which will take place during the festival. There will be a voluntary donation to defray costs.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO… CHRISTY MOORE
The musicians at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church have been doing a series of Gospel According To… events for a few years. The idea for one on Christy Moore had its genesis when an American lecturer sang the Fields Of Athenry in Fitzroy. He had been using the song with his students to study Irish culture. As Steve Stockman, the minister of Fitzroy, was asking himself if thus was an appropriate song to be sung in Church he suddenly became aware that it and was a cry from an oppressed people seeking liberation. Was this not a Biblical theme? Stockman’s thoughts turned to the songs of Christy Moore and an evening of music came together. Some might see this as strange and a little controversial but art has never shirked from that. Moore has been very critical of the Church but there is some theology and issues in our own country and beyond that followers of Jesus should be engaging with – Bright Blue Rose is a powerful hymn, The Least We Can Do is a kind of prayer and North and South Of The River is a prophetic inspiration to reconciliation. For Presbyterians to be singing Irish Rebel songs in a Catholic Monastery will mess with our thinking, smash our stereotypes and will need to be seen and heard to perhaps be believed!
ARCHITECTURAL TOUR OF SKAINOS (EAST BELFAST) AND THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY (WEST BELFAST)
Throughout the history of the Church, architecture and the things we build, have played a role in the spiritual formation of worshippers. From ornate cathedrals to plain preaching halls the design of our worship spaces say a lot about what we believe and how we practice faith. Our buildings express in very clear terms what is unique about our respective traditions, but they also capture much that is common between us and which has been learned over centuries about sacred space.
Using two recently built church buildings we hope to explore the differences and the similarities in approaches and understandings of sacred space. We’ll also span the city from the West to the East.
In West Belfast we’ll tour the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass. The Church of the Nativity sits atop of a hill and is a beacon of hope and light in the Poleglass community. It very tastefully combines through its design aspects of traditional Catholic liturgical symbolism with a bright and simple modern look. The Church was formally opened in September 2004 and has a few distinctive qualities. Its vibrant and highly coloured stained glass window portrays the story of Belle Steel and how she, as a Presbyterian, assisted Catholic in difficult times. The Baptism pool, highly uncommon in the Catholic tradition in Ireland, allows for total immersion. As a worship space it highlights the dignity of Catholic Liturgy in a way which is inviting, uplifting and beautiful. The building itself is a sign and symbol of what the Church (the People of God) should aspire to be.
Then in East Belfast we’ll visit the worship space in Skainos which is home to the congregation of the East Belfast Mission, part of the Methodist Church in Ireland. The worship space was formally dedicated in November 2012 and seeks to incorporate elements of the industrial history of the East in a contemporary setting. The architecture seeks to incorporate a range of stories which the congregation can own and tell as part of the work of spiritual formation, whilst also allowing the space to be used for non-religious activity. The Skainos architect will be on hand to explain some of the process of design
SEMINAR ON THE AGREED STATEMENT ON JUSTIFICATION
On Reformation Day, 31 October 1999, an agreed statement on the doctrine of Justification was signed in Augsburg by the World Federation of Lutheran Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. A few years later the statement was endorsed by the Worldwide Methodist Church. Justification (how we are put in a right relationship with God) was the central point of dispute at the time of the Reformation, yet few Christians, Catholic or Protestant, are aware of this historic step of agreement. The speakers will address the subject from the perspective of their church background. The twenty minute talks will be followed by a time of Questions and Answers. The aim of the seminar is to foster mutual understanding and mutual respect.
- Mrs Gillian Kingston (Methodist)
- Rev Tony Davidson (Presbyterian)
- Sister Geraldine Smyth OP (Roman Catholic)
- Very Reverend John Mann, Dean of St Anne’s Cathedral
4 CORNERS PRAYER AND WORSHIP – FESTIVAL CLOSING EVENT
This event will take the form of four prayer and worship events in each of the four corners of Belfast – North, South, East and West.
North – Fortwilliam and Macrory Presbyterian Church, Antrim Road (Map) East – St Dorothea’s Church of Ireland, Gilnahirk (Map) West – St Oliver Plunket Roman Catholic, Lenadoon (Map) South – Belfast South Methodist Church, Lisburn Road (Map)
Each minister in each area organises the worship/prayer event for their Church, drawing in as many Churches from that section of the city as are interested in participating. The worship should start at 11.30am, lasting within an hour. People should then make their way to “The Dock” Church and Cafe in the Titanic Quarter, where a light lunch will be served and the Ministers and people of “The Dock” Church will then organise a larger worship event uniting all four corners of Belfast and all the Christian community of Belfast.
First we surround and embrace the city in prayer in each of the four corners, and then we travel to the heart of the city to put prayer at the heart. The Titanic Quarter was chosen for two reasons:
Firstly, this area was once an industrial heartland of Belfast, where shipbuilding, aircraft making and other heavy industry provided employment for thousands and provided top quality goods for the world market. The Titanic is the most famous example of such industry, and it is in its dry dock that the worship will be held.
Secondly, this area is now being redeveloped and the new focus is on building community and education. “The Dock” Church is embarking on a new and exciting vision of mission and evangelism, where the Churches are working together to build a Church in the midst of this community and the emphasis is more on people than Church buildings. In recognition of our new and shared future, it is appropriate that we experience this new vision of mission and outreach in this part of the city which was once the industrial heartland.
This event will act as the closing of what we hope is something that will draw in Christians from all over our city to unite and celebrate our common purpose in Christ our Lord.