Special Titanic Centenary Service held at at St Anne’sSunday 15 April 2012
A special service in St Anne’s Cathedral on 15 April held in tension, commemoration and celebration, remembrance and thanksgiving on the centenary of the sinking of the Belfast–built Titanic.
Deputy Lord Mayor, Alderman Ruth Patterson, Vice Lord–Lieutentant of Belfast, Sir Nigel Hamilton, Titanic Belfast Chief Executive, Tim Husbands and Junior Minister, Jonathan Bell (OFMDFM) were among the special guests who gathered for the service, led by Dean Mann.
The Dean was assisted with the prayers and readings by the Titanic Quarter Chaplains and Directors of The Dock Church from both traditions.
In his address, The Dean of Belfast, the Very Revd John Mann, acknowledged the huge fascination with the tragedy saying:
“The tales of heroism and self–sacrifice of self–preservation and social advantage have been frequently rehearsed in these recent weeks, but for us today it is in the separation of fact from fiction, from movie to reality is what is required if we are to remember in sincerity and commemorate in the true spirit of acknowledgement of both the nobility of humanity and its inner frailties.”
Turning to the present, the Dean highlighted the great energy for development in the Titanic Quarter and the work of the Church to, “bring a sense of Christian witness that is not bound by the creased and worn divides of our history.”
Dean Mann concluded by urging the people of Belfast not to rest on past laurels, and to, “continue to build a society that honours its past sacrifices, recognises its failures, celebrates its successes and works towards producing a healed and renewed people whose experience of difficult times will stand it in good stead in meeting very different challenges which, nonetheless ask the best of us all.”
The service included elements of the original memorial service held in the Cathedral in 1912, the Sunday after the liner was sunk. The “Titanic Funeral Pall” was also dedicated.
It was a sunny afternoon and special guests and some of the congregation joined a pilgrimage from the cathedral to the Titanic Quarter. Led by Titanic Chaplain, Revd Chris Bennett, they stopped for reflections along the way and finished with a brief service at the Drawing Office.