Belvoir Parish celebrates its 50th AnniversarySunday 14 October 2012
Invited guests joined regular worshippers at Belvoir Parish last week to celebrate the church’s fiftieth anniversary. Preaching at the service, Bishop Harold Miller drew on aspects of the early church’s life as depicted in the Acts of the Apostles to call the congregation to a future centred on shared discipleship and outreach, care for the community and a commitment to the young.
The Bishop also paid tribute to previous rectors, two of whom, Canon Brian Mayne and Reverend Desmond Hanna, were able to be present, and to the work of the parish’s longest–serving incumbent Canon Tom Keightley who has ministered in Belvoir for almost thirty years.
Belvoir Parish was formed on the first of September 1962 under the leadership of the late Bishop James Moore. Founding members swiftly set down roots with the opening of a temporary Church Hall in December of that year. In a little over two years later a church had been built and consecrated but this is not wholly the one that stands visible on the Outer Ring today. On the twenty third of September 1992 an IRA bomb detonated just across the carriageway, causing extensive damage to the building and to homes across the parish.
Despite such adverse circumstances the church flourished as she moved, temporarily, to the local community centre. As homes affected by the blast were repaired and refurbished, a new church opened again for business on its original site, its frosted windows replaced with clear glass, allowing light to flood the whole interior and giving the world outside a window on the worshipping community.
As the church’s fiftieth anniversary approached it was decided that this Year of Jubilee should be marked by a “giving back” to God. The Jubilee India project was born and in the three years leading up to its fiftieth birthday, the church raised £100,000 towards the building of a hospital at The Promised Land orphanage in South India. Other projects closer to home have since sprung up that seek to build community, reach out to the elderly, and assist those in adverse circumstances.
Church, community, children: these were the themes of the Bishop’s sermon. In its first fifty years Belvoir has made a beginning. As the Bishop also said, “The ending remains to be written.”
Pictured left to right: Revd Jacqueline Mould (Curate) Revd Desmond Hanna (former rector) Revd Jeremy Mould (curate) Mr Chris Scott (Parish Treasurer) Bishop Harold Miller, Mrs Meta Keightley, Ms Wendy Lewis (Rector’s Churchwarden) Canon Tom Keightley, Mr Peter Larmour (who read at the service) Archdeacon Philip Patterson, Revd Paul Hooper (former Layreader in Belvoir) Dr Gordon Gray (first minister of Belvoir Presbyterian church) Mrs Margaret Gray.