On Sunday morning 6 June, St. Columba’s, Knock, was filled to capacity with some 90 parishioners (the maximum permitted under Covid guidelines) gathering to celebrate the life and ministry of our patron, St Columba.
The special guest and preacher at the service of Holy Communion was the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd the John McDowell. Archbishop John is a longstanding friend of the parish and known personally to many of those present.
The congregation was treated to a stunning choral programme and, for the first time since the pandemic began, the delightful singing of our four cantors – Ruth McCartney, Lynn Ryan, Christine McKee and Lynda Barrett. They were expertly directed by our Organist and Choirmaster, Dr Joe McKee. The beautiful music filled the church to the very rafters, or roof slates, many of which are now missing thanks to the major restorative work recently begun.
The Archbishop’s sermon focused on the life and achievements of Columba alongside the challenges and difficulties of life today under the pandemic. We were reminded of the importance of never giving up hope no matter the scale of the adversity.
Following Holy Communion, the congregation left church to be greeted by the most magnificent exhibition of some 35 paintings by the Art Club on the theme and life of Columba, set up in the grounds outside the west end entrance. It was a pleasure to be able to wander around the paintings and admire them in the sunshine at leisure, with the opportunity also for parishioners to chat with the Archbishop.
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to the organiser, Roy Williamson, and his fellow Art Club members for providing an exceptionally talented artistic tribute to our Patron Saint. Thanks are also due to the Rector, Canon John Auchmuty and Dr Joe McKee for organising such an uplifting service despite the restrictions of Covid which we hope may gradually relax in the near future.
Mark Laverty, our Crucifer, was clearly delighted to be resuming his role once again and our Church Wardens, expertly wielding their wands of office for the first time whilst processing up the aisle, must surely bode well for the future!
With thanks to Knock Parishioner, Ian Noad