Added on 04/02/2013
|The rebuilt hall at Saul|
The Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Revd Harold Miller, officially opened a brand new hall at Saul Church on Saturday 2 February. The Bishop joined the Dean of Down, the Very Revd Henry Hull, local clergy, dignitaries and parishioners to lead prayers of dedication and blessing at the new facility.
The hall was constructed with funding from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Down District Council and very much compliments Saul Church, a site of historical and ecclesiastical significance.
Dean Hull, who is delighted with the project said, “Saul as you know is a very special place for those of us who worship here in the parish, but it’s also a place where we welcome visitors and pilgrims and rebuilding the hall is a way of opening up Saul to be used by others.”
|The Very Revd Henry Hull thanks all involved|
Dean Hull warmly thanked the funders for their support, in particular the Chair of Down District Council, Mr Michael Coogan and Councillor Terry Andrews both of whom were in attendance.
“I think that the hall here is fantastic,” said Councillor Michael Coogan. “It’s a credit to the local parish and I’d like to congratulate everybody involved for the wonderful work they’ve done here.”
The Dean also paid tribute to former MP, Eddie McGrady who was instrumental in helping the project get off the ground and to Ethel Turley, Treasurer to the Select Vestry. (The local MP, Margaret Ritchie, sent apologies as she had to attend a family funeral).
The new hall has been built on the footprint of the old building and retains some of the charm of the original. It has a wood burning stove and fireplace at one end, above which are written the words of Matthew 18: 20, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name I am there in their midst.’
“That really captures what we are about here, explained Dean Hull. “It’s about gathering. Saul is a place of prayer and we’re committed here to gathering to pray and to welcoming visitors.”
Designed by architect, Eddie Quinn, and built by contractor Leo Matheson, the hall is bright and airy with a lot of light coming through the large windows. There are excellent kitchen and toilet facilities and panels with information about the area for visitors. It will be used for parish events, a regular prayer meeting and as a place of retreat for Quiet Days.
Saul’s parishioners were there in force and are equally thrilled with the results. “It’s a great resource to have and we’re very grateful to the Council and the Tourist Board for their funding,” said Edwin Bleakley.” It’s going to be a great asset, not only to the parish church but also to the tourists as they visit the site and we hope they they’ll enjoy the facility and be blessed by what we have here.”
The rebuilding comes at a significant anniversary as in October it will be 80 years since the completion of the church which presently stands on the historic site.
Bishop Harold, however, looked to the future with his remarks saying;
“A hall on this unique site has got so much potential for welcoming the whole community. It has so much potential for quiet days, retreats and for building up people in faith and for passing faith on to a new generation. It’s such a great blessing to see it as it is today and I want to say congratulations to everybody who has enabled this to happen and I look forward to seeing everything that happens from it in the years to come.”
For further information, please contact
Down & Dromore Diocesan Communications Officer
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
Tel: (028) 9032 2268
Fax:(028) 9023 1902
Mob: 07595 231958