An uplifting evening of celebration marked the opening of the new Inver Hall adjacent to St Cedma’s Church in Larne on Thursday.
A site of Christian worship for well over a thousand years, the new hall represents the current congregation’s “belief and trust in the future of God in this place”.
Parishioners, friends, professionals involved in the build and the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Maureen Morrow, were welcomed to St Cedma’s Church by the Rector, Rev David Lockhart, for a service of thanksgiving and dedication.
Past Rector, Dean Stephen Forde, congratulated the parish on their achievement in building the hall and their commitment to the future likening their faith to that of Noah who built the ark in the face of ridicule because of his trust in God.
The Venerable George Davison, archdeacon of Belfast, dedicated the hall and following this the Dean spoke on the processes the parish had gone through over the last fifteen years to make this hall a reality.
Ronnie Lee, who had managed the project on behalf of the parish, expressed his thanks to the architect, Ryan Kennedy of R E Quinn Architects and the builders Martin & Hamilton who had both carried out their roles to a very high standard and had been a pleasure to work with.
Anne Marcus, Honorary Secretary, expressed the appreciation of the Select Vestry and parishioners in the “finished product” and noted the many years of planning and fundraising which had taken place.
She thanked everyone who had worked so hard creating imaginative and fun events to raise the funds required for such a build and noted the generous bequest of the Higginson Family of Inver whose gift in 2005 had given the parish the opportunity to “dare to dream” of a new hall.
She finished by expressing her hope that the “feel good” factor of completing the hall would continue and the hall would become the centre of rejuvenated parish life.
Mr Lee was then presented with a gift from the parish in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the smooth running of the build.
A celebratory cake bearing an image of the new hall was cut and an excellent supper was enjoyed by everyone.
Acknowledging with gratitude the many generous gifts from parishioners, friends, the Church of Ireland Priorities Fund and the All Churches Trust, which made the project possible, the Rector and Select Vestry added: “We are also grateful for the financial assistance offered by the Ulster Communities Investment Trust Ltd.”