Historic Larne church to open long-awaited hall

The new church hall.
The new church hall.

St Cedma’s, Parish of Larne and Inver will officially unveil its new hall this evening (Thursday).

The opening of Inver Hall marks the conclusion of 15 years of planning, negotiations, buying and selling of property and concerted fundraising.

St Cedma's Church. Google

St Cedma's Church. Google

Anne Marcus, Hon Sec of St Cedma’s, said: “Fifteen years ago it became clear that the existing parochial hall on the Curran Road was quite literally being to show cracks and this co-incided with the generous bequest from the Higginson family of Inver of their home property to the parish.

“This allowed us the luxury to take an overview of all our building stock and make plans for the future. Under the leadership of the Rector, the Rev Stephen Forde (now Dean of St Anne’s cathedral) the vestry embarked on the process of deciding whether to refurbish the existing hall, to build a new hall on this site, which unfortunately was at some distance from the church or to dare to dream to build a new hall adjacent to the church.”

Decision made, Anne added, it then took nearly 10 years to acquire the land but this was finally achieved.

“Alongside this the very necessary job of fundraising had commenced, plans had been drawn up by Mr Ryan Kennedy of RE Quinn Architects and once the land was in place we were ready to get moving.”

With planning approval in place, the majority of the funds secured and a contractor, Martin & Hamilton Ltd, appointed, building commenced in July 2018.

Anne continued: “Throughout this period we have been indebted to Mr R Lee a parishioner who volunteered to project manage from the church’s side and liaise with the builder and architect – how smooth this made the build for us all.

“St Cedma’s stands on an ancient site where worship has been ongoing for over a thousand years. The parishioners are very aware of this legacy and have thought long and worked very hard to do justice to it for the future.”