Cross-community congregation celebrates reopening of Church

April 24, 2012

Following months of extensive restoration work, Creggan Church of Ireland welcomed the return of its’ congregation on Sunday to a special Service of Re-dedication.

Dozens of parishioners joined worshippers from further afield and members of the local community in a special weekend of praise and thanksgiving as the historic Church re-opened its doors to showcase the completion of thousands of pounds worth of restoration work.

Sunday’s service, at which the Archdeacon of Armagh Raymond Hoey delivered a special address, was the culmination of years of planning and fundraising by the Church committee and parishioners to carry out necessary repair and restoration work on the building, which is almost 400 years old.

The focus was on cross-community relations throughout the weekend and on Saturday a day of Music and Song was held in aid of the Missions.  Members of the local community were joined by women from Drumcree Parish W.I. and enjoyed the very best of entertainment at this fundraising event.  Those in attendance were also given the opportunity to view the completed works within the Church.

The entire project cost in the region of £90,000 and included structural repairs, the replacement of floor sections within the Church Tower, repair of the Church Organ, work to the Lightning conductor and aesthetic work inside the Church.

More than £50,000 of the overall cost has been secured through grant sources, however the Vestry of the Church is tasked with raising the remainder of almost £40,000, the Secretary of Creggan C.O.I Parish Vestry, Kenny Donaldson, revealed.

Mr Donaldson outlined the grant sources – The Pilgrim Trust (£10,000), Garfield Weston Foundation (£8,000), Marshal Beresford’s Fund/Church Fabric Fund (5,500) Kathleen Day Fund (£4,000,) All Churches Trust Limited (£1,250), N.I.E.A’s Historic Buildings Unit (c.£15,000), Esme Mitchell Trust (£4,000), The Wolfson Foundation (£5,000) – adding that it was hoped that some finance might yet be returned via The Listed Places of Worship Scheme.

Reflecting on the entire project, Mr Donaldson said: “The congregation of Creggan Church of Ireland Parish are indebted to Ian Irwin Contracts and Wells Kennedy Partnership for the professional job that has been done at the Church.

The Church has never looked as good.

“We also want to thank all those funders who have invested in our Project and who have ensured that a building steeped in heritage and which is the gathering place for a proud Church of Ireland community, and indeed the broader community of South Armagh, is preserved for the future.

“We would also wish to thank those within the local community who have donated to the Restoration Fund or who have sent well wishes. We are also indebted to all those who came along to our Service on Sunday, your presence as neighbours and fellow believers was very much valued.

“Finally we want to express our thanks to this Publication for its support over the years and for covering last weekend’s important events. We look forward to a continued positive relationship in the times that lie ahead.”