The minister who will lead hundreds in paying their respects to the Shankill bomb victims has spoken ahead of the event on Wednesday.
David Clawson, minister at West Kirk Presbyterian church, said he expects the church’s 400-plus capacity to be filled.
The atrocity was a defining moment for the Shankill and, 20 years on, he said the shadow of the bombing still “looms large” over the community.
The Rev Clawson, originally from east Belfast, said: “As a minister of the Gospel, I’m convinced the best thing we can do is gather as a community in the Shankill and gather in the presence of God.
“I’m convinced that’s the most helpful thing we can do on the day.
“The 23rd of October – the families have known that date is coming, and the community knows that date is coming. We can’t avoid it, so I think the best thing to do on that date is to gather in community.
“What we want to say on the day is: the Shankill is still here.”
Some of those who will be in attendance will be ministers from the local Methodist and Anglican churches, as well as West Kirk’s own former minister, who were all in post in 1993.
It is bound to bring back strong memories for many; for example, Rev Clawson said one of West Kirk’s own elders was blasted in the face with shrapnel in the explosion.
The service is open to all to attend, and will also be relayed with speakers outside to those who cannot make it in.
There will be hymns sung by the area’s schoolchildren, including a rendition of Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd.
At 1.06pm, which he said is the time the bomb detonated 20 years earlier, flowers will be laid at the Shankill Memorial Garden by the church.
A similar tribute is expected to be left at the bomb site itself.
From roughly 12.30pm to 1.30pm it is anticipated that the road will be closed to traffic.
In the two years he has ministered there, Rev Clawson said issue of that horrific day has come up time and again.
“You know, there are events that mark out the history of a community,” he said.
“When I’m visiting folks and talking to folks, this is an event that looms large...
“It was an event that affected hundreds and hundreds of people in the community.”
The service, he added, is expected to be the biggest he has run since taking up the post.
He was unwilling to say anything on the subject of the proposed commemoration tomorrow to Thomas Begley, one of those behind the atrocity.
The botched IRA attack on Frizzell’s fish shop killed Begley himself and nine others – an act which a judge later branded as “wanton slaughter”.