Lisburn Cathedral is building a 21st century community in a beautiful and historic building. We find out more about it’s energetic outreach
I grew up living above my dad’s shop in Bangor. He extended the business to become one of the first self service shops in the area (a radical departure in the 1960s).
It was open for business every day from early in the morning until late at night. Everyone was welcome, it was a place to buy your groceries, it was a place also where people shared their burdens while chatting with my mum and aunt, it was a place where the men gathered to chat about sport and the latest news with my dad.
Little did I think that almost 50 years later I would be opening up a historic building for people to come in to share their burdens, to chat to our staff each day and to hear the good news.
Our cathedral hall was packed with people vying for space throughout the week however the cathedral building itself was not used most days of the week.
After much consultation and prayer we made a decision to completely refurbish the cathedral so as to be more open both in a physical and a spiritual way to do God’s business.
Our vision was for more than a transformed building, our prayer was for lives to be transformed and for the transformation of the City of Lisburn.
Acts chapter 1, verse 8 says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We went on a journey where we discovered the power of the Holy Spirit in ways I had never imagined.
The initial costings for the work were far beyond anything we could afford. Through engaging the skills and abilities of our church members working on the lighting and audio visual aspects of the refurbishment we were able to achieve our aims at a fraction of the costs.
Others got to work on sourcing funders who would offer assistance for restoration of historic buildings.
Many other minds and hands were put to use to enable us to reopen the cathedral on December 2, 2012.
We are delighted with the beautiful building, with our new coffee room that provides a welcome in the cathedral for all who seek coffee and a treat or enjoy the ambience of the building as they have some lunch.
Our church is now much more a place that in every sense is at the heart of the City of Lisburn. It is a place that hosts both the Lisburn Adult and the Children’s Community Choirs, and a space where we were able to put on a
magnificent Christmas Tree Festival that drew many thousands of people.
We are glad we can now have various afternoon interest clubs, Victorian afternoon teas, school concerts, host musical societies and have events run by our City Council right here in Lisburn’s most historic building.
It is in fact a beautiful and amazing transformation from a building that just a few years ago stood mostly vacant for six days a week.
Our ongoing task, however is to continue to rise to the challenge of transforming lives and in doing so to truly transform our city.
The Holy Spirit was given in Acts 1 to enable people to reach people with the good news of Christ and that is still His purpose today.
God sends his Holy Spirit to enable those who trust in Him to witness to the grace and hope offered to all by the Risen Christ and in order that we might show his heart of love to the world – through reaching out to share
the good news of salvation through Christ; helping the spiritually blind see and demonstrating how the oppressed can be set free, and by prayerfully expecting the Holy Spirit to work in power as he brings new hope and peace to those who call on His name.
This has been our experience as we engage in events like the Big Church Serve where ordinary Christians practically demonstrate the love of God and tell the good news of Easter – that Christ is indeed risen and offers freedom and new life to all. Our experience in the days running up to Easter Day 2015 was of people out in the centre of Lisburn and Hillhall estate being open to the hope and new life that Christ offers. You can read some details below and see more at www.lisburncathedral.org.
We want every aspect of our church life to communicate the true good news of Christ. A scripture verse that has been our inspiration is Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 7; “seek the peace and prosperity of the city where I have sent you. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Just as the people in Jeremiah’s time were told to engage with the community where they were placed, we hear God’s call to put our whole hearts into the city where he has placed us. Just as the people were sent out in the early church in the power of the spirit to be Christ’s witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
We believe God calls us to witness and see lives transformed by the power of his Holy Spirit.
The opening up of Lisburn Cathedral every day for people to share their burdens, hear good news and enjoy good coffee is a blessing to those who belong and it’s a blessing we are keen to share with everyone. The doors
are open and we look forward to welcoming you.
Our hope and prayer is that everyone we serve will meet with the one who gave his life in the service of all mankind - Jesus is that man.
He gave his life that we might receive new life and He offers peace and hope to our city and to people everywhere.