Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Festival of Flowers at the Church of the Ascension, Annahilt.

The Church of the Ascension, Annahilt was opened and consecrated in 1856. One of the major events being held to celebrate the 150 years of continuous worship in the Church is a Festival of Flowers from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 May 2006.

Following the overall theme ‘Glory to God’ the various floral arrangements will represent the various scenes in the Church’s Millennium Window, which was dedicated in 2001. The central theme of the Window is the Nativity, showing Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus in a stable scene, which is linked by the flow of the composition to bring out a sense of family. To the left hand side of the Window are scenes from the local history of the Church. On the right hand side of the Window are landmarks of the past, which along with the symbol of world peace (the planet earth and the dove) remind us of the various achievements over the past 150 years both locally and on a world scale.

Artistic Director, Mrs Fiona Harvey and her Associates have skilfully and thoughtfully interpreted the various themes of the Window in nine imaginative arrangements. A competition was held in the Parish Sunday School to design the cover of the Programme for those who will view the Floral Arrangements. The two winning drawings feature on the front and back covers. A similar competition was held five years ago to bring on board the design of the window some ideas of children in the Parish. In connection with the Flower Festival, the Sunday School have also been preparing for the event by creating their own display of Pressed Flowers. Such direct input by the children has advanced the aim of the Sunday School of bringing children to a lively faith in God through Jesus Christ.

The proceeds of the Festival are being divided equally between Annahilt Parish Development Fund and Action Cancer.

A Preview of the Festival takes place on Thursday 18th May 2006 at 7.30pm followed by a Fork Supper. Admission to this event is by ticket only. Tickets are £10.

The Official Opening of the Festival takes place on Friday 19th May 2006 at 2.00pm by Lady Sylvia Hermon, MP. The Parish feels very fortunate that such a distinguished Guest of Honour has agreed to come and perform this task. The Choir of Anahilt Primary School will also be taking part. It is hoped that many in the City and local community will join us on the occasion of the Opening.

Viewing Times over the weekend are as follows:

  • Friday 19th May 3.00pm to 9.00pm
  • Saturday 20th May 10.00am to 9.00pm
  • Sunday 21st May 2.00pm to 5.00pm

The Bishop of Down & Dromore, the Rt. Revd Harold Miller will make an official visitation to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Church over the Flower Festival weekend on Sunday 21 May when he will preside and preach at the 10.00am Parish Communion Service. The Closing Service will be at 7.00pm when the Preacher will be Mr Patrick Harris, a Diocesan Reader whose late father, the Revd Canon W E Harris was Rector of Annahilt from 1959 to 1964.

Members of the Mothers’ Union Branch and other parishioners are providing Morning Coffee, Light Lunches, Afternoon Tea and also High Tea (By arrangement) in the Parochial Hall throughout the weekend. Enquiries about catering, including tickets for the Preview may be made to Mrs Ruth Carlisle (Tel 028-9263 8374) or Mrs Beth Harrison (Tel 028-9267 8057).

The Rector, Canon Robert Howard says: ‘We are looking forward tremendously to our Flower festival week-end, as we look back to our early Christian roots in the Glebe townland where a church has stood on the site of the present building since the time of Saint Moliba in the eighth century. We extend a cordial invitation to everyone to join us in this important event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the present Church building as we look forward in hope to what the Church of the Ascension will stand for in the 21st century and 3rd Christian millennium. A warm welcome awaits you.’