IN 1859 the citizens of Coleraine were looking forward to the official opening of their impressive new town hall.
Various social functions had been organised, but plans had to be hastily rearranged because the spiritual awakening that had begun at Kells, near Ballymena, had spread north, and many in Coleraine were struck with deep religious conviction. The new town hall became the place many sought Christian counsel, and found assurance of salvation.
A hundred and fifty years later, the Town Hall was officially opened, and at the same time the members of the Coleraine Ministers’ Council, which arose out of the co-operation of the churches in 1859, were forming plans to ensure that the events of that ‘ year of grace’ were appropriately remembered.
Last Friday, the Mayor, alderman Maurice Bradley, unveiled a plaque recalling the 1859 Revival, and the significance of the town hall in all the remarkable occurrences of that time.
Located on the exterior of the Town Hall and to the right of the main doors, the plaque was designed by the distinguished artist, Ross Wilson, who has complemented the wording on the plaque with the figure of a dove, representing the Holy Spirit and a compass, which indicates the worldwide mission of the church.
Many people visit Northern Ireland each year, keen to learn more about the places associated with the 1859 Revival.
This splendid new plaque, financed by the churches represented on the Ministers’ Council, will be of interest to all who cherish this aspect of Christian history.