A new era beckoned for one of Coleraine’s oldest churches at the weekend with the rededication of a fantastic new state-of-the-art hall.
A six-year project came to fruition with the major refurbuishment at New Row Presbyterian Church.
“The church halls were first built in 1964 and over the years they became unfit for purpose in terms of their practicality and health and safety,” explained the minister, Rev Robert McMullan.
“Consequently we decided that they required a major overhaul and I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome. The halls look wonderful and I’m delighted. This has been a real journey of faith for all of us.”
“Only part of the journey is complete,” Rev McMullan reminded the congregation at the opening service. “The hall has been built, now it needs to be paid for, but from day one of this project I have seen more than once the generosity of God in and through you and I publicly want to record my heartfelt thanks.”
The church appointed Andrew Tweedie, an architect from Holywood, for the redesign and the works contract, which began on-site in September last year, was awarded to Martin Hamilton Builders from Ballymena. Work commenced in September 2013.
The programme of works has resulted in a new two-storey entrance foyer at the left-hand side of the church, a complete redesign of the interior of the building with two new accesses into the church.
“We also decided to paint the interior of the church and redesign the forecourt area. This has been a great source of interest to the many passers by on New Row”, said Rev McMullan, “with some very favourable comments to the new colour scheme!
“There is a very easy feel to the new development and of course it is very high-spec as a modern building with disability access and a lift.”
“It is our hope that not only will the church family enjoy the new premises but also that the community will benefit from it as well.”
New Row commissioned the services of prestigious local artist, Ross Wilson, who produced a stunning white cross, enscripted with the words from the 23rd Psalm, which is situated in the foyer of the new hall. The artist also worked with a company in Belfast to provide striking new signage around the building.
The rededication of the church hall was held over Harvest Weekend on Saturday afternoon.
During the service Mr Sammy Moore, senior elder of the church, opened the building and the dedication was by the Rev Dr Michael Barry, Moderator of the General Assembly.
The guest speaker was Rev Tim Hanson, who is the vicar at Christ Church in Wharton, Cheshire.
“There is still some work to be done to finishing off the hall but that will be completed before our Christmas Tree festival which is being held from December 3-7 when the public will get a good look at this beautiful new facility,” Rev McMullan concluded.