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Prayers for the Assembly as beacon lit at Parliament Buildings

Dana performs ‘Light the Fire’ with Kergyma Choir.
Dana performs ‘Light the Fire’ with Kergyma Choir.

The Great Hall at Parliament Buildings was the venue for a very special cross–community Easter Concert on Wednesday 27 March. The Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Revd David McClay, hosted the event which included bible readings and prayers for the Assembly. 

Major church leaders also took part: the Rt Revd Dr Sam Mawhinney, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Revd David Turtle, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Most Revd Alan McGuckian, Bishop of Down and Connor, and Mr Paul Reid, Pastor Emeritus, Christian Fellowship Church, who represented non–denominational churches.

Other church, para–church and civic leaders were also present including several MLAs and the Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP.

Kergyma cross–community choir and special guest Dana, performed songs of reconciliation and blessing including a powerful rendition of the new song ‘Light the Fire’, written to mark the Paschal (Easter) fire lit by Saint Patrick on the hill of Slane in 433AD.

It was this fire, lit in defiance of the pagan king and a herald of the power of the Christian message, that inspired the event and in particular the lighting of a Paschal fire below the steps of Parliament.

In his opening remarks, Bishop David said: “Religion can be unhelpful, even destructive, but the gospel that Patrick brought – the message of the cross and the empty tomb – gives life, gives healing, gives blessing. It tears down dividing walls and unites men and women in the cause of ushering in a new heaven and a new earth where peace, grace, truth, and mercy reign.

“At the end of this concert, my fellow church leaders and I will light a beacon and pray for the fire of the gospel to spread again. We will pray for all who meet and work and make decisions on behalf of all of us in this place, and ask that from it grace, truth, mercy, healing, and blessing would flow.”

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