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All welcome! St Matthew’s renovations see front doors reopen after 50 years

Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Revd John Marchant outside the newly reopened doors of St Matthew’s Church, Irishtown.
Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Revd John Marchant outside the newly reopened doors of St Matthew’s Church, Irishtown.

St Matthew’s Church in Irishtown has thrown open its front doors for the first time in over 50 years. The church has been undergoing renovations and a major part of the labours has been to reopen the front doors to improve their welcome to the community of Irishtown, Ringsend and Sandymount.

For over half a century worshippers entered the church through a side door. Now the original Georgian front doors have been refurbished. Two new internal glass doors have been fitted allowing much needed light into the church and a view right up to the stained glass windows in the sanctuary. A second general purpose room has also been added in the south transept. Further works will follow.

St Matthew’s was rededicated on Sunday afternoon (October 28) by Archbishop Michael Jackson in the presence of parishioners who were joined by a broad cross–section of the community, which included public representatives and clergy from nearby parishes as well as many well wishers and children and parents of the nearby St Matthew’s School. The school choir sang during the service.

The congregation was welcomed by the Revd John Marchant who spoke of the journey of hope which the parish had undertaken and thanked all who had helped to plan the work on the church and bring it to fruition.

In his sermon, Archbishop Michael Jackson spoke of the significance of reopening the front doors which he said signaled inclusivity and welcome. He thanked the Rector, church wardens, members of the select vestry and the whole community who had made the open church a possibility.

He said the openness and versatility of the church was admirable. “While we all find God and worship God in different ways, this openness is relevant to the way in which church is done today. Our understanding of church is from the Scriptures and the Scriptures we have heard today speak to that. Ephesians [2: 19–22] speaks of breaking down walls and Matthew [9: 9–13] talks of the call to be followers of Jesus… Hospitality, welcome and starting again – all of this is entirely natural,” he said.

The Archbishop paid tribute to John Marchant for holding the project together in both practical and spiritual ways and for enabling everyone to gather in a full church to celebration and to give thanks to God and to form a new community.