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Mrs Alexander remembered

The life of one of the most iconic hymnwriters in Ireland will be celebrated next weekend with a special exhibition and praise evening in Clogher Diocese on Saturday and Sunday, 9 and 10 March, marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander.

The exhibition in St. Macartin’s cathedral, Enniskillen, will run throughout Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 2pm to 7pm. It will be brought from St. Columb’s cathedral, Derry, by Ian Bartlett and there will also be some artefacts on loan from the parish of Termonamongan, Killeter, where Mrs Alexander and her husband, the Revd William Alexander began their married life. The weekend will conclude with an evening praise service at 7pm at which some of Mrs Alexander’s famous hymns will be sung interspersed with stories of her life narrated by Eva Baxter. During the service, the Cathedral Choir and a choir from the Girls’ Friendly Society in Clogher Diocese, will sing.

Mrs Alexander began to write from an early age and her Hymns for Little Children, published in 1848, ran to sixty–nine editions by 1896. Among the best known hymns she wrote are ‘Once in Royal David’s City, which traditionally begins the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away.’

Mrs Alexander’s husband, William, who was successively Bishop of Derry and Archbishop of Armagh, was also a versifier who canvassed unsuccessfully for the chair of poetry in Oxford.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, has announced its sixth candle–lit film series, which will take place on four Mondays in March at 6.30 pm in the cathedral’s Music Room. As always, the screenings are completely free of charge and all are most welcome. Doors will open at 6.15pm and no booking is required. The latest series is entitled ‘Journeys’ and is a selection of four thought–provoking films exploring the theme of journeys with the usual mix of new and old, comedy, classics and documentary, introduced by a selection of interesting speakers. The first screening is next Monday evening when Canon John Bartlett will introduce Jason and the Argonauts (1963). The following Mondays will feature The Straight Story (1999) introduced by Prof Jim Lucey, Director, St Patrick’s Hospital; The Hundred–Foot Journey (2014) introduced by the Very Revd Dermot Dunne, Dean of Christ Church; and Fire at Sea (2016) introduced by Nick Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Refugee Council.
The Archbishop of Dublin will mark the beginning of the season of Lent on Wednesday when he will lead the Ash Wednesday Service at the Inter Faith Centre in DCU at 1.05pm. A new series of lunchtime concerts begins in St Mary’s cathedral, Limerick, when, at 1.15pm, Helen Hancock (soprano), Peter Sebestyen (cello), and Irina Dernova (piano) will play music by Fauré, Britten and Strauss.

On Friday evening St Patrick’s church, Ballyclog, Co. Tyrone, will host ‘The Heavens Declare’, an exciting exploration of space and faith with Professor Michael Burton, Director of the Armagh Observatory & Planetarium, and Professor Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary & Space Sciences at the Open University, plus special guests, astronomer Terry Moseley, Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop Eamon Martin. The evening will include a viewing of the night sky with the Irish Astronomical Association.

Canon Malcolm Ferry, Rector of St Augustine’s parish in the City of Derry has been appointed Rector of the parish of Agherton, Portstewart, in the diocese of Connor. The service of institution will take place in the Church of St John the Baptist on Friday, 10th May, at 4pm.

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Church of Ireland Notes

Published weekly in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times