THE UNITED Presbyterian and Methodist church are marking milestones of almost 600 years in Limerick with a year of celebration.
In August 1752, the first Methodist conference was held in Limerick with John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in the chair.
He came to Limerick in 1749, preached in the city and had many converts. In 2013, the Methodist church, on it’s present site - 51A O’Connell Street - will be 200 years old.
Also in 2013, the Presbyterians will have been in Limerick for over 350 years - 1663.
The uniting of these two churches in the city, with many travelling in from the county, took place 40 years ago. Christ Church became the United Presbyterian and Methodist church.
Tony O’Connell, secretary to Christ Church Council, said they will be celebrating all these significant historical milestones.
“The special year of celebration started at 7pm on Sunday with an ecumenical evening service on October 30 which was the evening harvest. The preacher was Rev Ken Lindsay, the president of the Methodist Church in Ireland.
“Rev Lindsay launched the special year and dedicated new Bibles which have been sponsored by members of the congregation. It is planned to conclude on September 29, 2013 when Rev Tony Davidson, who was at one time the minister of Christ Church, has agreed to be our special preacher,” said Mr O’Connell. Events during the year will include a history walk to different places of worship in the city. Over the years both churches have naturally enough met in different buildings/churches, said Mr O’Connell.
“Some of these are not now used as churches but hold importance for both denominations. For example, the red brick building on the corner of Henry Street and Mallow Street is now used as offices but was built at the end of the nineteenth century as the ‘new’ Presbyterian church. We have also invited past ministers to return to Christ Church during this special year to bear witness to the time they spent ministering to the congregation,” said Mr O’Connell, who adds that present minister, Rev Vicki Lynch, organising committee and congregation feel that the year ahead is a very special time for Christ Church.
“These are milestones which are worth celebrating, while Methodists and Presbyterians in Limerick have gone about their business quietly and under the radar, their impact in various forums has been great,” said Mr O’Connell.
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