A LANDMARK achieve-ment in the history of Methodism in Adare and in West Limerick generally will be celebrated in flowers later this year. Already, preparations are under way for the Flower Festival in May which will mark 250 years of Methodism in the area and is expected to attract over 1000 people from all over Ireland.
“The flower festival is an opportunity not just to mark Methodism locally, but also to pay tribute to the role local Methodists have played in the development of the Church and the promotion of social justice nationally and internationally,” said Superintendent Minister of the Adare and Ballingrane Methodist Circuit, Rev. Liz Hewitt.
“We are looking forward to welcoming friends and other visitors from our local community and beyond. We hope that they will find our story inspiring and enjoy the beauty and creativity of each floral display.”
The festival will tell the story of Methodism which has had a presence in Adare since the mid-1700s and a close association with the local Palatine Community. And the plan is to have 21 floral exhibits, to be created by award-winning florist Tony Mackessy and a team of volunteer arrangers.
One of the exhibits planned is a floral display of shoes to mark the thousands of people who have entered the doors of the Methodist Church in Adare since it opened in 1873, having relocated from a previous site on the old Limerick road.
The Adare and Ballingrane Methodist Circuit is one of the most historic circuits in Ireland and is the place from which the Methodist Church in the United States of America was born. In 1760, Philip Embury and his cousin Barbara Heck were among a group of Palatines who emigrated from the Rathkeale area and settled in New York. With Barbara Heck’s encouragement, Philip Embury became the first Methodist Pastor in North America.
Today, some 253 years later, there are an estimated 14 million Methodists in America who include former senators Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, film producer George Lucas, author Stephen King and Dallas star Howard Keel.
The Methodist Church in Ireland is the country’s fourth largest Christian denomination.
This year also will see the installation of Rev. Dr. Heather Morris as its President and Ireland’s first ever female church leader. The Adare Methodist Church Flower Festival will open on Friday, May 10 and run until Sunday, May 12.