Rotary Club of Belfast

Centenary Thanksgiving Service

service01In celebration of 100 years of Rotary Service in the City of Belfast and beyond the Club held an Inter-denominational Service of Thanksgiving in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast on Sunday 30 October 2011. The Choral Evensong was conducted by The Very Reverend John Mann, Dean of Belfast Cathedral. The invited congregation comprised visiting clergy, Dame Mary Peters Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Past District Governors, Officers and members of Rotary Clubs throughout Ireland together with representatives from many of the charitable organisations with which the Club has been associated.

Click on image for caption.

service02In his introductory address President Adrian gave a warm welcome to all fellow Rotary Club members, guests and friends, to the service and recorded his grateful thanks to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral for inviting us to celebrate our centenary in the City of Belfast's landmark St. Anne's Cathedral.

He continued: "During this service our thoughts will be with three generations of Rotarians:

  • those who have gone before us, and provided us with a legacy of determination to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.
  • the current members and friends of our club and other Rotarians throughout the world, who strive to continue and build on this legacy, and believe that we can make a difference by 'reaching within to embrace humanity'.
  • the future generation of Rotarians, which it is our duty to develop. Developing this new generation is our greatest challenge, and today we pray that we may be given the strength and ability to inspire and encourage a new generation of Rotarians who will continue to make a difference in the years ahead, through their commitment to community service, and our Rotary motto of 'Service above Self'.


A unique section of the service was the blessing by the Dean of the hundreds of messages written on yellow ribbons by members of the public during the Tree of Life Campaign run by the Belfast Club in conjunction with Tesco in the run up to Christmas last year. (see here) The baskets of ribbons were processed by six children and grandchildren of Belfast Club members Assistant District Governor Maurice Brooks, Past President Alastair Corscadden, Mark Davidson and Hon Treasurer Ivan McMinn. They were placed around a candle of light and hope which was lit by Margaret Kerr. At this point 12 year old Victoria College student Alexandra Dick sang a moving solo of John Rutter's Clare Benediction.

Prayers were led by the participating clergy:
For Partnership in Service - Father Thomas McGlynn (Priest in Residence St Peter's Cathedral): O God, in whose providence we are closely bound together in the bundle of life, help us to remember how much our lives depend upon the courage and industry, the honesty and integrity, of our fellow men and women. May we be mindful of their needs, grateful for their services, and faithful ourselves in our responsibilities towards them; for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen

For Those Who Serve the Community - Rev Alex Wimberly (Moderator of Belfast South Presbyterian Presbytery, McCracken Memorial Presbyterian Church): God our Father, we remember before you with gratitude those who in their different capacities serve the community. We pray for those who safeguard the public health and minister to the sick; those who provide for the welfare of the young and care for the elderly and infirm; those who serve in local government, administer the law, and preserve the peace. Assist them in their varied duties, and deepen within us all the spirit of loving service; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

For The World of Business - Rev Harold Good (Former President Methodist Church): We pray, O God, for those whose lives are immersed day by day in the busy and complex world of commerce, with its many demands, responsibilities, and temptations. Save them from being so absorbed in material wealth that they lose sight of the things of priceless value, the things that are worth more than all the money in the world. Give them integrity of character, that their lives may be sincere, their dealings honest, and their words truthful; we ask it in the name of Christ, the Lord of all life. Amen

Prayers of intercession were given by representatives of the extended Rotary Family and some of the many charities the Club has been involved with over the years:
Berrie O'Neill, President of Strandtown Probus Club - God, we give you thanks for the life of Paul Harris and for the inspiration and ability with which you blessed him and led him to found Rotary International.
Rosie Clements, President of the Inner Wheel Club of Belfast - We thank you for those who were responsible for establishing Rotary in Ireland: remembering especially Stuart Morrow and those Rotarians who have played a part over the past century in ensuring that this organisation in this island has remained faithful to its founding values.
Anne Anderson, Retired District Commissioner East Belfast Scout District - God we thank you that in an island and in a world where there are divisions, misunderstandings and hostilities, that Rotary International has built bridges of understanding and friendship and engaged in projects to promote peace, justice, good health, mutual understanding and respect. We pray that this will continue.
Denise O'Neill, former Boys' Camp Organiser - We pray for each Organisation represented here today and for the community of which they are a part and whom they serve.
Laura Garland, District Rotaract OrganiserWe thank God for those students from schools and universities whose personal and social development has been influenced for good by the competitions, visits and scholarships provided. We thank God for the international youth exchange programme and the Rotary Foundation.
Assistant District Governor Past President Maurice Brooks - We thank God for the countless number of men and women who through membership of Rotary International have grown in knowledge and skill through their service of others. We thank God for those previously afflicted by polio who have been enabled to recover health, for Polio Plus and the other programmes of preventative medicine sponsored by Rotary International throughout the under-developed world. We thank God for the action taken in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters to provide shelter for families through Shelterbox and to provide safe drinking water through Aquabox. We pray for the continuation of the work of the Jaipur Limb projects in India and Haiti providing limbs and hope for the future for hundreds of people. We also pray for the work of Elaine Bannon in Project Rombo in Kenya that it may prosper and grow. Nearer home we pray for the work of the SOS Bus and FASA in the area of substance abuse.
Congregational Prayer of Dedication - God guide our organisation, each of its officers and members; Give us visions to inspire us and the courage and capability to bring the visions into being. This we ask in your name and for the welfare of people at home and abroad. Amen

service05President Adrian read the Lesson from 1st Thessalonians 2: 9-13 and Past President Marnette Lyons read the Gospel Luke 6: 17-31. The Cathedral Choir sang the Anthem A Prayer of St Patrick by John Rutter as well as Psalm 23, the Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis. The congregational hymns were: All people that on earth do dwell; Guide me, O thou great Jehovah; O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder and Praise, my soul, the King of heaven. After the Service light refreshments were served including Past President Courtenay's mouth-watering shortbread!

Many of the congregation then progressed to May Street Church for a Special Rotary Family Concert by MT4Uth. More here.



Photographs thanks to Tony Mairs Photography

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