Church celebrates 150 years

Rev Geoff Wilson, rector of Shankill Parish Church and Mr Carl McCambley, organist. INLM45-102gc
Rev Geoff Wilson, rector of Shankill Parish Church and Mr Carl McCambley, organist. INLM45-102gc

The newly refurbished organ at Shankill Parish Church will be back in use for a special service on Friday, November 15 to mark the 150th anniversary of the church.

Together with the church the Walker organ dates back to 1863 when the present building replaced the original church which first occupied the site in 1725.

The organ has been restored at a cost of just over £170,000. A comparable new organ would cost over £1million.

Rev Geoff Wilson told the ‘MAIL’: “The work on the organ will be finished this Friday, but the organ still has to be tuned and voiced.

“The service on Friday, November 15 will be the first time the organ has been played since Easter.”

The service will celebrate the church’s 150th anniversary as well as a significant restoration.

“To have the organ filling the church with sound as it leads people in worship is just the most wonderful feeling,” said Rev Wilson.

Bishop Right Rev Harold Millar will rededicate the organ at the beginning of the service before it is played.

He will also unveil a memorial to parishioners who have passed away, the creation of which helped raise £100,000 towards the organ restoration.

At the opening of the ‘new’ church in 1863, James Malcolm, ancestor of the church historian Sammy Malcolm, presented the Walker organ to the church.

The special service to mark the restoration of the organ and the church’s 150th anniversary takes place on Friday, November 15 at 7.30pm.

It promises to be a night of celebration in the town with the Christmas lights being switched on earlier in the evening followed by the service in Shankill Parish.

Rev Wilson said everyone was welcome at the service.