THE Meeting House of The Mall Presbyterian Church in Armagh will host a special Covenant Centenary Service this Sunday at 3.30pm.
The service is being organised jointly by Primatial Royal Black District Chapter No. 4 and Armagh District Loyal Orange Lodge No. 5.
The Loyal Institutions played a key role in the organising and the signing of the Covenant in September 1912. The Covenant was the symbolic centrepiece of the Unionist campaign against Government proposals to introduce Home Rule in Ireland.
This historic document was signed by 237,000 men and 234,000 women signed a parallel declaration stating their opposition, resulting in 471,000 signatories. It was signed by all denominations and this would have taken place as many came from attending church services. It was clearly a defining moment in history.
The service will take the format of Scripture readings used at that time, together with hymns which may well have been sung at such church services 100 years ago. All participants will have the opportunity to add their signature to a document confirming their attendance on this occasion.
Sir Knight and Bro Trevor Boyd, Assistant Minister of The Mall, will conduct worship and will be the preacher and Office Bearers of both Institutions will also take part. A collection will be taken up for the work of Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association (SASRA) and SANDES, an association with a ministry to the Armed Forces.
The Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, Most Wor Sir Knight Millar Farr, and The Grand Master of The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Most Wor Bro Edward Stevenson, will be present, along with other distinguished Sir Knights and Brethren.
Sir Knights and Brethren are to assemble at Armagh Orange Hall at 2.30 pm. The outward parade route will take in Mall East, Gaol Square, Barrack Street, Scotch Street, Market Street, Upper English Street, College Street. Wreaths will be laid at the Cenotaph by members of both Institutions. The return parade will be Mall West, Gaol Square, Mall East, returning to the Orange Hall
The Ulster Covenant was a demonstration of the resolve of early 20th Century Ulster Unionists to remain citizens of the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.