Featured on 18th December 2020
At the core of all that takes place at Mount Merrion church is the desire to be a hub for the community; a place that cares about all aspects of peoples lives. A place that is inclusive; a place that provides refuge and support at all stages of an individuals journey through life, regardless of church attendance, ethnic origin, ability or religious beliefs.
Built in 1963, Mount Merrion Parish Church lies on the edge of the Cregagh estate, a townland dating back to medieval times, part of the estate owned by the Oniells of Clanaboy. The church's modernist style is dominated by a vertical glazed gable with a spire. Of particular interest is the unusual and impressive roof structure with its supporting frames made from laminated timber, or ‘glulam’. Visitors seeking heritage and history may easily pass this church by, yet within its walls it has an extraordinary and moving story to tell...
14 years ago, less than 20 people attended the church and although members wanted Mount Merrion to be part of the community they were unsure how to make that happen. Fast forward and today, thanks to to devoted work of Revd Adrian Green and his team, the church now delivers an extensive array of activities and initiatives as part of a wider Belfast project 'Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing'. Committed to embracing the whole spectrum of assisting the community to get fitter and healthier, the church now offers numerous fitness courses to all age groups and abilities.
'Grow your own banquets' is a real success story for Mount Merrion. It teaches how to grow and cook nutritious food. Creating three raised beds on land behind the church, vegetables are grown and then using simple recipes, people are shown how to create delicous meals. A cook book has been developed to show how easy it is to grow food and eat healthily within a budget.
A community pharmacist gives talks on wellbeing and courses are run on developing skills to cope with poverty and the issues that face families on lower incomes including looking at relationships together with how to shop on a budget.
A music academy provides cost effective music lessons for children who would otherwise be unable to learn given the high cost of instrument hire.
Many people struggle to keep warm in winter and are known to visit the shopping centres to find a warm, dry place to be. So, the church established a drop-in centre, offering a warm alternative with free hot drinks.
During the height of lockdown in the Summer, up to 50 volunteers were offering their services to help others through the delivery of a wide range of activities: after school clubs, youth groups, holiday clubs, messy church, food banks, home learning packs, school uniform recycling, mini boot camp, Watsapp group and craft clubs. Is there no wonder then the church was nominated and won the Marsh Award for Community Heroes?
Today Mount Merrion Parish Church is a hive of activity. It has an extraordinary story to tell, of how through its outreach of volunteers wanting to make a difference to other people's lives, the community are now more than ever willing to be part of what the church is and benefit from what it is offering.Learn more about Mount Merrion