The new Ireland unites in celebration


Religious Affairs Correspondent Patsy McGarry witnessed Christians of many nationalities celebrate Easter yesterday in Dublin.

An ecumenical crowd of 200 people braved the biting wind on Howth head at dawn yesterday to welcome Easter Sunday.

"We come together this morning, as Christians from different denominations, and we pray that the Risen Christ may draw us closer to one another, until his Church reflects the unity of the Godhead in Love," prayed Fr Kevin Bartley of Baldoyle parish, through a megaphone, softly.

Taking part alongside him were Rev Kingsley Long of St Mary's Church of Ireland parish in Howth, Bríd Lambe of St Fintan's parish in Sutton, and a representative of Howth's Presbyterian congregation.

At Christ Glory Ministry Easter celebrations on Moore Lane , Pastor Toyin Adewumi of Christ Glory Ministry presided, dressed in exotic green and black, as his exuberant congregation sang out "Come Let's Praise the Lord". They were led by a young woman who delivered the hymn, gospel style, with gusto. A backing group of five supported her.

About 50 people, made up of young families, men and women in glorious technicolour, they sang from the depths. "He'll never change, from eternity to eternity."

They were singing too at the Chinese Gospel Church on Middle Abbey Street. "He is risen, He is risen. Come on and celebrate," they sang in Mandarin, in Cantonese, and in English. There were about 200 present, mostly young people.

Church elder Ghee Seng Teo explained that normally they have two services on a Sunday, but as it was Easter they had brought the two together.

Clontarf Methodist Church, led by Rev Conrad Hicks, presented a mix of races united in celebration. Predominantly Congolese and Irish last night, the congregation also includes, South Africans, Angolans, and Zimbabweans. Readings were in French and English with some hymns sung in Lingala, the trading language of central Africa. But it didn't matter.

In every language the message was the same.