A large turnout of parishioners and friends from neighbouring churches attended an evening of music, presentation and song as Christ Church Strabane celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the birth of the distinguished poet and hymn-writer, Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander, who had very close links with the parish.
Mrs Alexander is renowned worldwide for having written hymns such as ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘Once in Royal David's City’ and ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away’. However, she and her husband, Rev William Alexander, got married in the old Strabane parish church at Patrick Street, in 1850, and their marriage certificate and the communion chalice used in the wedding service remain in the parish to this day.
Rev William Alexander was appointed Rector of Christ Church in 1860 and later became Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
At the anniversary celebration, the Dean of Derry, Very Rev Raymond Stewart, led the congregation in prayer, while the Narrator for the evening, Mr Jason Foy, regaled the congregation with the story of a truly remarkable lady and her family, and their strong links with the parish of Camus-Juxta-Mourne.
The music was led by Mr Roy Adams MBE and the choir, and the congregation joined in a selection of carefully chosen hymns for the evening. The children began the evening’s praise by singing the opening verse of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, and later sang ‘Do No Sinful Action’ accompanied by Mrs Julie O’Loughlin on the piano. Mrs Anne Smith enthralled the congregation by reciting three of Mrs Alexander’s poems.
The evening was adjudged a great success and the organisers thank all who attended or participated for their support.