Belfast's new Spire of Hope is being dedicated next week at a special inter-denominational service in St Anne's Cathedral, on the same day that will mark the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA.
The special preacher will be the Rt Rev Mark Sisk, the Anglican Bishop of New York, where more than 3,000 people died on September 11 , 2001 in the destruction of the World Trade Centre in the city.
The Dean of Belfast, Dr Houston McKelvey said he was delighted that Bishop Sisk could share in the St Anne's service " on this particular date and the associated events which affected the entire world. The Gospel of hope which the spire represents is for the universe, as well as being most particularly relevant to both our cities and countries."
Senior clergy and civic representatives, including the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Jim Rodgers, will attend the service together with representatives of the companies and professional practices closely involved in the erection of the Spire of Hope. Three engineers from the Swiss company which manufactured the spire will attend the service, which begins on Tuesday next at 8pm.
Dean McKelvey said today that more than 700 people had already accepted invitations. This number is likely to rise significantly, nearer the event.
The dedication will be conducted by the Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Alan Harper, who was the local Bishop of Connor when the decision was taken by the Cathedral authorities to go ahead with the spire.
Senior clergy from other churches will include the former Presbyterian Moderator the Very Rev Dr Ken Newell, the former Methodist President the Rev Ivan McElhinney and the Very Rev Dr Hugh Kennedy of St Peter's Cathedral which works closely with St Anne's.