Church in ‘The Dock’ of the Titanic
by Paul Meneely
April marks the centenary of the world’s most famous ship, the Titanic, built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff. It has been claimed that ‘Titanic’ is the third most recognised word in the world, after ‘Coca Cola’ and – thankfully – God. This is a remarkable feat considering the tragically short life span of what was at the time the largest passenger steam ship in the world.
The centenary will be marked by numerous events including the opening of the iconic Titanic Belfast visitor centre in the newly redeveloped Titanic Quarter. It will also see the launch of one of the most exciting expressions of church in Northern Ireland – The Dock. Until recently, the former shipyard where the Titanic was built has been largely underused. Now an exciting regeneration project has seen the area begin to thrive and dramatically change the landscape of Belfast. At the heart of this you’ll find Chris Bennett steaming ahead with an innovative idea – The Dock – a church on a boat moored in the heart of Titanic Quarter.
This boat reflects a new Belfast. Chris has a vision for The Dock as an area where churches and Christians work together to build community. “Titanic Quarter is a new development; in fact until last year no-one has ever lived in the area,” he said. “This means that it’s never been identified as belonging to one side or the other.” This is unusual in Northern Ireland – a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a new sense of community.
The Dock will provide a shared space, inviting each denomination to provide chaplaincy on the boat and develop
a singular sense of community where churches work together at the heart of an area that will include housing, business, retail and tourism. As a dock acts as an area for building and repairs, The Dock will be an area where new relationships are made, and old ones are restored and celebrated. Northern Ireland needs an area like this more than most.
Visit ww.thedockchurch.org for more information.