War on Want Golden Ball

As High Sheriff of Belfast I named War on Want NI as my chosen charity of the year. It is NI’s oldest local charity working with some of the poorest communities in Africa to find lasting solutions to poverty and suffering. My support of War on Want NI commemorates the charity’s 50th anniversary of fighting poverty worldwide. Former Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Pat Convery last year hosted a War on Want NI Fairtrade Coffee Morning at City Hall for all City Council employees. War on Want NI patron Dame Mary Peters and I both attended the event.

War on Want NI is the oldest independent and international agency in Northern Ireland. The charity’s ongoing mission to alleviate poverty worldwide is supported by the public’s generosity, 13 retail shops in Northern Ireland and the help of approximately 300 volunteers.The position of High Sheriff is the oldest secular office in Britain and dates back to the Saxon times. 

Tonight’s Gala Golden Ball was my last event as High Sheriff in Belfast City Hall. It was organised by my friend Jackie Trainor and compered by Noel Thompson of BBC Northern Ireland . It was attended by my oldest friends, the Irvine clan from my native Conlig, Edmund and Kathleen Irvine, Stephen and Diane Naylor, Keith and Sue Mallin, Thomas and Lynn Fegan.

One of the auction items was an Audrey Hepburn painting by the amazingly talented, award winning artist Deepa Mann-Kler. There were 100 jewellery boxes up for grabs on the night, one having an exquisite diamond necklace in it worth over £2,700 courtesy of Fred Malcolm’s Jewellers and a drawing by Colin Davidson of Roddy Doyle. And my friends, the family of Eddie Irvine had donated a voucher for the 10 driver Grand Prix package.

When I was a little boy in Conlig Sunday School, a Missionary to East Africa taught us some Gospel songs in Swahili and I have remembered it all my life. So to Jackie Trainor of War on Want and the children of East Africa I said,

Nyinyi ni chumvi ya dunia. Lakini chumvi ikipoteza ladha yake itakolezwa na nini? Haifai kitu tena, ila hutupwa nje na kukanyagwa na watu.

Nyinyi ni mwanga wa ulimwengu! Mji uliojengwa juu ya mlima hauwezi kufichika. Wala watu hawawashi taa na kuifunika kwa debe, ila huiweka juu ya kinara ili iwaangazie wote waliomo nyumbani. Vivyo hivyo, ni lazima mwanga wenu uangaze mbele ya watu, ili wayaone matendo yenu mema, wamtukuze Baba yenu aliye mbinguni. Kuhusu sheria.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot.

 You are the Light of the World. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither is a candle hid and put under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Let your light so shine that your good works may be seen and so glorify your Father who is in heaven.Jesus of Nazareth

A great Light illuminating the World has been kindled, raised on a candlestick, shining over the whole earth, a royal city well fortified and set on a hill, in which there is a great population who belong to God.

Hymn to Saint Patrick… Bangor Antiphonary.

The mural by Kenneth Webb in Bangor Abbey was commissioned under the guidance of Canon James Hamilton. The use of the triangle, denoting the Holy Trinity, pervades the whole design and leads us upwards from the figures of Comgall, Columbanus and Gall in the foreground to the central figure of the Ascending Christ. The features of Christ are those of a Black person, emphasising the mystic nature of the Son of Man. He is conceived as giving His Last Command:

” Go ye into all the World and preach the Gospel”

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