St. George’s is the oldest Church of Ireland Church in Belfast, and part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Due to its history, its ‘high church’ tradition of worship, and its inclusive nature, St. George’s is one of the best known churches in Ireland. St. George’s is not merely a historic building, but a living, vibrant, tolerant, community of God’s people in Belfast City Centre.
Perhaps more than anything else, St. George’s is known for the peace, beauty and dignity of its worship. St. George’s is a place where God’s people can be still in the presence of the Lord.
Worship in St. George’s blends the best of ancient traditions and modern innovations. Our worship could be described as being built on the bedrock of traditional Church of Ireland liturgy, comfortable with tradition but at the same time open to new ideas which bring people closer to God in worship. Many things which are standard in most Church of Ireland churches were first adopted in St. George’s and seemed radical at the time – examples include Harvest Festival, a robed choir, the Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve and the use of modern language in worship.
St. George’s is justifiably famous for the excellence of its musical tradition – one that began with its very first organist, the Belfast Harper Edward Bunting. The Parish Choir is one of the last remaining men and boys’ choirs in the whole of Ireland, and music plays an important part in worship. In addition, the church hosts many secular music performances and is the practice venue for a significant number of choirs and musical groups.
St. George’s has an inclusive and diverse group of parishioners. Unusually for a church in Northern Ireland, our parishioners come from every conceivable social and community background. Our parishioners are of all ages, occupations and church backgrounds. St. George’s seeks to be a place where all may walk with God, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, and where none are turned away.
This commitment to an inclusive faith can also be seen in the social action that takes place in St. George’s. St. George’s has long had a particular ministry to homeless people in the City Centre, and also has a ministry to people with addiction and mental health issues. Charitable giving for causes at home and abroad is also an important part of life here.
Prayer is the highest expression of a Christian’s love for God, and so prayer is the centrepiece of the life of St. George’s. Some form of public act of worship takes place in St. George’s every day, seven days a week. The Holy Eucharist is celebrated six days a week, and the sacraments of the Church are key to the life of this parish.
Some of our younger members like to worship at the Sunday Club, and enjoy their own activities and worship while remaining part of the Eucharistic life of the Parish.