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CITI celebrates half a century at Braemor Park campus
Added on Monday 3rd March 2014

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The Church of Ireland Theological Institute is marking 50 years at Braemor Park in Churchtown, Dublin.

The Divinity Hostel – as it was then known – was officially opened half a century ago on 17 February 1964, having moved home from 25 Mountjoy Square to a new campus in suburban south Dublin.

The celebrations got underway in the chapel on 17 February – fifty years to the day after that move – with a service was attended by the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, and the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson.

The large congregation was welcomed by the Director of CITI, the Revd Dr Maurice Elliott, who said he, the staff and the students were delighted that so many people had joined them for the great occasion.

The preacher was the Revd Canon Dr David Hewlett, Principal of the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham and former lecturer at what was then the Church of Ireland Theological Institute.

Dr Hewlett described his five years lecturing at CITC as a formative experience. It was his first teaching post and his first time in Ireland too.

He took the text of the reading from Romans 12: 1–8: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” for his sermon, which he said was a key part of theological education.

Dr Hewlett said that conforming to the world was to diminish a person but transformation represented an opening out, freeing and enlarging of the self and the spirit.

He suggested that the renewal of minds could be brought about by encounters with difference, reading theology and through standing with those whose wounds are felt deeply.

Speaking after dinner, Dr Elliott said that in 1964 the new Divinity Hostel at Braemor Park was trying to represent the best of the old and the best of the new of a confident Church of Ireland. It was considered at the time to be very much the lap of luxury, although he conceded that this may have been something to do with comparisons to Mountjoy Square.

Five members of the original class of 1964 were present at the celebrations: Canon Desmond Sinnamon, Canon Mervyn Dickson, the Revd John Pickering, the Very Revd John Dinnen and the Very Desmond Hanna.

The Very Revd John Dinnen, former Dean of Down, spoke with great humour of the move to Braemor Park. In his trip down memory lane, Dean Dinnen described 25 Mountjoy Square as a “rambling, draughty bags of a place. It was spooky and would be worthy of a Harry Potter film.”

He said he appreciated the staff of the college most after he had left, adding that they had received immense encouragement from the teaching staff. He spoke of the value of student life and said he and his wife continued to pray for the staff and students at the college. The former dean remembered those who had passed on and those who could not join the celebrations.

Former staff members present included the Revd Canon Professor Adrian Empey, the Revd Canon Professor John Bartlett, Dr Andrew Pierce, Canon Virginia Kennerley and the Revd Norman McCausland.

The Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Right Revd Harold Miller, closed the evening in prayer.

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Captions:

1, In the chapel after the service: The Director of the institute, the Revd Dr Maurice Elliott; the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Right Revd Harold Miller; the Revd Canon Dr David Hewlett, Principal, the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham (preacher); the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke; and the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson.

2, The class of 1964: Canon Desmond Sinnamon, Canon Mervyn Dickson, the Revd John Pickering, the Very Revd John Dinnen and the Revd Desmond Hanna.

3, The current first year students at the Golden Jubilee celebrations: back row: Nigel Pierpoint, David Compton, Scott McDonald, Dennis Christie, Chris MacBruithin and Peter Smith; front row: Robert Smyth, Suzanne Cousins and Raymond Kettyle.

4, Dean John Dinnen makes a presentation to CITI staff member, Daphne Metcalfe, at the 50th anniversary celebrations

5, CITI staff members Daphne Metcalfe and Lynda Levis at the celebrations

6, Two former principals, the Revd Canon Professor Adrian Empey and the Revd Canon Professor John Bartlett, with the current director, the Revd Dr Maurice Elliott, at the anniversary celebrations