Tonight I attended a Scottish Homecoming Service in Rugby Avenue Congregational Church, organised by the church and the Belfast Burns Association. In spite of its name which reflects its previous location, the church is actually at Carryduff.
This year has been Homecoming Scotland 2009 and the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. As a result Burns clubs throughout the world were holding special services on Sunday 29 November, the day before St Andrew's Day.
The hymns were sung to traditional Scottish tunes such as The Rowan Tree and Auld Lang Syne, while the readings were paraphrases of Psalm 1 and Psalm 90 by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. There was also a solo rendition of a grace composed by Burns.O Thou, in whom we live and move-
Who made the sea and shore;
Thy goodness constantly we prove,
And grateful would adore;
And, if it please Thee, Power above!
Still grant us, with such store,
The friend we trust, the fair we love-
And we desire no more. Amen!
The preacher was Rev E D Smyth who is a member of the Belfast Burns Association and he reflected on the faith and fortitude of our Scottish forebears who crossed the sea from Scotland to Ulster.