Our Diocese Saint Mark's Church, Parish of Dundela is in the Diocese of Down and Dromore. Dundela Down and Dromore is one of 12 dioceses in the Church of Ireland which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It covers the north east of Ireland and includes half of the city of Belfast, the whole of County Down and parts of County Armagh, east of the River Bann. The diocese is the second largest with a church population of around 91,000 people. Our Bishop is The Right Reverend David McClay, Bishop of Down and Dromore. The Diocese of Down and Dromore has an extensive web site.
Our Vision 'We want to challenge ourselves in the community of St Mark's, that we will become more effective in bringing people to Christ.' What does this mean? A few key words from the statement hopefully will help to explain.
Challenge: we don't ever want to be in a place where our faith is so comfy it doesn't make us think. We must take seriously our call to be disciples always Growing in Christ. Community of St Mark's: We are a community of faith and we are called to care for each other, but we are also called to play our part in the wider Community of East Belfast. Bringing people to Christ: This is the reason the Church exists - nothing brings God greater joy than people leading others to commit their lives to him. It is ultimately what we are all called to as disciples.
The Church building Saint Mark's Church, Parish of Dundela, Diocese of Down and Dromore, is on the Holywood Road, East Belfast. The building is situated on 'Bunker Hill', an elevated position, which allows this beacon of Witness, to be seen from many miles around. It was designed in red sandstone by the eminent Victorian architect William Butterfield - also responsible for Keble College, Oxford - in magnificent Gothic revival style. The 150ft high bell tower creates the impression of a large church. It is an extravagant building, reflecting deep devotion to God. Sir John Betjeman, a leading authority on architecture and particularly Victorian Church architecture, described St Mark's as "Butterfield at his best". Mr Stephen Dykes Bower, a consultant architect to Westminister Abbey and foremost authority on Butterfield, was commissioned to supervise restoration work in 1976. Dykes Bower commented "It is an outstanding example of Butterfield's work... and a fine specimen of Butterfield attempting to re-create the Gothic grandeur of a medieval cathedral." Dykes Bower designed and pendant lighting which gives a warm glow, akin to candle light. The church has much treasured connections with C S Lewis who was baptised here.
The Old Rectory is a large red brick building on the south side of the church. It was designed by S P Close and built in 1887. Thomas Hamilton, the first rector of St Mark's Church and grandfather of C S Lewis lived here from 1887-1900. It was used as the rectory until 1976. At present it is vacant. The building stands proudly in its own grounds. It does not take away from the splendour of the church but instead complements it. This building together with the Heyn Hall beside the Old Rectory give St Mark's one of the finest suites of church buildings in Belfast or even Ireland. The door handle of the Old Rectory is in the shape of a lion and may have inspired C S Lewis. The Heyn Memorial Hall at the corner of Sydenham Avenue and the Holywood Road was built in 1928-9. It was designed by R H Gibson in association with Henry Seaver and constructed by F B McKee and Co.
Paul Larmour in his illustrated architectural guide to Belfast describes it as "One of the finest parish halls in the country." It is built in Tudor style with red brick walls, green Norwegian slates, wood panelled rooms, and timber mullioned windows. Upstairs, the youth room is known as the wardrobe and has a mural of Narnia recalling the parish’s association with C.S. Lewis.