Video: Belfast Central Mission Through the Years

Exhibition of photographs at the Linen Hall Library by AR Hogg reveals the evolution of the Methodist Church benevolent agency

Belfast Central Mission is an agency of the Methodist Church. It was founded in 1889 by Rev Crawford Johnson as part of the church's response to problems inherent in inner-city life.

The motivation was then, as now, to meet the needs of the whole person: spiritual, emotional, social and physical regardless of class, creed or colour. 

Today, BCM continues in that tradition through its congregations at Grosvenor Hall and Sandy Row, and through its wide range of social work projects and community services throughout Northern Ireland.

The mission's professional social work is set within a context of Christian belief, though no religious commitment is required from its staff or anyone wishing to benefit from its services. BCM's purpose is to express the Christian faith in action, through a basic respect for human dignity, and thus commend it to others.

In the video above, archivist JR Wesley Weir discusses Through Changing Scenes – Belfast Central Mission: The Story of the First 125 Years – 1889-2014, an exhibition of photographs taken primarily by iconic Belfast photographer, Alexander Robert Hogg, to promote the charitable organisation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The exhibition traces the evolution of Belfast Central Mission, from its foundation through the two World Wars, the establishment of the Welfare State and into the modern age, and shows photographs of homeless children living on the breadline, 'waif's excursions' out of the city to the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down, and more.

Through Changing Scenes runs in the Linen Hall Library until November 29, 2014.