Published Friday, 28 September 2012
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Mission Titanic tells the story of Rev Chris Bennett, who was appointed chaplain to the Titanic Quarter when it was still a building site.
He saw his new post as a chance to challenge Northern Ireland's traditional approach to religion and wanted to create a multi-denominational space in which everyone would be welcome.
Chris wants to offer residents, workers, students and tourists from all over the globe a modern approach to faith.
His vision is of a boat that will reflect the past and help shape the future. But his challenge is to find a suitable vessel and have it in place for the Titanic centenary commemorations in April 2012.
During his journey, he falls for the charms of a 100-year-old lightship in Scotland and travels to Wales where he is inspired by the founders of an ecumenical centre on a boat in the heart of Cardiff Bay.
As he tries to get the project up and running, Chris gets a shock medical diagnosis - but is determined that working with the new church is the best thing that he can do with his life.
He believes that 'The Dock' - as he has named his new church - should be the glue to bring the community together in a shared space, bringing "heart and soul, life and laughter" into the area, and uniting, not dividing, as religion has often done in the past.
It feels like the reality of the Titanic Quarter's original vision and tagline - 'where once we built ships, today we build community'. This is it.
Rev Chris Bennett
Chris has the support of the Right Reverend Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore who appointed Chris to the post. He says: "Chris is a highly imaginative person - the kind of person you can put into any situation. He gets to know people and people get to know him. He is a presence in any situation."
Baroness May Blood has added her voice to those who believe the new church can be a positive addition to the Titanic Quarter. She said: "It's good the church presents itself as a uniting force. I think the whole idea of 'The Dock' was just totally different - and Chris himself is very hard to resist."
Maritime historian, Charlie Warmington reflects on the importance of religion in the area, particularly during the time that Belfast's shipbuilding industry was at its height.
He says: "Churches were a wee bit special down here - brimming over with good old Christianity and religion. But the shipyard was a very dangerous place for men to work and I think that probably gave them a great feeling for spirituality, for the closeness of God."
Michael Wilson, UTV's Managing Director of Television said: "This is a story that simply had to be told and I'm delighted our audience will get to follow Chris Bennett on his very personal mission to set up his church in the Titanic Quarter."
Producer Patricia Moore, said: "Chris Bennett's vision of a church on a boat may seem wildly ambitious to some, but for others, it's the right idea at the right time. Viewers will be inspired by Chris's enthusiasm and passion and the fact that things didn't turn out the way he planned adds to the sense of anticipation."
Mission Titanic was produced by Tyrone Productions with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. It is aired on UTV on Sunday at 10.20pm.