Two internationally-acclaimed hymn writers from Northern Ireland were honoured in Lisburn today (Thursday 1 June 2023), where they became ‘Freemen of the City’.

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council bestowed the ‘Grant of Freedom of the City’ on Keith and Kristyn Getty in a tradition that dates back to the thirteenth century. This is the highest honour that can be awarded by a council.

Keith and Kristyn are GRAMMY®-nominated recording artists, best-known for the hymn, ‘In Christ Alone’, which is sung an estimated 100 million times around the world every year. They were given the ‘Freedom of the City’ in recognition of their achievements as internationally-acclaimed Christian singers and songwriters. 

Speaking in advance of the formal ceremony, Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Scott Carson said: “It is such an honour for me to welcome the Getty family to Lagan Valley Island today to thank Keith and Kristyn for the contribution they have made to communities across the world. They have inspired so many people globally through their music and I am proud to say they are from Northern Ireland.

“I hope the Gettys and their family and friends enjoy this special day. Pupils from Pond Park Primary School and Friends’ School, Lisburn, where Keith attended as a young boy, are beyond excited to perform today and I am looking forward to seeing performances from the wonderful New Irish Arts which was founded by Keith Getty in 1994. Here in Lisburn & Castlereagh, we are rightly proud of the Getty family. They have a special place in our hearts and we wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

Speaking as he prepared to receive the Freedom of the City of Lisburn and Castlereagh with wife Kristyn, Keith Getty OBE commented: “Kristyn and I are both honoured and humbled to receive the Freedom of the City of Lisburn and Castlereagh today. Lisburn is where I was born and raised, and it’s where my love of church music and singing began. I owe so much to the people of Lisburn, from the schoolteachers who encouraged me and developed my passion for composing, to the friends and family who supported Kristyn and I as we moved across the water to the United States.

“Our music ministry began here, with ‘In Christ Alone’ being written on the back of a Northern Ireland Electricity Bill! Lisburn is a place we love to return to whenever we are back in Northern Ireland with our four children, and it will always hold a special place in our hearts. We are so grateful to the Council for conferring this great honour on us which means so much.”

Click here to read more and view a gallery of images from the day's celebrations.

The Gettys returned to Northern Ireland to receive the Freedom of the City ahead of launching their Sing! World Tour at the SSE Arena Belfast on Saturday 17 June. The couple will also host a special four-hour conference featuring teaching, creative artistry and singing from classical and gospel musicians at the SSE Arena on Friday 16 June. Further details and tickets are available here: https://www.gettymusic.com/tour