7th June 2016


Congregational History

The beginnings of Carryduff Presbyterian Church are linked to a church planting in the general area in 1838.  Meetings were held in an old school in the townland of Killynure. This work flourished and it was decided to build a new church on land available in nearby Carryduff.  The opening service in the new church was held on Sunday 1st November 1841, when the Rev. Hugh Brown, who had been ordained in 1840 for service in Killynure, was installed as the first Minister of the new congregation.  This service was conducted by the then Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Rev. Dr Henry Cooke, an outstanding theologian, orator and 19th century champion of orthodoxy.  It is recorded that a month later, the new church building was still being filled to capacity on a Sunday and its member were full of enthusiasm to hear the word of God expounded.  The devotional life of the congregation was strengthened further less than 20 years later, when the area experienced that revival of religion in 1859 who influence was felt over much of Ireland.

The following was placed above the entrance to the church building;

“Orthodox Presbyterian Church 1841 – Rev’d Hugh Brown, Pastor”

The use of the term orthodox relates to the theological dispute, which had split some branches of Presbyterianism in Ireland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Its inclusion here shows that the founding fathers (and mothers) of the congregation were on the side of historic Christianity as expressed in its creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, etc), particularly with regard to their understanding of our Lord being God and man.

Carryduff congregation and its ministers seem to have found each other reasonably attractive, as the current minister is only the eighth, giving an average pastorate of over 20 years each, the longest pastorate by far was that of Rev. Samuel Burnside who from his ordination in 1854 served until 1903.  See our Ministers Page for full details.

In 1984 a history of Carryduff Presbyterian Church 1841 – 1983 was written by a member of session, Mr George A. Bowsie, and published to observe how God has abundantly blessed in many ways the dedicated Christian workers in the past.

In 1984 our first student/assistant minister joined the pastoral team and was followed by 4 more student/assistant minister until 2002.

The church celebrated its 150th Anniversary with special services commencing Friday 1st November 1991.  The special preacher was the Moderator of the General Assembly, The Rt. Rev. Dr. R. Sterritt, who gave a very fitting address from Acts 2 “How the Apostles of the past, could set the standard for the Church of the future”.  An excellent booklet recounting the shortened history of the church over the past 150 years was again written and published by Mr G. A. Bowsie.

When our assistant minister received a call to his own congregation in 2002, it was decided to employ a Youth and Family Worker and two have served from 2002 to 2010 providing much need work with youth in our congregation and the surrounding community.  This work has now continued from 2010 with a part-time Youth Worker and a student/assistant minister. See our Assistant Ministers Page and Youth (&Family) Worker Page for full details.

Congregational Buildings

The church building opened in 1841 and included above the vestibule, a small room that was used for meetings of the Kirk Session and Church Committee.  Over the years, various alterations and additions have been made to accommodate the work of the church, and in 1883, the church was closed for a lengthy period to extensively remodel the interior to provide extra seating.

The congregation became aware of the necessity for additional accommodation, particularly in respect of the young people, and accordingly the Stuart Hall was built in 1930.  Records show, that in 1959 a generous donation was made to the church for the purpose of building a bell tower to the structure, thus the pleasant sound prior to each service is heard on the Sabbath, and reflects to the people of the district their need to attend worship.  As the congregation’s needs were inadequate, plans in 1972 were made for the erection of the Crossley Hall and kitchen, and the conversion of the old kitchen into cloakrooms, but demands still continued and in 1984 the Maddock room was built.

In September 1998 the congregational committee had a Feasibility Study carried out in relation to the Front of the Church and Development of Church Halls.  In depth consideration was given to the study and the congregation embarked on the major building project costing £1.2m.

The first building phase commenced June 2000 to extend the vestibule in the church and was completed March 2001.  To mark this special occasion, A Festival of Flowers for Easter – Theme “Christ Triumphant!” together with a Craft Exhibition 6th-8th April 2001 was held.  The dedication of Extension to Church Vestibule was held Lord’s Day – Sunday 8th April 2001 and the special preacher was Very Rev. Dr John Lockington, taking as his text: “A day of preparation” – The King has come – The one who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The second phase of the building programme commenced in February 2002, which was the demolition of existing halls and the building of a much needed suite of halls to cope with the expanding needs of the church with its wide range of activities for all ages, and also a challenge to reach out to the community, with Christian love and concern for everyone.  The Opening and Dedication of New Suite of Halls took place on Saturday 24th May 2003, when the special preacher was The Rt. Rev. Dr. Russell Birney B.A, B.D, D.Min., DD., who gave an inspiring address taken from John 17:1-23 “Jesus wants the Church to unite as one”.

 Congregational Facilities/Activities

The early life of the congregation centred around the weekly worship.  In Presbyterian form this included praise, prayer and the reading and expounding of a portion of the Bible as God’s Word.  In 1841 only metrical Psalms, sung without any musical accompaniment were acceptable and these were sung seated until 1863.  A choir was formed in 1883 to lead the worship (initially men only), a harmonium to accompany the singing was introduced in the 1920s and hymns a few years later.  A small pipe organ was installed after the Second World War as a memorial to members of the congregation who had served in the armed forces.  This was replaced by an Allen computer organ in 1974.  To celebrate their centenary, in 1980 the church choir purchased a piano to add variety to the music.  In the 1990s a praise band of mainly young people began to assist in leading the praise at some services.  As the organ was beginning to give problems and was proving difficult to maintain, a new Allen electronic organ was installed in 2006.

Regarding work with children, it is known that in 1861 Sunday Schools were set up in two local schools.  These were in addition to one already meeting in the church building.  Many other organisations were formed over the years to help in the churches ministry to people of all ages and further information on these organisations is contained else where.

In the 1980s an ad-hoc recording system was set up to record Sunday services on cassette tape for members of the congregation who were unable to attend church due to ill health.  The system was upgraded in 1996 to introduce a sound desk at the rear of the church with an amplification system and a multi cassette tape recording facility.  The system was further upgraded in 2006 to allow the services to be recorded on CDs.  As the existing system was suitable for voice only and as the praise band was taking an increasing leading part in services the complete audio system was replaced in 2010 to provide better sound quality.  At the same time a video system was installed so the praise hymns and power-point presentations could be projected onto a screen and monitors.  With video cameras this also allowed services to be recorded on DVD.