Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

250 years of worship at Kilwarlin Moravian


AN Anniversary Service will be held on Sunday (October 23) to celebrate 250 years of the Kilwarlin Moravian Church congregation.

The service will be attended by members of the church and local dignitaries, as well as representatives from churches in the area.

Reverend Paul Holdsworth, the current Minister of the Moravian Church, will lead the service with special guest preacher Reverend Harold Mortimore from Yorkshire, a former minister of the congregation.

Other special guests include Rt. Reverend. Harold Miller, Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Deputy Mayor of Lisburn Trevor Lunn and guests from England.

Looking forward to the anniversary service, Reverend Holdsworth said: "We hope that this service will be a reflection of 250 years of Christian witness in the area but also an opportunity to look ahead to the future as we continue to work for the Lord in a n d a r o u n d Kilwarlin."

Reverend Holdsworth became Minister of the Church in 2004. He said:
"I moved to Northern Ireland in November last year with my wife Patsy and my dog Joshua, from Chelsea, London.

"We love it over here and we hope that our call keeps us here for many years to come.

"We as a church like to be of service to everyone in the local community and therefore everyone from the area is most welcome to the service."

The Moravian Church was founded in the eighteenth century in what is now the Czech Republic. Tucked away on the Kilwarlin Road the small Moravian Church is set in beautiful grounds.

John Cennick, a Moravian evangelist founded the church in 1755.

In the 1830s the buildings were in ruins and the congregation no longer had a resident minister. It looked as if the work of the Moravians in Kilwarlin would soon come to an end.

A young Greek chieftain, Basil Patras Zula, was sent to be minister. He rebuilt the church and the manse, and the congregation grew to over 200 members.

Zulu never forgot his homeland and, using his own money and local labour, he landscaped the gardens in the form of the battlefield of Thermopile to remind him of his beloved Greece.

Zulu and his wife Ann are buried at Kilwarlin. It is thought that Zulu is the only Greek to become a member of the Moravian church throughout its history.

Hilda Law, Treasurer of the Kilwarlin Church said: "We are all looking forward to the special service on Sunday.

"We have a small but dedicated congregation.

"The service will take place at 3.30pm and refreshments will be served in the hall after-wards."

Reverend Holdsworth concluded: "We look forward to sharing this time of worship and celebration with all our members and friends on Sunday afternoon."