DUNMURRY Free Presbyterian celebrated the
start of a very important anniversary last Sunday as the
congregation joined together in song and praise for the start of
the 40th anniversary of their minister, Rev William Beattie.
Rev Beattie joined Dunmurry Free Presbyterian Church in October
1965, making him one of the longest serving ministers in the
He has seen many changes over the years, with congregations
growing and two new churches, Hillsborough and Lisburn, being
established in the local area.
"It has been a very eventful period," explained Rev Beattie.
"There has been a lot of change ."It is a totally different
place now and change has been forced on the local community by
all of the Troubles."
After Rev Beattie began his ministry the congregation grew to
such an extent the , church began to search around for a new
building. Over the years, people moved away ' from the area,
either due to the ever-increasing troubles in Belfast -, or
because of the lack of local housing.
However, in 1975 the decision was made to look for a site for
a new church and in 1978 Dunmurry Free Presbyterian Church
opened its doors in Seymour Hill.
Rev Beattie was also instrumental in the establishment of the
Free Presbyterian Churches in Hillsborough
Despite enjoying a very active ministry for the past 40 years
Rev Beattie is showing no signs of slowing down, having just
embarked on a three-year evangelistic programme.
"We have started doing a new type of door-to-door work,"
explained Rev Beattie. "There are a lot of people in the Seymour
Hill, Dunmurry and Derriaghy area who have no connection with
any church and we are finding a very real dissatisfaction and a
need for change among the local population.
"It has been very encouraging and is overwhelming me with
In fact, the popularity of the church and the out-reach
programmes has meant Dunmurry Free Presbyterian Church now has a
student from Queens University and the Belfast Bible College
working with them and is also receiving additional help from
another minister from outside the area.
"We are looking forward to seeing very worthwhile work done
for the glory of God and we have now embarked on a
three-year programme of church building," said Rev Beattie.
Last Sunday saw the start of a year of work and activities to
mark this : momentous anniversary.
Special services were held in the morning and evening, were
members of the church and visitors gave thanks for everything
that has been achieved in the past forty years.
The commemorations will continue for two weeks at the end of
October and the beginning of November when Rev
Kenneth Elliott from Portadown will be taking part in a special
There will also be events held throughout the Christmas and
New Year period, with the celebrations culminating in a very
special service next October to officially mark Rev Beanie's 40
years of dedicated service.