Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Dunmurry congregation prepares for move to new church in village

DUNMURRY Presbyterian ChurchDUNMURRY Presbyterian Church was put up for sale this week as plans to develop a new church in the centre of the village take shape.

The 19th Century Church at Ashley Park, as well as the Manse, are being sold for development, whilst Rev John Braithwaite and his congregation focus on developing a new church and community facilities at the site of the church hall in the centre of Dunmurry.

The asking price for the church and manse, which is being marketed by DTZ McCombe Pierce, is 1.5 million and according to the estate agent, it will be a popular sale.

Looking to the future at the new church, Rev Braithwaite explained: "The architects are drawing up plans at the moment but they haven't been finalised or approved by the congregation.

"We looked at the possibility of renovating the church halls but felt it was a better idea to demolish them and rebuild the church complex. It will be a very modern complex with extensive facilities.

"The worship area will be smaller than our present church but it will meet the needs of a modern congregation."

Rev Braithwaite said he hoped the move to the centre of the village would encourage new members and ensure the church remained at the heart of the Dunmurry community. "There is significant development going on in the area and we want to be well placed for that," continued Rev Braithwaite. "The congregation has declined over the years but there is a lot of life here and we hope this move will provide the facilities needed for the 21st century."

Depending on planning permission, Rev Braithwaite is hopeful the new church will be up and running by 2009 and is looking forward to the move.

"It is a very exciting time," he added. "It gives us an opportunity for a new beginning with facilities designed for the 21st century.'

DUNMURRY Presbyterian side of the railway line from the Church opened in 1863 and was church hall and the view of the enlarged in 1903. church is a familiar Dunmurry The church is on the opposite landmark for commuters by train.

This congregation was first erected between the years 1676 and 1683 and in January 1683, Mr. Alexander Glass was the ordained minister.

The current church building was built in the 1860s and a cheap railway service made Dunmurry popular as a suburban residence, so that the capacity of the church became overtaxed.

In 1903 the church was enlarged.

The present minister, the Rev. John Braithwaite, previously in Mountjoy and Drumlegagh, Co. Tyrone, was installed in June 1990 and will be moving with his congregation to the new church in the centre of Dunmurry.

Ulster Star