Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Evening of Praise commemorates the centenary of
instrumental music at Railway Street Presbyterian Church

Janet Ferguson Director of MusicAn important milestone in the history of Railway Street Presbyterian Church will be celebrated on Sunday 25th May at 6.30pm at a special 'Evening of Praise' commemorating the introduction of instrumental music, which was introduced into the service of the Church when an organ was installed in the year 1908. The service, which will be held in the newly refurbished church, will follow a Senior Members' Tea served in the church hall by the church's pastoral care and friendship visitors. The minister, the Rev Brian Gibson, will lead the service and the Church Choir, under the leadership of Janet Ferguson, Director of Music, will lead the praise. The guest organist will be the Rev Dr Jack Richardson MBE, Minister Emeritus of Hillhall Presbyterian Church.

The first organ installed in Railway Street, was dedicated on 16th February 1908 and at this date hymns and the children's address were first introduced. These introductions must have been at that time, absolutely revolutionary. In the Annual Report following the installation of the organ, the third minister of Railway Street, the Rev R W Hamilton reported 'in spite of a depressing winter owing to the depression of business, an organ was introduced to help to lead us in our Service of praise. Many had long wished for this and their patience was rewarded. It is a matter for special thanksgiving that those among us who had no desire for such an instrument, and some, perhaps, who had disliked it, have in admirable Christian spirit acquiesced in the general wish, so that the peace and unity of the congregation have in no way suffered'.

However, the first organ, proving inadequate, was replaced in January 1914 by the present pneumatic action pipe organ built by the Leeds organ building firm of J. J. Binns. It was presented to Railway Street Presbyterian Church by Mr James Crossin J.P., of Massereene Villas, Lisburn. It is perhaps also worth noting that in 1899, nine years before the introduction of the first organ, Mr James Crossin, J.P., generously offered an American organ for use in the Church in the service of praise, but some objected and to the regret of many, this offer was not accepted.