Compiled by David G. Browne



Foreword By Rev. Ian R. K. Paisley



Congratulations to the Minister and Members of the Hillsborough Congregation of the Free Presbyterian Church on their coming of age.

The fact that in their 21st Anniversary year they are opening their magnificent new church building speaks for itself.

The Hillsborough Congregation was born in conflict while my brethren Ivan Foster. John Wylie and I languished in prison.

The ecumenical clergy of the area, like the priests of Rome in the Reformation times, called in the secular authority to persecute the true Church of Christ.

The Minister of Development, Brian Faulkner and his officials bent the law in a vain attempt to stop the erection of a humble meeting house. The official met with a serious accident and we all know the story of Brian Faulkner, but the Church of Christ marches on.

In this day when the world is shadowed and shrouded with the end time apostasy, God has raised up this church to stand uncompromisingly for all that God is for and against all that God is against.

We confront, challenge and condemn doctrinal apostasy with preaching unflinchingly the great fundamentals, the 'cardinal essentials' as Dr. Chalmers put it, of the verbally inspired Word of God.

We confront, challenge and condemn the ecumenical apostasy which is in reality resurgent Romanism and infidel Protestantism cemented together through the charismatic delusion, by raising unapologetically the standard of our Protestant and Reformed Faith and separating from the ecclesiastical entanglement of the W.C.C., B.C.C., I.C.C. and all other ecumenical amalgams.

'We confront, challenge and condemn the materialism, secularism and worldliness of today by seeking to walk worthy of our calling in Christ in the old paths of personal separation and holiness in conforming to the commandments of God and not the traditions of men.

We confront, challenge and condemn the coldness and unbelief among God's people today by continuing to pray for a great reviving of His Work by the divinely ordained means of the preaching of the Cross.

We bow to no authority but the Bible.

We acknowledge no priest but our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. We reverence and receive no sacrifice but the finished work of Calvary.

We urge no plea but the precious Blood of Christ.

We have no message but the Gospel.

Here the Hillsborough Church has stood for the past twenty-one years. Here it still stands today. We can do nought else, God helping us. Amen.

Dr. Ian. R.K. Paisley, M.P.


It was the Lord Jesus Christ who said "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

The history of Hillsborough Free Presbyterian Church is a story of what Christ the Master Builder has done in the erection of His Church. Any building project involves heartache, setbacks and unforeseen difficulties, but a church with a vision will say like Nehemiah "The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build." Nehemiah 2:20.

The past twenty one years have been a time of building, battles and blessings. We must never forget, like Nehemiah, we have enemies who are bitterly opposed to the Separatist testimony in Ulster, and who would have us "come down" from the great work that God has called us to do for Him. The Lord has brought us to the Kingdom for such a time as this, and we must always be on guard against every form of compromise that would result in spiritual declension or departure from God's Word.

As minister of the church I would like to pay tribute to the faithfulness of God's people in the Hillsborough congregation, who have been `beloved brethren', steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Perhaps at a future date, a fuller account will be written of what God has done. Meanwhile it is my earnest prayer that this short account will be a "book of remembrance' (Malachi 3:16), used of God to challenge us to greater things in the days that are before us.

As a church we owe a great debt of gratitude to our clerk of session, Mr. David Williamson, who, from the beginning of the work has been an inspiration, not only to myself but to the congregation.

I would also pay tribute to the Elders and Committee, who have carried the burden and have been men of vision and dedication and have pressed on to see our new church building completed.

A week before our church was opened we suffered greatly in the sudden death of our brother Jim Carlisle, who went home to be with Christ, while he was working on the car park of the Church. Jim was indeed a "workman that needeth not to be ashamed" when he was called into His Master's presence. He will be greatly missed, yet we have the comfort of knowing that he is "with Christ which is far better."

We are indebted to our Moderator, Dr. Paisley, for his encouragement and guidance over these past twenty one years, and appreciate all that he has done for us as a congregation.

I would like to thank Mr. David Brown for undertaking the task of compiling this short history of our church, and to all those who have helped in supplying information and photographs we express our sincere thanks in the Saviour's name.

Rev. Stanley Barnes
September, 1987


The Lord has singularly blessed the separated testimony of the Free Presbyterian Church and He has surely built the house from a handful of congregations to an assembly of Churches throughout the Province, the British Isles, the United States, Canada and Australia.

In the same way that the Lord has been pleased to extend the witness abroad, He has also expanded each Individual Church. Such is the story of Hillsborough Church.

We thank God for His servant, Dr. Paisley, who has untiringly laboured and earnestly contended for the faith. Dr. Paisley's enthusiastic interest in all our churches has been an inspiration, particularly in Hillsborough.

The Church commenced in the Summer of 1966 after a very successful Gospel Campaign, conducted by Rev. William Beattie in a tent in a field which is now occupied by the Church. One man, who had a burden for the souls of men and women in the area, saw his prayers fulfilled when on July 16th, the tent was erected to begin the Mission; that man was James McCann.

Over 30 precious souls were gloriously saved at that Mission and many have continued to this day. Following the Mission there was a desire expressed for a separated testimony to be raised in Hillsborough. Before the tent was taken down, a meeting was held to gauge what support there would be. The indication was that some 20 communicant members and many friends would from the nucleus of another Free Presbyterian congregation.

The group were granted the old Edenticullo Band hut and on September, 18th the first Sunday services were held under the auspices of the Free Presbyterian Church.


The first Service was attended by some 45 people and the Lord sealed the preaching of the Word when 2 souls were saved at the evening service. Over 30 attended the first mid-week prayer meeting. Mr. Beattie had responsibility for the oversight and after the new congregation was officially instituted and welcomed at the October Presbytery, a church committee was elected. A Sunday School commenced that same month.

The pulpit was occupied by different preachers and laymen and it was not until April, 1967 that a regular preacher was found in the person of Mr. Gordon Cooke as the student minister. The work progressed and an increase was noted in attendance at the services and at the Sunday School.

The church committee recognised the necessity to obtain a piece of land on which to erect a portable building initially and a permanent building eventually. Various sites had potential for the Church's plans, but the Planning Authority thought otherwise and matters were frustrated. In December, 1967 the committee approached the late Matthew Spratt (who with his wife, was saved in the inaugural mission) to rent a piece of land.


Again the planners rejected the intention to erect a temporary building. The church committee determined to proceed contrary to the authorities, who were motivated by politico ecumenical ideas to thwart the advance of the Gospel. So in March, 1968 the ground was prepared, foundations laid, a hall constructed and equipped in seven working days.

The first service in the new building was conducted on Sunday 10th March by a student Mr. Alton Wagner. (Mr. Cooke had since moved to Rasharkin). The evening service began a Gospel Campaign conducted by Rev. John Douglas. The eventful month was also the occasion for a great march of witness. Over 1,500 people gathered to protest against the local Council's decision to mark a Writ on the congregation to have their hall removed. The public outcry and the merits of the project, resulted in the Court action being dropped.

Two days after the protest, a congregational meeting was convened to issue a call to a student minister. The Rev. John Douglas chaired the meeting which unanimously invited Mr. Ian McVeigh to be their student minister.

The Mission, which began on March 10th, lasted 3 weeks and 10 souls were saved. The congregation enjoyed a season of blessing after the Mission and were further encouraged as Mr. McVeigh commenced his duties. In mid-April, Mr. Douglas conducted a special series of meetings on the subject of Scriptural Separation. Attendance was encouraging and consistent, best of all several new members were added to the Church.

Within 6 months the work was flourishing well ? the Sunday School had 87 pupils and 7 teachers ? and the finances permitted the purchase of the first minibus.

The virtue of patience was exercised once more in 1969 when the Church expressed interest in purchasing a site in Lisburn Street. The planning application was turned down, but notwithstanding this set-back, the congregation continued to prosper and enjoy the smile of God in their endeavours. The following year the Church's first student, Harry Cairns, entered the Theological Hall to study for the Ministry.


In 1971 the congregation was able to purchase a manse, in Lisburn, and Mr. McVeigh became the first occupant. During February, Church business was concentrated on further endeavours to achieve planning permission, this time for a one acre site, which Mr. Anderson had agreed to sell for ?1,500. The planners responded by laying down certain stipulations about the position of the proposed building on the site and the provision of an adequate car park. The committee were thus able to instruct McCready Architects to draw up plans for the new building.

By September that year, Mr. McVeigh had successfully completed his studies in the Theological Hall, and remained as student minister until he received a call from Coleraine Congregation to be their minister.

The Band Hall at Edenticullo ? the first meeting place of Hillsborough Free Presbyterian Church.

The New Church Building opened 22/6/74.


The laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony,
 15th June 1985.
Dr. Paisley cutting the first sod ?
8th April, 1972
One of the Children's Missions


Members of Session and Committee with guests at the laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony
15th June 1985
Childrens' Day Choir


1972 was another of those busy and eventful years. By April 8th, preparations were ready for the sod-cutting ceremony by the Moderator, Dr. Paisley. Rev. W. Beattie and Rev. J. Douglas also took part in the service. Then on July 5th, the foundation stone was truly laid by the Moderator. A special offering raised over ?3,100, and in the next 12 months, ?7,000 was taken up for the Building Fund. Meanwhile, the Rev. McVeigh had received a call to the Coleraine Church, and the vacancy was filled when Mr. Stanley Barnes accepted a call to be the minister. Rev. Barnes was installed in October, 1972, as the first minister.

As the building work progressed, the church committee were concerned that the financial commitment would not become a financial burden. Prudent management and faithful giving by God's people ensured that the Building Fund rose to ?9,129 by June, 1973 and to ? 12,000 by the end of the year, plus ?4,000 in interest free loans.

June 22, 1974 was a memorable day for the church ? the day had arrived for the opening of the New Church. The event was reported thus in the "Ulster


"Them church is set in very pleasant rural surroundings and the interior is reminiscent of the old-style Covenanting Meeting House, but has all modern facilities, combined with a bright and airy atmosphere.

The service began appropriately with the singing of the 23rd Psalm and this was followed with prayer by Rev. John Douglas, who for a considerable time was senior minister of the congregation.

The scripture reading was by Rev. C. Menary and the soloist was Mrs. Elizabeth Haffey. The organist was Miss Marjorie Boreland.

The church secretary, Mr. D. Williamson, referred to the transformation which had taken place with the provision of a new church, something which was in sharp contrast to the portable hall.

He welcomed the Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church and also Rev. William Beattie, who had just returned from a visit to the United States."

"The minister of the church, Rev. Stanley Barnes, who presided, welcomed Dr. and Mrs. Paisley and members of their family and also ministers of the Presbytery. Included in his words of gratitude to all who had helped towards the fulfilment of their ambitions in a new church, was the mention of Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson, who had provided the site and Mr. Matthew Spratt for use of the site for the portable hall.

"Dr. Paisley said he was very happy to be in Hillsborough and to have the opportunity of preaching the Word of God for the first time in that building. He congratulated the minister, committee and members of the congregation for the magnificent job they had done. 'This building,' he said, 'is a credit to them and an honour to the Gospel we preach and the faith we defend.'

Dr. Paisley said that this church had opened its doors for the preaching of the Blood of Christ and that God had ordained that this building should be here. Referring to the 'blessed unity' of the people of God, he said the new church stood as a testimony to the fact that nothing could stop the onward march of God's people."


Dr. Paisley's words were to prove prophetic, as we shall see later in this account.

The congregation had now a permanent home but it was acknowledged by the congregation that they had not arrived to sit still and be content. It was realised that now was the time to move forward, to consolidate, to build on the foundation "which is Jesus Christ".

Rev. S. Barnes's teaching and preaching was at all times faithful to the Book. The Word of God occupied and still occupies the central place in the worship of the people of God and also the preaching of the Gospel. God's people were strengthened in the faith and many precious souls were gloriously saved as the Word was proclaimed.

The Church committee were always conscious of their responsibilities and management; they oversaw the removal of the debt incured in the completion of the church. They also could see Dr. Paisley's prophetic words fulfilled before their eyes; the church had been designed to accommodate 350 comfortably and also provide facilities for the Sabbath School.


Not many years had passed when attendances exceeded the accommodation and the Sabbath School had expanded. The dual need for extra accommodation was to be solved in a unique way. Thoughts of building a Sunday School complex were superseded by the idea of building a second church. No other Free Presbyterian congregation had taken such a bold step of faith.

Plans were drawn up to build a new church and to convert the original church into a youth complex. Work commenced in March 1984 and the sod-cutting ceremony was held in April that year. The financial responsibility was willingly borne by God's people and in 1984, the Annual income was just over 62,000 (a 20% increase on the previous year).

On 15th June 1985 the foundation stones for the New church were laid.

Since then the work of construction and furnishing has gone on to complete the 750 seater church as a preaching house. The facilities also include a cr?he, balcony, recording studio, a baptismal tank and a large kitchen.

There is an explanation for the rapid growth of the Hillsborough Church. Under the ministry of Mr. Barnes the church has sought to be an evangelical, soul winning church. Further, the congregation has grown spiritually under Mr. Barnes's guidance and leadership. The minister's wife also greatly contributes to the work of the church through her consistent working behind the scenes with the other ladies of the congregation and the manse door is always open to the members of the congregation, which is noted for its warmth, friendliness and fellowship.

How good is the God we adore!
Our faithful, unchangeable friend:
His love is as great as his power
And knows neither measure nor end.

For Christ is the first and the last;
His Spirit will guide us safe home:
We'll praise him for all that is past
Arid trust him for all that's to come.

Jim Carlisle, who was called to be with his Lord on Saturday 12th September, 1987.
"A workman that needeth not to be ashamed ...." 2 Tim. 2:15


Minister: Rev. S. Barnes
Clerk of Session: Mr. David Williamson
Byrson Spratt
Maurice McCaugherty
Charles Poots

Eric Jess
James McCann
Cecil Cairns
Robert Hampton