THE MINISTRY OF THE
REV. WM. WARNOCK, B.A.
The next minister of the congregation was the Rev.
William Warnock, B.A. Mr. Warnock who was born and reared at
Greenshields, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James
Warnock and his paternal grandfather was "Master" Warnock who early in
the last century was the Headmaster of Ballymoney Model School. In early
years the Gospel made its call on William Warnock and he set his heart
on the ministry. He was educated at Ballymoney Intermediate School and
Queen's College, Belfast and graduated B.A. of the Royal University of
Ireland. He was enrolled in the Theological Hall in 1902 with first year
fellow students James Blair, James Buchanan, James A. Lyons and Wm.
James Moffett and was licensed by the Northern Presbytery on the 2nd May
1905. On 31st October 1905 Mr. Warnock was ordained in Killinchy where
he laboured for two and a half years and was called to Dromara and
installed on 11th March 1908. At the Installation Service the Rev. James
Blair, Ballyclare conducted opening devotional exercises, Rev. Torrens
Boyd, Newtownards preached from II Thessalonians 2 : 14, Rev. Prof. John
Lynd, Dublin Road gave an exposition and defence of Presbyterian
ordination, Rev. S. R. McNeilly, Clerk put the prescribed questions and
led in the installation prayer, Rev. William Dick, Cregagh Road
addressed the newly installed minister, the Rev. Prof. James Dick,
Trinity Street addressed the congregation and the Rev. Gawn Douglas,
Loughbrickland led in the closing exercises.
On Sabbath 4th October 1908 special services were
conducted by the Rev. John McC. Cromie, Kilraughts. Mr. Cromie also
delivered a lecture on the Monday evening entitled "The dawn of the
first Reformation in Scotland". The proceeds of the services went
towards the installation of a heating apparatus in the Church and the
sum raised amounted to over �50.
In 1909 the members of Session were Messrs. Robert
Gamble, James Skelly, Samuel Douglas, Josias A. Archer, Alexander
Macaulay, Wm. G. Hook and George Corry.
Mr. James Skelly, Senior Elder died at his home
Drumadoney on 23rd December 1910 in his 83rd year. An appropriate
Session minute declares "He took a deep interest in all the affairs of
the congregation even in old age and failing health. In all the
deliberations of the Session he displayed a true moral courage and he
was ever on the right side when questions concerning the spiritual
welfare of the people and the Glory and Honour of Christ were under
discussion. His wise counsel will not be soon forgotten". George Corry
In 1910 Mr. Warnock reported to the Session on "the
catch my pal Temperance Union" and on its plans and programme. The
Session decided to do all in its power to advance the cause of
temperance within the bounds of the congregation and those who were
being admitted to membership usually signed the pledge "I promise to
abstain from all intoxicating drinks as beverages".
At a Session meeting on 17th May 1912 the following
minute was passed on the death of Mr. George Corry "He gave unstinted
and willing service and as Clerk of Session and Secretary of Committee
he "wielded the pen of a ready writer". He was an unassuming Christian,
full of zeal for Christ's work, a wise counsellor full of tenderness and
forbearance. In home life he was a devoted husband, a loving father
successful in business and full of hospitality".
Mrs. Mary Boyd wife of the Rev. Torrens Boyd,
Newtownards who was born on 10th December 1833 at Tamlaght, Co.
Londonderry died in her eightieth year on 5th February 1913 and was
interred in the burying ground at Dromara.
It may be of interest to look at the list of seat
holders and stipend payers in the congregation 60 years ago and as they
are set out in the financial report for the year ending 31st March 1914.
Artana-James C. Somerville, Joseph
Somerville, Mrs. E. Harkins, James Wallace, Samuel Rodgers, James
Bawn, Mrs. James Gamble, Wm. Kearns.
Aughnaskeogh-George Magreehan, Robert
Kirk, John Rankin, John Bawn, Wm. J. Corbett, Mrs. Jones, James
McCracken, John Martin, Thomas Bickerstaff.
Begney and Crossgar-James Campbell, James
Gamble, Samuel Campbell, James Edgar, James Rodgers, Mrs. Woods,
James Woods, Mrs. Somerville, Henry Bell, Joseph Somerville, John H.
Gamble, Samuel J. Campbell.
Carnew and Fedney-John Hawthorne, Mrs.
Hawthorne, Robert Gamble, Robert McGregor, Miss McKeown, Joseph
Moydalgan-James Beck, John Wilson, W. J.
Martin, John McClelland.
Drumadoney-Thomas Kerr, Mrs. Nelson, John
Skelly, James Kerr, Francis McCutcheon, Samuel Moore.
Leapocks and Ballykeel-Robert Skelly,
Robert Martin, Mrs. Alexander, Mrs. Corry, John Hook, Thomas Gibson,
Alex. McCutcheon, John S. Martin.
Drumiller-John Scott, Mrs. Chambers, Mrs.
Hamilton, Adam Wilson, Samuel Kerr, Josiah Archer, John Bryson, Mrs.
Wilkinson, Samuel Fairley, John Morrison, Mrs. Hook.
Enogh-Joseph W. Adair, Miss S. Martin,
James Parker, Francis Rankin, Robert Gamble, Samuel Bickerstaff,
Gransha-John Bawn, John H. Graham, Samuel
Douglas, Hugh Kerr, John Graham, John Kennedy, Robert Rankin, Wm.
Scott, John Bell, Robert Douglas, Mrs. Craig, Thomas Achison, W. J.
Frazer, Thomas Craig, Miss Mary J. Scott, David Campbell, Joseph
Kinallen-Joseph Dickson, James Purdy, Wm.
Johnston, Miss McVeigh, Joseph Campbell, John Fulton, Samuel Doak,
Christopher Bingham, Samuel J. Gamble, John Elliott, James Rodgers,
Miss M. Corbett, Wm. Scott, John Gamble, Miss R. Fulton, Alex.
Moybrick-Robert Hamilton, John Hamilton,
John Edgar, Hugh Moore, Mrs. A. Gamble, James Moore, James H. McGarry, John Clokey, W. J. Hook, David Crothers, Mrs. A. J. Kerr,
Mulloughdrin-Samuel Mack, Jas. Ball, Patrick McMannus, Mrs. Ball.
Skeogh and Edentrillick-James Wilson, David
A. Davidson, Thomas Gamble, Wm. John Gamble.
Tullyniskey-Alex. Macauley, Miss Mills, Mrs.
Kearns, Moses Fulton, Thomas Grey, James Clinghan, Samuel Elliott.
Here is the general financial statement of the
congregation for the year ending 31st March 1914.
GENERAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT
FOR YEAR ENDING
31st MARCH, 1914
By Salary paid to
To Balance from last year
" Expenses of Soiree ...
" Proceeds from Soiree ...
" Repairs at Manse ...
" Sabbath Collections
" Sexton ...
|" Collection for
" Rates & Taxes
" Printing Reports ...
" Globes ...
" Balance ...
John Hook, Treasurer.
The members serving on the congregational Committee
for the year 1914 were Messrs. John Fulton, Robert McGregor, Joseph W.
Adair, Alex Hamilton, Samuel Mack, Wm. J. Edgar, W. J. Martin, Samuel J.
Campbell, James Ball, John Rankin, John Bell, James Gamble, Robert
Martin, Joseph Somerville, Robert Hamilton, John H. Graham, John Martin,
Thomas Grey, John Bawn, (Treasurer) - John Hook, (Secretary) - J. C.
On 15th May 1914 the following minutes were inserted
on the deaths of two more elders ... "Mr. Robert Gamble took a great
interest in the temporal and spiritual welfare of the congregation and
the Church as a whole. He was elected to the office of ruling elder at
the inception of the congregation in 1874 which office he filled with
faithfulness and loyalty. He was also appointed Clerk of Session and
leader of the congregational praise. A lover of music and the inspired
Psalms which were his constant comfort and joy even to the last hour, it
was with great regret he relinquished this office after almost forty
years ungrudging service, owing to declining strength".
"Mr. Samuel Douglas ruling elder died at Gransha on
4th April 1914 aged 77 years. He manifested a deep interest in the
welfare of the congregation from its inception. He was sincerely
attached to the Testimony of the Church and being possessed with
superior intelligence and unbending integrity he was ever ready to bear
uncompromising witness for the truth. It was chiefly through his
influence that the congregation of Dromara at the time of its seceding
from the Assembly attached itself to the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
He was warm hearted and full of Christian sympathy towards the members
of the congregation. In death he rested firmly on that which had been
his ground of hope in life - the everlasting covenant and the finished and
all sufficient work of the Divine Mediator. His latter end was peace."
As the number of ruling elders had been reduced to
the following two - Messrs. Alexander Macauley and Josiah A. Archer, the
Session took the usual procedure for an election of elders. On 19th
November 1915 Messrs. John Fulton, W. J. Hawthorne, John Rankin, John
Skelly and Samuel Mack were ordained to the office of eldership. Mr.
John Skelly was appointed Session Clerk.
During Mr. Warnock's ministry the attendances at the Lord's Table ranged
between 103 and 140 - the only exception being on Communion Sabbath 19th
November 1916 "when the weather being severe and much sickness in the
congregation, only 69 members were present at the Lord's Table". That
must have been the lowest attendance at the Lord's Table in the
congregation's hundred years history. Rev. R. J. Mcllmoyle, Dervock was
frequently preaching at Communion seasons during Mr. Warnock's ministry.
In 1917 the Committee decided that the old plaster on
the front side of the Manse be removed and replaced by a new finish of
cement and Dundrum sand. Mr. James Gamble (Finnis) was asked to do the
work at an estimated cost of �41 10s Od. The following agreed to draw
the sand from Ballynahinch : Messrs. Wm. Corry, W. J. Martin, Robert
Martin, J. Skelly, John Hook, S. Mack, W. Hook, James Ball, W. J.
Fulton, S. Campbell, Robert McGregor, James Beck, James Purdy, J. C.
Somerville, Joseph Somerville, J. H. Gamble.
The Committee unanimously agreed that the front of
the church gallery be closed up with the backs of the gallery seats. Mr.
John Wilson, Dromara was given the contract.
The need for a scullery at the Manse was discussed by
the Committee and it was agreed to proceed with this project and Mr.
James Gamble be given the work. The sexton John Wilson resigned in 1917.
The Committee acknowledged "the fidelity of the sexton in carrying out
his duties for 17 years, his devotion to duty according to ability, and
his unrivalled honesty of character". It was agreed that a presentation
be made to Mr. Wilson as a tangible expression of the high esteem in
which he was held by the members of the congregation. It was agreed that
Messrs. J. C. Somerville and W. J. Fulton should ask Samuel Rodgers,
Artana, to take up the work and duties of sexton, Mr. Somerville to
state in writing the duties of the office and the remuneration to be �4
Special re-opening services after the redecorating of
the Church were to be held on Sabbath, 4th January 1918 with Rev. T.
Boyd, Newtownards the preacher. These services had to be postponed owing
to severe frost damaging the Church boiler beyond repair and a new one
had to be fitted at the cost of �52 8s 2d. The services were held on the
3rd Sabbath in June when the offerings received amounted to �87 6s 6d.
Rules governing the use of the graveyard were revised
and printed for circulation in 1918.
The sexton's salary was increased in 1918 by �2 to �6
The following minute on the death of Alexander
Macaulay was passed at a Session meeting on 15th November 1918 "The
death of Mr. Alexander Macaulay took place in Belfast on 29th August
1918. The deceased gentleman identified himself with the congregation at
the period of its formation and joined the church on 13th July, 1874. He
was ordained to the office of ruling elder on the 3rd May, 1903. He
possessed a very winning gentle and loving disposition and was held in
high esteem by all who knew him. God had prospered him in temporal
things and he gave liberally to all the schemes of the Church especially
towards the support of the Church at Dromara. He gave unqualified
Christian loyalty and devotion to the different pastors of the
congregation who often received tokens of his Christian liberality and
The following arrangements of townlands were made for
the oversight of the elders-
Mulloughdrin, Begney and Dromara, Ballykeel and
Drumlough�Mr. Samuel Mack.
Drumadoney, Moydalgin, Leapocks, Drumiller and
Artana�Mr. John Skelly.
Aughnaskeogh, Skeogh and Tullyniskey�Mr. John
Carnew and Fedney, Enagh and Gransha�Mr. W. J.
Kinallen�Mr. John Fulton.
The Women's Missionary Association was organized in
the congregation on 24th July 1922 by Mrs. S. H. Kennedy on furlough
from Alexandretta, Syria. The first office bearers were : President - Mrs.
Wm. Warnock; Secretary - Miss Gamble, Dromara; Treasurer - Miss L. Rankin,
Tullyniskey. In planning W.M.A. meetings for the Autumn and Winter
months it was usually decided to hold these meetings when there was
In July 1923 the congregational committee agreed that
the stables required to be tarred and that in future the owners of
horses using the stables should bear this expense and also the upkeep of
them by contributing 2s Od each per annum. The bad condition of the
ground around the stables was also discussed by the committee and it was
decided that those who brought horses to the Church should bring
sometime a load of gravel each to improve the ground. Apparently it was
the Committee members themselves who attended to this improvement.
The congregation was visited by the Eastern
Presbytery on 7th August 1923 when the commissioners representing and
answering the prescribed questions were as follows-
Session-Messrs. Samuel Mack and John Skelly.
Committee-Messrs. Robert McGregor and W. J. Martin.
Congregation-Messrs. J. H. Graham and Wm. Corry.
A new congregational committee was elected and
appointed in March 1923 and consisted of Messrs. Joseph W. Adair, James
Ball, John Bawn, Wm. Cairns, David Cairns, Samuel J. Campbell, Wm.
Corry, John C. Corbett, Arthur Davison, Wm. J. Fulton, James G. Gamble,
John H. Graham, Thomas Grey, Alex. Hamilton, Robert Hamilton, John
Hooke, Wm. J. Martin, Samuel Moore, Robert McGregor, John McGregor, John
McGarry, Joseph Somerville, James C. Somerville, Samuel J. Skelly,
George Wilson, Adam Wilson.
Mr. Samuel J. Skelly was appointed Secretary and Mr.
Samuel Mack, Treasurer of the Congregation.
The Covenanter Young People's Society was organized
in the congregation in 1923 and throughout the years it has proved to be
a great blessing to many.
The Rev. Wm. Warnock, B.A. having served the
congregation for over 15 years accepted a call to Loanhead congregation
near Edinburgh, Scotland on 21st August 1923 and was installed there on
11th December 1923. Mr. Warnock remained in Loanhead for almost 6 years
and returned to Ireland and was installed minister of Milford
congregation, Co. Donegal on 28th November 1929 where he remained until
his death on 25th December 1943.
The following minute on the death of Mr. Warnock was
adopted at the 1944 Annual Meeting of Synod . . . "Mr. Warnock took a
keen interest in the work of Synod and rendered valuable service on
several of its most important Committees. His wise counsel, helpful
advice and brotherly spirit were highly appreciated by his brethren.
He had always the courage of his convictions and
could give a reason for the faith he held. As a preacher he was endowed
with outstanding gifts, and presented the message of the Gospel in an
interesting, searching and instructive manner. Mr. Warnock had a deep
love for the Church of the Covenants, upheld her worship and discipline
and ever sought her peace and prosperity and the glory of her Redeemer
Lord. He has fought a good fight, he has finished his course, he has
kept the faith, and we believe he has now received the crown that fadeth
not away". R. B. Lyons, J. W. Calderwood.
Mrs. Warnock whose maiden name was Mary Barker
predeceased her husband by almost three years and their graves are in
the corner of the graveyard in Milford across the road from the Manse.
Their family of three sons and two daughters-Robert A., William
Barker Carson; Thomas Archibald, Mary Violet and Eileen all pursued
successful careers and they and their families are held in high regard
and esteem in their respective congregations throughout the Church.
Robert A. (Bertie) who was an elder in Geelong congregation, Victoria,
Australia died there on 1st June 1972.
THE MINISTRY OF THE REV.
ALEXANDER GILMOUR, M.A.
At a congregational meeting held on Monday, 24th December 1923
presided over by the Rev. Torrens Boyd (Interim Moderator) it was
proposed by Mr. Robert McGregor seconded by Mr. John Fulton and
unanimously agreed that a call be issued to the Rev. Alexander Gilmour,
M.A., Trinity Street, Belfast. Messrs. John Hook and Robert McGregor
were appointed to represent the Committee and Messrs. Samuel Mack and W.
J. Hawthorne the Session at the quarterly meeting of the Presbytery to
be held on Tuesday, 5th February 1924 at Grosvenor Road, Belfast when
the call would be presented. Having accepted the call on that date the
Rev. Alexander Gilmour, M.A. was installed as Minister of Dromara on
Tuesday, 18th March 1924. The Rev. James A. Lyons, B.A., Dublin Road,
Belfast preached an eloquent and appropriate sermon on the words of I
Samuel 10 : 26. "Saul also went home to Gibeah : and there went with him
a band of men, whose hearts God had touched." The Rev. Ezekiel Teaz,
Larne gave an exposition and defence of Presbyterian ordination, Rev. S.
R. McNeilly, B.A., Bailiesmills as Clerk of Presbytery read the
narrative. Rev. Torrens Boyd, Newtownards, offered the installation
prayer and the charge to the newly installed minister was prepared by
the Rev. Prof. S. G. Kennedy, LL.D., Belfast but owing to his absence
because of illness the manuscript was read by Mr. William Dodds, B.A. a
licentiate. The charge to the congregation was given by the Rev. Torrens
Boyd who still retained a warm place in the affections of the members of
the congregation. In the course of his address he said "Show that you
are deeply interested in what your minister is saying. I can refer to
this matter with pleasure in your case. You are good hearers. I know
that from years of sweet experience. I am happy to think that your
pastor will so interest you that you will be obliged to give ear to what
he says . . .". Later in his address Mr. Boyd exhorted the congregation
"Hold up the hands of your minister by fervent prayer. It had a fine
effect in the case of Moses-when his hands were held up the people of
Israel prevailed against their enemies. Take your minister with you
regularly to the Throne of Grace. While you are seeking that he may get
an increase of power from this, you will be like those who handle sweet
perfumes, you will be made fragrant yourselves with the fragrance of the
Rose of Sharon ...". "Encourage your minister by taking an active part
with him in congregational work. Stand by him though it may mean time
and money. He will be obliged again and again to bring before you the
schemes of the Church. Let him not urge you in vain to do your duty.
Support your minister well. He was the minister of a congregation that
was one of the most liberal in the Church. His support was on the
increase year by year. It is to be the same here. The union today that
has been formed makes my heart glad" concluded Mr. Boyd who was visibly
moved. "I have long loved and prayed for you. I love your new minister.
May the God of Heaven smile upon you both. May the union that has been
formed here today be attended with the happiest results, with the view
to the salvation of souls and the glory of the Church's exalted Head and
The impressive service concluded with praise and the
offering of prayer by the Rev. A. Holmes, Ballyclare. Mr. W. J. Fulton
acted as precentor for the praise part of the service.
Afterwards luncheon was provided for members of the
Presbytery, visitors and friends. The following ladies were in charge of
the tablesMrs. C. Somerville, Mrs. J. Hawthorne, Mrs. J. Ball, Mrs.
Hugh Johnston, Mr. Wm. Cairns, Mrs. Wm. Somerville, Mrs. R. Martin, Mrs.
J. Hook, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. J. Bawn, Miss L. Rankin, Miss S. Corbett,
Miss A. Wallace, Miss Edgar, Miss A. Campbell, Miss E. Gamble.
Rev. Ezekiel Teaz, Larne, Moderator of Presbytery
presided when speeches of welcome and good wishes to Mr. and Mrs.
Gilmour were expressed by the following ... Mr. John Skelly (Session
Clerk), Rev. F. S. K. Jamison, B.A., minister of 1st Dromara
Presbyterian Church, Rev. S. G. McConnell, B.A., minister of 2nd Dromara
Church, Rev. James Armstrong, B.A., Rector of
Dromara, Rev. W. H. Pollock, B.A. (Southern Presbytery) and Mr. W.
Martin (Session Clerk) Trinity Street, Belfast, where Mr. Gilmour had
Mr. Gilmour in rising to speak was enthusiastically
received. He first of all acknowledged the Lord's goodness and guidance
in his life and ministry. He had been brought up in the Rathfriland
congregation, graduated from Glasgow University and studied at the
Theological Hall. Then it had been his privilege to have been ordained
at Drimbolg on 14th March 1911 to follow a line of very able and
honoured predecessors, one of whom, Rev. Hugh K. Mack, B.A. had been
brought up in Dromara. In the Providence of God he was called to Trinity
Street and installed there in 1917 where he had experienced nothing but
love for seven years. Mr. Gilmour said that some men had great troubles
during their ministry. For him somehow the rough placed had always been
made smooth and the mountains of difficulty had vanished and he thanked
God for all that. By the Grace of God and by the fervour of the people,
Mr. Gilmour said he would very humbly and with diffidence take up the
prophetic mantle that had been worn so long and worthily by such men as
Mr. Boyd (Applause). It was he said over 50 years since the formation of
the congregation and they were pleased to have with them that day its
first minister. (Applause). Mr. Gilmour said he believed that the
ministers who had toiled in Dromara had secret access to the Tree of
Life. He came to take up a great work and would require their sympathy
and forbearance and forgiveness and above all their prayers. The great
war had made changes but one thing still stood true and that was the
Everlasting Rock�the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mr. Gilmour said
that he hoped that in response to Mr. Lyons' invitation they would prove
themselves a band of men and women "whose hearts God had touched" and
that they would go forward with him in the work of the Lord.
A vote of thanks to the ladies for their excellent
hospitality was proposed by the Rev. A. Holmes, Ballyclare and this was
seconded by Mr. John Cairns, Belfast who had resided in the Dromara
district as a boy. Mr. Cairns in speaking adopted a reminiscent mood. It
was he said 43 years ago that his father and mother had left the
district and he was pleased to be back amongst so many friends. While he
missed many of the older people he congratulated the congregation on
having so many worthy sons of worthy fathers and mothers to carry on the
work in the congregation. He then recalled Mr. Boyd coming to minister
to them in Dromara and that he (Mr. Cairns) had helped to build the
wooden hall that Mr. Boyd first preached in, by handing up to William
Douglas the tacks that nailed the felt on the roof.
The vote of thanks was also supported by Mr. James
McCandless, Hillsborough and the Rev. James A. Lyons, B.A.
Mr. John Rankin died in 1924 and the following is a
summary of the Session minute ... "Session hereby places on record its
deep sorrow on the occasion of the death of our brother, Mr. John Rankin
: is keenly sensible of the loss which this Court and our whole
Congregation have thereby sustained; is comforted by the assurance that
our present impoverishment is his glorious gain. Session cannot soon
forget all that our late brother was graciously enabled to be and do.
His life was gentle; his speech grave and courteous; his whole conduct
exemplary. He was vitally interested in the well-being of our Church and
in the advancement of Christ's cause everywhere. Where there was
sickness or sorrow Mr. Rankin was near to sympathise and assist. From
the sanctuary on Sabbath days he was seldom absent. Meetings of Session
he attended with utmost regularity and punctuality; and when occasion
demanded he spoke with a zeal and wisdom and loving faithfulness that
greatly refreshed his brethren. To the God of all consolation we commend
his widow and family who remain to mourn. We pray that in their hour of
trial they may be mightily sustained by the Everlasting Arms.'
The Rev. Torrens Boyd, Newtownards died on Tuesday,
19th May 1925�two days after conducting Communion services. The Rev.
James A. Lyons, B.A., Dublin Road, Belfast in paying tribute to Mr. Boyd
at the funeral service in Dromara on 21st May declared
- We meet today in the shadow of a great sorrow and with
a deep sense of a great loss. The passing of any man who has publicly
served the cause of God for nearly 60 years ought to make a serious
impression on all; but when we consider the specially faithful,
honourable, and distinguished services of our departed father-whose
familiar figure now lies still and cold in this casket�we must all admit
how utterly impossible it is to express our admiration and gratitude;
admiration for the noble Christian character of the man, and gratitude
to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Head of the Church, for raising him
up and using him so long and so graciously for the advancement of His
Kingdom on earth. Only a few things can be said on this occasion.
Rev. T. Boyd was born 87 years ago, within the bounds
of Drimbolg congregation, Kilrea. He came under the powerful influence
of the Holy Spirit during the '59 revival. He showed a special interest
in cottage meetings in the district, and began to use his gifts as
opportunity was given. Soon he decided to study for the Gospel ministry
of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Endowed with remarkable physical
strength, with a clear deep-toned voice, and with a heart and mind aglow
with love for his Saviour, "our Divine Redeemer", "the Lovely Jesus", of
Whom he spoke with much sanctified feeling, he consecrated himself
wholly to His service. Ordained in 1868, he served our Church in
Scotland, England and Ireland, at Penpont, Ringrash, Dromara, Liverpool,
Knockbracken, Dromara (2nd period) and Newtownards. Thus for 57 years he
has been an ambassador for Christ. "Having put his hand to the plough,
he never looked back".
He was a man of a most genial, kindly and loving
disposition, who made hosts of friends in all these congregations and
their surrounding districts. But we believe his special life-work was
done in Dromara; and in the adjoining burying-ground we lay his body to
rest this afternoon. It is fitting, my brethren. This house of worship
and the manse property we passed in the village are monuments of his
untiring zeal. He gave most unsparingly of hand and heart and head to
the Lord's work and the Lord's people. You all loved him, and you ever
welcomed him and honoured him for his work's sake and his high Christian
character. But lately (this day week) he stood by an open grave outside
these walls and led the sorrowing friends in prayer, as he could do so
tenderly and sympathetically, to a throne of grace. He enjoyed the
services of the sanctuary to the full; you have seen him as he prayed
and sang in this pulpit. He was always so very happy in his preaching.
Throughout the congregations of our church he was well known for his
special delight in conducting evangelistic services, while he seemed to
receive a wonderful unction of the Holy Spirit at our solemn Communion
seasons. He rejoiced in the setting forth of the full, free and glorious
message of the grace of God at all times, and sought to come before the
people, after most careful preparation of his subjects, in the fullness
of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. He could say, as few of us dare
say : "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ." And many of us, younger men, were put to shame by his
earnest desire for the salvation of souls and constant prayerfulness of
spirit that those who heard the word might be eternally blessed. A man
of peace, brotherly love, and hearty fellowship, he was a great help in
all our church courts. How we shall miss him! He gladly took his full
share of work; and indeed often submitted to the pressure of his
brethren to do more than his share. For he loved our church, our
ministers, and our people. Who can estimate what he has accomplished
over the long years? The difficulties met, the toils undertaken, the
disappointments borne, the sorrows carried, the good deeds performed,
the loving words spoken, and the faithful messages delivered? He was a
true and tried servant of the people, a saint of the Covenant, the old
lion-hearted warrior of the church.
He died as he wished-in the midst of abundant
labours. After leading his own people at Newtownards to the Hill of
Communion, and about to set out to conduct Communion Services at
Cullybackey, the Master called him up higher. Surely we ought to rejoice
with him; rejoice while we sorrow. "Absent from the body, present with
the Lord." "To die is gain" for him. His the great and blessed assurance
that he would meet and know the loved ones, the wife and children, and
many many dear friends lost awhile during past years, before the Throne,
"washed and made white in the Blood of the Lamb'.
So while we sorrow with you, and especially with the
son and daughter-in-law (who have lived with him during the past years
in Newtownards), we would commend you all to the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and say - "Whose faith follow, considering the end of their
conversation, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever".
Hebrews 13 : 7-8.
Certainly some of us will not soon forget the thrill
that went through our hearts at our last public Conference in Belfast,
when he nobly declared "If I had ten lives to live I would gladly spend
them all in the proclamation of the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus,
my God and Saviour, and in the ministry of the Church of the Covenants.
There is no grander work on earth than to tell the story of redeeming
love to poor guilty sinners."
"How beautiful it is for man to die
Upon the walls of Zion.
To be called Like a watch-worn and weary sentinel-
To put his armour off and enter Heaven."
For into the Royal Presence he has passed, the guest of
God. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Until we meet at His right handbeloved, farewell!
Wm. John Corbett, Aughnaskeogh died as a result of an
accident on Saturday, 18th July, 1925. James Gamble, member of Committee
and for several years congregational precentor died on 19th February,
The sexton's salary was raised in 1926 from �6 to �8
On Sabbath 4th June, 1926 special services were
conducted by the Rev. R. J. Mcllmoyle, Dervock and special collections
were taken up on behalf of the Renovation Scheme-the gallery of the
church having been transferred into the present lecture hall. The
contract was carried out by Mr. James Bryson, Drumadoney, Dromara. At
these services the attendance on the part of the congregation and of the
general public was particularly gratifying and members attended from
Belfast, Knockbracken and Killinchy and more than 50 members from
Newtownards congregation. The offerings realised �130 and this enabled
the congregation to be free of all debt. On that memorable day the mural
tablet erected on the inside wall in the vestibule by the congregation
of Dromara and Newtownards to the memory of the late Rev. Torrens Boyd
was unveiled by his daughter-in-law Mrs. William Boyd, Newtownards. The
inscription on the memorial tablet reads as follows "Erected by the
congregation of Dromara and Newtownards to the memory of the Rev.
Torrens Boyd, minister of the Gospel in the R.P. Church during the years
1867-1925. Born in 1838, he was installed in Penpont 1867, in Ringrash
1873, in Dromara as its first pastor 1875, in Liverpool 1890, in
Knockbracken 1893, again in Dromara 1898 and in Newtownards 1907.
Interred in Dromara 21st May 1925, a wise pastor, a true friend, a
faithful and forceful preacher of the everlasting Gospel.
"SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE"
In 1927 Miss M. Gamble, Dromara presented 14 chairs
for the choir in memory of her late brother James Gamble who had been
precentor for over 20 years. The Committee most heartily thanked Miss
Gamble for her generosity.
In January 1928 a new congregational Committee was
elected as follows:�James Ball, Thomas J. Beck, John Bond, Samuel J.
Campbell, Wm. Cairns, Wm. Corry, David Cairns, Wm. Corbett, Arthur W.
Davidson, Wm. Jas. Edgar, Wm. John Fulton, John H. Graham, Alexander
Hamilton, Wm. G. Hook, James Hook, Wm. James Martin, Samuel J. Moore,
John McGarry, Robert McGregor, John McGregor, Samuel J. Skelly, James C.
Somerville, Joseph Somerville (Jun.), William Somerville, Joseph
Somerville (Sen.), Alfred Wallace, Adam Wilson, George Wilson. Mr.
Samuel Mack was appointed Treasurer and Mr. S. J. Skelly, Secretary.
In 1928 the Committee unanimously agreed that an
annual congregational meeting be held to present and adopt the
On 16th October 1928 the Committee of the Irish
Mission of the Synod interviewed Mr. Thomas J. Beck and accepted him as
a colporteur. After a period of study under the supervision of Mr.
Gilmour and two months of colportage work with Mr. H. W. Stewart in and
around Newry, Mr. Beck commenced work in Dublin on 12th April 1929.
The death of Mr. John Fulton occurred on 20th July
1929 in his 87th year and the following minute was adopted by the
Session ... "In the death of Mr. John Fulton the congregation has lost
one of its oldest and most highly esteemed members. Genial and kind in
disposition, upright and honourable in all his ways, a lover of peace
and loyal to truth, he was respected and beloved by all who knew him. A
man of simple childlike faith, he met life's duties and trials in the
spirit of prayer and as a result, spent his last days on the Delectable
Mountains and in the land of Beulah.
Whilst active and energetic in the business of the
market and farm, Mr. Fulton gave unstintedly of time and strength to the
work of the congregation. He was through all those stirring times that
witnessed the birth of the Covenanting Congregation of Dromara and the
enthusiasm of those great days of 1874 he retained right on to the end.
For many years he served in the congregational choir. During the evening
of his life he lovingly and efficiently carried on as a ruling elder in
the congregation. His end was a great triumph. He was sorry to leave
those whom he loved, yet for months he ardently longed "to depart and to
be with Christ".
A week of evangelistic services were held from 16th
until 21st February 1930. The preachers were Rev. Prof. T. B. McFarlane,
BA., Newry, Rev. S. R. Archer, B.A., Creevagh, Rev. Wm. McCullough,
B.A., Drimbolg, Rev. Ezekiel Teaz, Larne and the Rev. R. Nevin Lyons,
Grosvenor Road, Belfast.
In 1930 the congregational committee decided to meet
every quarter on 3rd Monday of February, May, August and November and as
often as occasion may require between these dates.
In 1931 the Rev. H. K. Mack, B.A. minister of Geelong
congregation, Victoria, Australia returned to Ireland after an absence
of 22 years. The congregational committee arranged for a social meeting
to be held on 7th October 1931 when Mr. Mack was welcomed. Apparently
this was the only visit which Mr. Mack made to the homeland during his
ministry of 37 years in Geelong.
At the Communion Thanksgiving service on Monday, 21st
May 1934 Rev. Prof. Wm. Russell, M.A. was the preacher and his daughter
Miss Muriel Russell, M.A., missionary at Alexandretta addressed the
audience and told of the work in which she and the other missionaries
On Sabbath 30th September 1934 special Re-opening
Services after the redecorating of the Church were held when the Rev. R.
N. Lyons, Grosvenor Road, Belfast was the preacher. The offerings
realized over �111.
At the congregational social held on Friday, 21st
February 1936 the Rev. and Mrs. Gilmour were presented with a beautiful
De Luxe Motor Car from the members of the congregation and also from the
friends at the Brewery Lane, Dromore. Prior to the presentation Mr.
Gilmour acted as Chairman and musical items were rendered by the choir;
a quintet by Messrs. S. Black, S. J. Skelly, Robert Beck, S. Kerr and S.
Andrews; a quartet by Miss E. Gamble, Miss Lily Wilson, Messrs. W.
Somerville and S. Black; duets by Miss Gamble and Miss Wilson; Miss Vera
Hunter and Miss Evelyn Wilson; dialogues by Miss Maggie Jones and Miss
May Ball; solos by Miss Winnie Kane, Samuel Lytle, son of the Rev. Wm.
and Mrs. Lytle, Antioch, Syria sang Ps. 23 in Arabic and he himself was
clothed in Syrian costume.
After the programme the chairman was requested to
vacate the chair and Rev. Prof. T. B. McFarlane, B.A. was asked to
preside and he asked Mr. and Mrs. Gilmour to come forward, also Samuel
J. Skelly (Secretary) and Mr. Hugh Johnston (Treasurer of the Brewery
Lane, Dromore). Mr. Skelly read the presentation address and Mr.
Johnston handed over to Mr. Gilmour the keys of a new Morris Eight De
Luxe Motor "as a gift from the Dromara and Dromore congregations:" In
the course of his address Mr. Skelly said that the Rev. and Mrs. Gilmour
held a high place in the esteem and affection of both congregations. For
almost 12 years Mr. Gilmour had been their pastor and they wished to
avail themselves of the occasion to express their indebtedness to him
for his edifying and comforting ministrations which had endeared him to
all the members and adherents. "We thank God" Mr. Skelly continued "that
in you we have a minister who is sound in the faith, a diligent student
of the written word, a reliable teacher, and one who in our times of
sorrow and burden-bearing has always been ready to sympathize with and
help us. In your faithful shepherding of us you have not spared yourself
and we pray that our gracious Lord may shepherd you and your dear wife
and children all your days. May He gird you with strength and make your
Rev. Mr. Gilmour in returning thanks said he was
completely embarrassed by their large-hearted and costly gift, of which
he felt wholly unworthy. The presentation was just typical of the
generosity which had characterised the congregation during all the years
of his ministry amongst them. The relationship which existed between
himself and the Session and Committee, Sabbath School teachers,
congregation and the neighbourhood generally had always been of the most
harmonious nature and had not been marred by a single unpleasant
incident. During these years he had received nothing but kindness from
the people who seemed to do all in their power to make their minister's
sojourn amongst them a time of blessing and joy to both him and
themselves. He hoped that these good relationships would remain during
the years to come and he prayed that the blessing of their Heavenly
Father might be richly experienced by them all (Applause).
Complimentary speeches were delivered by Rev. Prof.
McFarlane, B.A., Rev. Wm. Dodds, B.A., Ballenon and Ballylane, Rev. R.
N. Lyons, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, Rev. J. A. Lyons, B.A., Dublin Road,
Belfast, Rev. Charles McCurdy, B.A., 2nd Dromara Presbyterian Church and
the Rev. F. S. K. Jamison, B.A., 1st Dromara Presbyterian Church.
A vote of thanks to the ladies who had provided and
served supper and to all who had contributed to the programme was
proposed by Mr. H. W. Stewart, Newry, seconded by Mr. George Archer,
Knockbracken. Subsequent to the meeting the congregational treasurer Mr.
Samuel Mack called on Mrs. Gilmour at the Manse and handed to her the
surplus of the proceeds which had been subscribed towards the motor
presentation. The new car was supplied by Mr. Samuel Ferguson, Dromore
Street, Ballynahinch and Dromara.
In 1938 the congregation was well represented at the Convention and
commemorations in Scotland of the Tercentenary of the National Covenant
of Scotland. Rev. A. Gilmour dealt with the subject "The main principles
for which the three R.P. Churches stand" and spoke on our recognition of
Christ's supreme authority over the nation, the supreme and exclusive
Headship of Christ over the Church and the enthronement of Christ in the
In 1940 the Congregational Committee decided to sink
the well at the back of the Manse a few feet deeper as it went dry every
Summer. Messrs. Thomas McDowell and S. McClurg agreed to do the job and
their estimated charge was �1 per foot. The well was sunk seven feet
more and an adequate water supply resulted.
In 1940 the old stables at the Church were badly
destroyed by wind and the congregational committee decided to try and
dispose of them by advertising them.
Mr. Samuel Rodgers, Artana, the sexton of the Church
died on the 2nd March, 1941 and his wife four months later on 9th July
1941. Prior to his death, his son James had at different times carried
out the duties of sexton. Mrs. Margaret B. Wallace succeeded her father
as caretaker of the Church in 1941 and held this office most diligently
and efficiently for 24 years until failing health made it impossible for
her to continue. She died on Sabbath, 21st May 1972 in her eighty-first
year and is survived by two sisters and two brothers; one of whom-James
and his wife Marion are the present efficient caretakers.
On Sabbath 12th October 1941 the following were
ordained to the eldership-Messrs. Robert Baillie Bell, Arthur Wm.
Davison, Samuel James Skelly, Joseph Somerville and Alfred Wallace. The
other elders then were Messrs. W. J. Hawthorne, Samuel Mack and John
At the May Communion season in 1941 Mr. Gilmour was
assisted by Mr. Thomas W. Ball, B.A.
On 13th May 1941 Mr. Ball was licensed by the Eastern
Presbytery and was also the same evening ordained to the work of the
ministry and appointed to labour in Liverpool for at least six months.
In the 1942 Eastern Presbytery Report to Synod it is stated, "The
congregation of Liverpool has asked that the services of the Rev. T. W.
Ball, B.A. be continued for another year. Presbytery appointed a
Committee to confer with Mr. Ball as to the position and prospects of
On 25th October 1942 a unanimous call was issued by
Larne congregation in favour of the Rev. T. W. Ball, B.A. and this call
being accepted he was inducted to the pastorate of Larne congregation on
29th December, 1942. At a meeting of the Eastern Presbytery held on 2nd
May 1944 Rev. T. W. Ball, B.A. resigned the pastorate of Larne
congregation and withdrew from the jurisdiction of the Reformed
It is recorded in the Session minutes that for the
November 1941 Communion that Mrs. Robert Beck had presented a most
beautiful cloth for the Communion Table together with appropriate
napkins. The gift was received with much appreciation and Mrs. Beck was
most cordially thanked.
On Friday, 14th May 1943 Session inserted an
appropriate minute on the death of Mr. Wm. John Hawthorne and which
reads as follows : "In the unexpected death of Mr. Wm. John Hawthorne
(13th December, 1942) after a very brief illness the Dromara
congregation has suffered a sore and well-nigh irreparable loss. Elected
a member of Session more than twenty-seven years ago Mr. Hawthorne by
his exemplary walk and conversation abundantly justified the people's
choice : all who knew him looked up to him as a faithful man of God, a
winsome witness of Christ, a convinced and zealous son of the Covenant.
Intellectually, Mr. Hawthorne stood far above the common; but his
Christian integrity was even more impressive than his intellect, he had
been with Jesus and none was so blind as to doubt it. Mr. Hawthorne was
greatly esteemed and trusted by all his brethren in the Session, his
presence and prayer there on Sabbath mornings humbled and exalted,
searched and strengthened the preacher of the day. He evidently
appreciated "the gates of Zion" for he came miles every Sabbath, wet or
dry, that he might enter therein. More than six months ago Mr.
Hawthorne, contemplating the possibility of an early demise had
transferred three hundred pounds in War Loan 34% for the benefit of our
congregation. "He being dead yet speaketh" . . . To his two sisters we
offer respectful sympathy and pray that He who in the days of His flesh
brought cheer to the sad home at Bethany, may now from His place on High
send to their home that sweet consolation which never failed".
Session heartily thanked Miss May L. Dunlop, Belfast
for her presentation to the congregation of an exceedingly beautiful
solid silver baptismal bowl. This presentation was made by Miss Dunlop
on Sabbath, 19th March 1944 during the morning service.
Special services were conducted on Sabbath, 3rd
December 1944 by the Rev. S. W. Lynas, B.A., Cullybackey. The offerings
and subscriptions realised over �190 leaving the congregation clear of
debt incurred through extensive renovations to the church and manse.
Rev. Alexander Gilmour's academic qualifications were
well recognised by the Synod in 1945 when after the resignation of Rev.
Prof. John Ramsey, LL.B., Mr. Gilmour was appointed lecturer in Old
Testament Language and Literature in the Reformed Presbyterian
Theological Hall, Belfast. He held this appointment for 15 years.
The members and friends of the congregation met in
the lecture hall on Wednesday, 17th July 1946 to do honour to Miss
Minnie R. Bell who was soon to leave as a missionary to Syria. There was
a presentation made to Miss Bell of an Interlinear Authorized and
Revised Bible, a travelling suitcase, a fountain pen and a very
substantial roll of bank notes. Miss Bell feelingly replied. She said
she had felt called to devote herself to mission work at the
Tercentenary Convention in Scotland in 1938. In November of that year
she had commenced a period of training which consisted of 44 years of
nursing and a 2 year course of Bible study and general missionary
training in the Belfast Bible School and Missionary Training Home. At
the farewell meeting in Dromara the Rev. James Blair, Kilraughts
representing the Foreign Mission Board wished Miss Bell God speed and in
this was joined by the Rev. Wm. and Mrs. Lytle who were on furlough.
Mrs. Samuel Kerr a returned Indian missionary with 34 years of service
to her credit also addressed the audience and expressed good wishes to
Afterwards, other presentations were made - a
fountain pen to Mr. Lytle and several items of wearing apparel to Mrs.
Lytle. Rev. S. R. Archer, B.A., Rathfriland concluded the service with
prayer and the Benediction.
On 24th July 1947 the marriage took place of Mr.
Arthur Jones, Medical practitioner, Swansea, Wales to Miss Anna
Elizabeth Gilmour, Medical practitioner, only daughter of the Rev. A.
and Mrs. Gilmour.
For the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Mr.
Gilmour's installation in Dromara a social meeting was held on 18th
March 1949. Rev. Adam Loughridge, B.A., Newtownards acted as chairman.
Electricity having been installed in the church it was switched on for
the first time by Mr. Gilmour. After tea had been served, the programme
commenced and it included the honouring of Mr. and Mrs. Gilmour by a
presentation. Mr. Wm. Somerville (Treasurer) read the presentation
address and the presentation itself consisted of two arm chairs to Mrs.
Gilmour from the congregation and a travelling case from the Dromore
preaching station and a wallet of bank notes was handed to Mr. Gilmour
by the Senior Elder, Mr. John Skelly who was in his 93rd year.
Speeches of congratulations were made by Rev. Prof.
John Mcllmoyle, M.A., Dublin Road, Belfast, Rev. R. N. Lyons, Grosvenor
Road, Belfast, Rev. Wm. Dodds, B.A., Ballenon and Ballylane, Co. Armagh,
Rev. Prof. T. B. McFarlane, B.A., Newry, Rev. S. R. Archer, B.A.,
Rathfriland and also the local ministers Rev. J. Whyte, M.A., 2nd
Dromara Presbyterian Church and the Rev. S. S. Squires, M.A., Rector,
Church of Ireland, also Messrs. H. W. Stewart (colporteur) and David
Archer. The vote of thanks to the ladies and all who had helped in the
programme was proposed by Mr. S. Kerr, Missionary, seconded by Mr. T. J.
Mr. John Skelly, Senior Elder and Session Clerk died
on 3rd September 1950 and his son Mr. Samuel James Skelly was appointed
to the vacant office of Session Clerk on the 17th November 1950.
The following minute was submitted by Mr. Gilmour and
adopted. "Session puts on record its deep sense of loss sustained by the
death of our well beloved brother in Christ - Mr. John Skelly. Throughout
his long life of 94 years Mr. Skelly impressed all who knew him as a man
of high Christian character, deep devotion to the cause of Christ,
unbendingly loyal in all circumstances. Mr. Skelly was a man of thought,
had read widely and effectively in Holy Scripture and in the great books
which throw light on Scripture and his daily walk and conversation, in
which prayer bore a chief part gave striking evidence of his grasp of
evangelical truth and his deep and ever growing intimacy with the secret
place of the Lord. Mr. Skelly was dearly beloved in his own home, in our
congregation, in our Session where his presence was a never failing
benediction, and throughout our whole community. The late Mr. Skelly was
one of the original members of our congregation, having previously as a
youth worshipped in First Dromara and sang in the choir there. He early
gave of his musical talent in the choir of our own congregation. On
November, 19th, 1915, Mr. Skelly was ordained to the eldership of this
congregation and on the same day by the unanimous choice of his
brethren, was made Clerk of Session. No man ever discharged his duties
more faithfully or more acceptably.
The young people coming before Session from time to
time instinctively trusted him and loved him; his brethren gave him a
special place: and no minister ever had a more steadfast friend: his
counsel and his home were ever sought by those in need. Mr. Skelly for
more than 20 years mourned as a Christian a loving help-meet who had
meant so much to him. We commend his dear ones in the old home to the
gracious Saviour whose covenant mercies extend to children and
children's children ...".
The death of Mr. Samuel Mack took place on 21st
November 1950 and the following minute was submitted by Mr. Gilmour and
adopted by the Session. "Session puts on record its deep sense of loss
and sorrow in the passing of our well beloved brother Mr. Samuel Mack, a
ruling elder in the congregation for 35 years. Mr. Mack, himself the son
of a former elder in the congregation was for many years an outstanding
figure in this church of his early adoption: even right to the end his
interest knew no abatement. A man of commanding intellect, of unusual
grasp and shrewdness in the management of affairs, with a heart beating
in lovely and perfect unison with the will of God as manifested in Holy
Scripture and revealed in the happenings of the passing day, Mr. Mack
was unique in the service he was permitted to render the cause of God in
our congregation. He had the heart and outlook of the ancient Puritans
and Covenanters: no sacrifice would have been too hard or painful to
daunt him if duty pointed that way: his unwritten motto was "Whatsoever
He saith unto you, do it." Mr. Mack for many years discharged the
onerous duties of Treasurer in the congregation retiring only a few
years ago when heart and flesh had begun greatly to fail and to carry on
further was an impossibility. He was most careful and efficient in his
handling of financial matters and exemplary in his Christian tact and
courtesy towards all. Never was he behind time in the settlement of
accounts. For years he was agent for "The Covenanter", "R.P. Witness"
and "The Bulwark" in the congregation. Mr. Mack was a man of prayer and
of the Word. He knew his Bible from cover to cover and loved what he
knew and he practised daily what he loved. He had been, like the
Psalmist, in the dark valley of the Shadow and could enter deeply and
fully into our Lord's dark hours at Calvary but always he was sure, in
the end, to see God's grace victorious over sin and to feel underneath
the Everlasting Arms. He was never known to fail his Lord or his Lord's
Mr. Mack was greatly blessed in the woman of his
choice-Mrs. Mack, who predeceased him by a few years. Together they
prayed and planned and toiled in the interests of our Saviour's Kingdom
everywhere-especially concerning the work and witness of the Church of
the Covenants and the congregation of Dromara. Time after time they gave
in a princely manner of their substance to the funds of our
congregation: and in his last will and testament Mr. Mack crowned a life
of liberality by the munificent bequest of �3,000 to the same. His last
days were tranquil: if bodily weakness abounded, peace and assurance
superabounded and like Bunyan's Mr. Steadfast, he had no fear as he
entered the river" .. .
In 1950-1951 much renovation work was done to the
Church and Manse. The Manse roof was renewed, considerable alterations
done inside and all redecorated. The church ceiling was lowered by over
four feet and other repairs carried out included the closing of the
lecture hall at the top of each stairway by doors and the redecoration
of th</center>e Church and lecture hall, vestibule and Session room.
Special services were held on Sabbath, 16th December
1951 when the preacher was the Rev. Prof. T. B. McFarlane, B.A., Newry.
Large attendances at both services united with solemn interest and
rapture on the preaching of the Word and as "the Covenanter" report of
the services state "Many worshippers from far and near testified that
never before had they heard the truth expounded and applied with such
beauty and power. The collections taken up exceeded the most sanguine
expectations, a sum of well over �400 being realized. This will go some
length towards diminishing the heavy debt incurred through extensive
renovations to the church, the lecture hall and session room and the
rest of the property. The congregation is to be commended as a little
more than a year ago it contributed about �1,000 towards renovating the
At the November 1951 Communion, use was made for the
first time of the individual communion cups. This set was given as a
gift from a worthy member of the congregation whose wish it was to
Rev. Alexander Gilmour, M.A. was minister of the
congregation for more than 28 years. Having served the congregation
longer than any of his three ministerial predecessors (even adding
together Mr. Boyd's two ministries in Dromara), Mr. Gilmour accepted a
call to Newtownards congregation on Tuesday, 27th May 1952 and was
installed in Newtownards on Thursday, 3rd July 1952.