It is my privilege to be associated with the work
here in Dromore particularly in this special anniversary year and it
gives me the utmost pleasure to be involved in the compiling of this
25th Anniversary Booklet.
A special word of thanks is due to those who
helped with this Anniversary Booklet. Mr Robert Skelton, a founding
member of the congregation and Elder, has over the years gathered
much of the information contained in 'the booklet. If it was not for
his record many of the details of the development of the witness
would have been lost in history. Thanks is due also to Mr David
Scott, the Church Secretary, who has in recent years gathered and
arranged the information in order. This has greatly assisted in
A word of thanks to my wife, Heather, for the
many hours spent in typing the booklet. Appreciation also is due to
Mrs Diane Haffey, Principal of Portadown Independent Christian
School and member of the congregation, who took time to proof read
the final draft.
Many others have helped in the completion of this
brief history and to all we would express our thanks. Above all we
would express our gratitude and praise to Almighty God for His
gracious hand upon the work over the past 25 years.
Samuel Morse who was born in 1791 and died in
1872 is remembered for his invention of the Telegraph and the Morse
Code which is named after him. Morse, who was a Christian devoted
his work to the glory of God. He described his work as, `the work of
God.' When the first official telegraph message was ready to be
sent, amazed by what he had achieved with the help of the Lord, he
chose for his message a text from Numbers Chapter 23 verse 23. The
words transmitted were, "What hath God wrought!"
In reviewing the history of the work of God in
Dromore I was reminded of those words in Numbers and felt they well
describe our amazement at what God has accomplished in Dromore,
therefore they stand as the Title of this History.
Join with us as we lift our Ebenezer unto the Lord
and say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
am pleased to write the foreword for this commemorative history.
As one who has watched the work grow from its
earliest beginnings, when the numbers were small, until now when the
congregation has flourished and a commodious new building stands on
site, I am encouraged by what the Lord has done. The Lord has added
to the Church and He has strengthened the hands of His people.
My own association with Dromore began with a Tent
Mission I was asked to conduct long before any regular meetings were
commenced under the Free Presbyterian banner. We started on the
Barban Hill on 10th August 1969. That mission pointed the way to the
other meetings which followed and through which the Church
eventually came into existence.
Attendance was consistently at a high level
throughout the mission and interest so maintained that the brethren
suggested the meetings continue, for they could see already the
promise of a new work. The tent meetings continued through five
weeks in total as a result of that request. Special subjects were
dealt with every week.
Now with 25 years behind them the congregation
can lift their eyes to the future and press on to higher things.
I heartily offer the congratulations of
Presbytery to them as this milestone in their history is attained.
May the Lord richly bless Rev. Ian Kenny, the
office-bearers, members and friends in the Dromore congregation as
they seek to carry the standard for the Lord on the Banbridge Road.
JOHN DOUGLAS Clerk of Presbytery
The town of Dromore
Dromore is located in the beautiful Lagan Valley
just seven miles from Banbridge. In ancient times the name of the
place was Drum-Mor which signifies, `a great ridge.' It alludes to
the town's position as it is situated below a ridge shaped hill.
The town itself is steeped in history with many
features from the past still in place such as: the Town Hall, the
Cathedral, the Motte, the Castle, the Stocks and many other
historical sites. King Billy was even known to have stopped off in
the town on his way to the Boyne. A plaque has been erected on the
Hillsborough Road by the local Council to mark the visit. The most
familiar landmark to outsiders would be the seven-arched Viaduct.
This viaduct was built to carry the Great Northern Railway line on
its way to Banbridge and is visible from the main road passing
In 1831 the town consisted of five principal
streets, a square, 396 houses and two bridges crossing the River
Lagan, one of which was called `Regent Bridge', built in 1811. This
bridge carried all the north-south traffic until the 1970's. Due to
the position of Dromore being on the main route from Belfast to
Dublin, it profited in the past from through traffic. However, this
has since diminished, with the road being upgraded and even more so
today with the Al Dual Carriageway most traffic bypasses the town.
The history of the town shows it to have
prospered with the textile and linen industry playing a major part.
Farming was also a key factor in the development of the town. The
weekly market proved to be a busy place with crowds coming for their
provisions every Saturday. The stalls were laden down with all sorts
of farm supplies, linen and cloth.
Statistics show that in 1881 the town had a
population of 2491. In recent years though the face of the town has
been changed radically with new housing developments springing up at
every available site. This has caused the population to rise
dramatically with more than three times that figure living in and
around the town today. The influx of new residents and the good road
network in the area have combined to make Dromore a very popular
commuting town with easy access to Banbridge, Lisburn and even
The growth and expansion of the town has provided
a great mission field on our doorstep and while the church has known
the Lord's blessing the need to reach out is ever before us.
The first ever trace of a Free Presbyterian
witness in Dromore was a Gospel Mission conducted by Dr John Douglas
who was then the minister of Moneyslane Free Presbyterian Church.
This Mission which lasted five weeks took place in a field on Barban
Hill in August 1969. No doubt this mission was used to prepare the
ground for what was to follow.
Some years later, in the month of May 1975, an
outreach work commenced in the town under the auspices of Banbridge
Free Presbyterian Church. This was the result of a very successful
Gospel Mission conducted by Rev Fred Buick, who ministered in
Banbridge at that time. As the mission closed the Lord burdened the
heart of the local believers to continue the witness. Suitable
premises were sought in which to hold the meetings and in answer to
prayer the British Legion Hall in Princess Street was made
available. It was to be the home of the fledgling congregation for
some four years and three months. So on the Lord's Day 6th July 1975
at 3.30 pm the Free Presbyterian witness in Dromore was founded.
The afternoon meetings continued for a full year,
along with the prayer meeting every Tuesday night. On 1st August
1976 the first real signs of progress became evident when the step
was taken to conduct a morning and evening service. Also on this
date the Presbytery placed a student minister, Mr Tim Donaghy into
the work. Mr Donaghy remained as a Student Minister for a period of
September again revealed signs of growth with a
Sabbath School commencing. Then on 2nd July 1977 the work was
further consolidated with it being constituted by the Presbytery as
a Free Presbyterian Church. On the same occasion the Reverend Alan
Smylie was placed in the church by the Presbytery as a student
minister. Mr Smylie remained with the congregation for a year and
nine months before accepting a call to be the minister of Coragarry
Free Presbyterian Church in County Monaghan.
The work was now well established but a twofold
need was evident, namely, more suitable premises for worship and for
a man of God's choice to lead the work. The first answer to prayer
came in the form of a piece of land becoming available during the
Autumn of 1978. In the Providence of God this site was to become the
location of the work for some fifteen years. Mr David Ferguson began
clearing the site and preparing the way for the erection of a wooden
structured building that became affectionately known as The Hut. '
To the delight and encouragement of God's people in Dromore the
building was opened by the Moderator, Dr Paisley, on Saturday 22nd
A Gospel Mission conducted by the Reverend
William Whiteside, who was ministering in Kilkeel at the time,
followed the opening of the hall. This proved for Mr Whiteside to be
the beginning of a long association with the church in Dromore.
Dr. Paisley receiving the key from
the builder Mr. David Ferguson to
officially open the new building
The following are excerpts of a report by Harry
McCandless which appeared in `The Star', a local newspaper.
Dromore was ablaze with evangelical fervour on
Saturday afternoon when the new Banbridge Road Free Presbyterian
Church was officially opened by the Moderator, Dr. Ian Paisley.
In a dynamic message to a packed congregation,
Dr Paisley spoke of the opposition to the establishment of the
church in Dromore and of how it had been faced and overcome, and in
a thundering proclamation, greeted with a chorus of hallelujahs, he
added, "We are here, and we are here to stay."
"We are opening in Dromore, not a bowling
alley or a ping-pong centre, nor are we opening an entertainment
centre. We are not here to entertain the goats we are here to feed
the sheep and we are opening today a preaching house for the
preaching of the Word of the Living God."
A debt of ?12,000 on the building, which had been
announced, was swiftly reduced by an offering which amounted to
The chairman Rev Fred Greenfield, minister of
the present church in Banbridge, said the Free Presbyterian Church
did not depend on pea-soup suppers or daffodil teas for its
financial support. They got it from the Lord's people "as God had
prospered them," he said.
The new church building has seating for about
250 people but it is estimated that about 400 found accommodation
for the historic opening which was the ambition of the 60 strong
congregation since it was set up four years ago.
As was later explained by the chairman Mr
Greenfield, the Dromore church had its roots in a mission conducted
in 1975 by Rev Fred Buick. Afterwards services took place in the
Royal British Legion Hall in Princess Street and they thanked God
that the door was opened there for the preaching of the gospel until
a building of the type they now had could be provided.
Mr Greenfield said plans to build a larger church
on the site were already in the pipeline and they looked forward to
this being achieved.
When Mr Paisley arrived at the door he was
presented with a key with which to open the church by the builder,
Mr David Ferguson, Dromore.
Turning the key Dr Paisley said: "It gives me
great pleasure here this afternoon in the name of the true God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and for the preaching of the Gospel,
the defence of our evangelical and reformed heritage, and for the
salvation of souls and for the defence of our Protestant Faith, to
declare this building open for the preaching of God's precious
As the small congregation was now more firmly
rooted in the town the need for a pastor was increasing. Again God
was pleased to meet the need. In June of 1980 the Presbytery of
Ulster placed a local man in the pulpit in Dromore, the Reverend
David Priestley. Originally from the surrounding Dromara hills Mr
Priestley settled well into the work and indeed became the longest
serving minister in the congregation to date. While initially placed
as a student minister Mr Priestley was to spend over ten years
labouring faithfully in the area.
During Reverend Priestley's time in Dromore much
of the spade-work was done for the consolidating of the witness. No
fewer than twelve Gospel missions were held in the town and
surrounding district. Every Orange Hall that would grant permission
was used as a meeting house from which the Word of God was
faithfully proclaimed. If a hall could not be found a tent was
erected in a field. The vision was evidently before God's people and
evangelistic zeal revealed a compassion for the souls of men and
women. The work was moving forward in the old fashioned way as souls
were being saved.
With the constitution and growth of the work the
need arose for the election of Ruling Elders. This election took
place on Tuesday 11th May 1982 and as a result Mr Aubrey Malcomson,
Mr Robert Skelton and Mr Irvine Dawson were elected. The ordination
of the three Elders was held on Sunday 19th September. Dr Paisley
was the preacher at the afternoon service which was packed to
Progress continued throughout 1983. In addition
Mr Priestley, having completed his studies at the Whitefield College
of the Bible, received a Call from the congregation to be their
first ordained minister. The Ordination and Installation Service
took place on 29th November 1983.
The following report and picture appeared in the
Dromore Leader' on Thursday 8th December 1983 ?
Another milestone has been reached in the
history and witness of Dromore Free Presbyterian Church with the
ordination and installation of Mr David A. Priestley as its first
minister, on Tuesday of last week.
Brought up on the family farm in the Dromara
hills Mr Priestley is a married man with two children, Jonathan,
aged four years and Ruth aged seven months. He has served in the
congregation as student minister for the past three and a half
years. Relatives, friends and well-wishers gathered from near and
far to swell the numbers to upwards on four hundred people for this
historic and impressive service.
Rev David Priestley with members of
Dromore Free Presbyterian Church's Committee
and Session. Seated (from left) : Mr Robert
Skelton (Treasurer and member of Session),
Mr Irvine Dawson (Clerk of Session), Mr.
Aubrey Malcomson (Elder. Back row (from
left) : Mr Robin (Committee), Mr
Maurice Dawson (Committee) and Mr Oswald
The Reverend Fred Greenfield the Senior
minister of the church conducted the proceedings which opened with
the singing of Psalm 103. The Reverend John Morrow of Ballynahinch
led in the opening prayer. The Scriptures were read by Reverend
Stanley Barnes, Hillsborough, and the ordination sermon was preached
by the Reverend William McDermott, recently installed minister of
Bangor Free Presbyterian Church. The prescribed questions to the
minister elect were then put by the Acting Clerk of Presbytery, Rev
Alex Chambers ? Mullaglass, followed by the subscription to the
Westminister Confession of Faith, the ordination prayer, led by the
Moderator, Dr Paisley and the laying on of hands by the Presbytery
of Ulster. The Charge to the minister and congregation was then
brought by Dr Ian Paisley who based his remarks of Isaiah 61v1-3 and
Luke 4v16-22. He instructed the newly ordained minister to lay the
emphasis upon preaching. He was by the power of the Spirit of God to
preach deliverance to the captives. Dr Paisley went on to outline
three great facts of the Gospel. Firstly, Ruin by the Fall,
secondly, Redemption by the Blood and thirdly, Regeneration by the
Holy Ghost. He concluded by charging the congregation to faithfully
support their minister. Rev Priestley then gave a brief word of
testimony, outlining how he was converted to Christ on 6th October
1969. He returned thanks to the Dromore congregation for placing
their confidence and trust in him as a preacher of the Gospel and in
issuing to him a unanimous Call to be their Pastor. Mr Priestley
thanked all who had helped and encouraged him in his years of
preparation; and in closing reiterated the words of the Apostle
Paul, "Finally , brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord
may have free course, and be glorified." Extending a warm welcome on
behalf of the Dromore congregation, Mr Robert Skelton (member of
Session) paid tribute to Mr Priestley's labours during his student
ministry and assured him of their continued prayers in the days
ahead. Mr Skelton then presented a gift to Rev Fred Greenfield on
behalf of the Office Bearers and members of the congregation. A
presentation was also made to Mrs Greenfield by Miss Audrey
Malcomson. This memorable occasion was brought to a close in prayer
by Rev. Michael Patrick, after which supper was served by the ladies
of the congregation.
The work continued to progress steadily in the
years that followed. In 1988 the church committee felt the time had
come to consider erecting a permanent church building on the
existing site. The owner of the ground beside the church, Mr Joe
Thompson, was approached. He agreed to sell a further half an acre
of ground and everything seemed on course for a new permanent
building. In the Providence of God it was not to be. To the
disappointment of everyone in the church the Planning Authorities
turned down the application to build. The reason given was that the
Education Board along with Banbridge District Council wanted to
purchase all the ground in the vicinity including the church site.
The following year an appeal was lodged against the decision of the
Planning Authority and every attempt was made to have the original
decision reversed. After two years of wrangling further
disappointment was felt. It was a very trying time for everyone
involved in the work. It was hard to see where God was leading,
similar to the time when God refused David's good purpose and
intention to build the Lord a house. Little did the congregation
know the Lord had something far greater in store.
REVEREND PRIESTLEY RECEIVES CALL
FROM CLOGHER VALLEY
In March 1991, after eleven years of faithful
service in Dromore, Rev. Priestley received a Call from Clogher
Valley Free Presbyterian Church to be their minister. Having
prayerfully sought the Lord on the matter Mr Priestley felt it was
the will of God for him to accept the Call. Describing the move away
from Dromore as "a wrench," the Priestley family began to say
goodbye to the place they had bestowed so much labour.
A Farewell Service took place in Dromore on
Tuesday 16th April and five days later Mr Priestley preached his
farewell sermon to the congregation with which he had laboured so
The following report appeared in the `Dromore Star'
on 19th April 1991 ?
The congregation of Dromore Free Presbyterian
Church has given tangible expression to the esteem in which their
minister and his family have been held over the past eleven years.
Rev. David Priestley has been called to Clogher Valley Church in Co.
Tyrone where he will be installed next Thursday. On Tuesday evening
he and Mrs Priestley and their three children were presented with
tokens of esteem by the congregation and by those representing the
various departments of the Church's work. Rev. William Whiteside,
minister of the Banbridge Church, (who will be Interim Moderator
during the vacancy in Dromore) presided and in the course of his
address he spoke of Mr Priestley's fruitful ministry and of the help
he had received from Mrs Priestley. On behalf of the congregation,
the Clerk of Session, Mr Aubrey Malcomson, handed over a cheque to
Mr Priestley and Mrs Priestley received a Tyrone Crystal vase from
the Church Treasurer, Mr Robert Skelton. Mrs Pearl Malcomson handed
over an inscribed Bible to Mrs Priestley on behalf of the Sunday
School and Children's Meeting. The couple's children were included
in the presentations. Jonathan, Ruth and Anna were given inscribed
Bibles and pencils by Mrs Valerie McMurray on behalf of the Sunday
School and Children's Meeting. The gift of a picture from the Youth
Fellowship was presented to Mr and Mrs Priestley by the Youth
Leader, Mr Robin Ward, who also handed over a Pen Set to Jonathan.
Mrs Priestley's participation in the work of the congregation was
marked by the gift of a beautiful flower arrangement presented by
Mrs Bertha Scott. Mr Priestley returned thanks for the gifts on his
own behalf and that of his wife and children. He recalled eleven
very happy years in Dromore and spoke of the wrench his departure
would mean. He thanked the congregation for their loyalty and
support. Dromore had been home to him, not only from the standpoint
of his upbringing in the area but home in every sense of the word.
During the evening there were messages in song by Mrs Betty Spratt.
Mr Priestley will preach his farewell sermon in Dromore Church on
Various church organisations presented gifts to the Rev.
David and Mrs Priestley and their family on the occasion of
their departure from Dromore Free Presbyterian Church to
Clogher Valley. Standing, from left, are Mr Bobby Skelton,
congregation, Bertha Scott, ladies, Valerie McMurray, Sunday
School and Young Peoples meeting, Robin Ward, Youth
Fellowship, Pearl Malcomson, Sunday School and Young
People's meeting and Aubrey Malcomson, congregation. In
front, seated, from left, are Anna Priestley, Jonathan
Priestley, Mrs Priestley, Ruth Priestley and Mr Priestley.
The congregation had worshipped in the temporary
building on the Banbridge Road since 1979 and permission for that
temporary structure had to be renewed every three years. The stage
had now been reached where the planners were insisting on the site
being vacated and the congregation faced the reality of having to
move. Two years previously the application to build a permanent
church on the existing site was turned down by the Planning
Department and the church lost its appeal against the decision. Mr
Brian Biggerstaff, Church Secretary at the time, stated that the
planners had gone back on an earlier commitment of allowing the
congregation to construct a permanent building on the present site.
Following the setback with the Planning
Authorities the Session and Committee were now forced to look
further afield for an alternative site. In 1991 agreement was
reached with a landowner for the purchase of a one-acre site at
Quillyburn about half a mile from the town centre. Although the area
was zoned for industrial development God was pleased to undertake in
these matters and after much prayer permission was finally granted
to build a church on the site. It was with great enthusiasm and
thankfulness to the Lord that God's people moved forward to further
establish the witness for truth.
On the 24th March 1992 a special meeting was
called for the election of additional Elders. With Mr Irvine Dawson
having felt led of the Lord to transfer to Hillsborough Free
Presbyterian Church the need arose to strenghten the Session. At
this meeting Mr Frank Blakely was elected and on Sunday 31st May his
Ordination Service took place with Dr Paisley being the speaker.
During the years of 92-93 much time was spent in
planning and preparing for a new church building. The Committee
meetings during this time ran into the early hours of the next day.
Finally, after the late nights and early mornings, agreement was
reached and the plans finalised. The main contract for the building
was given to Timbercure Services Ltd. who sub-contracted Mr David
Ferguson to build the church.
On Saturday 2nd October 1993, a stone-laying
ceremony was conducted with Dr Paisley being the preacher.
During this time it became known that Rev. Fred
Buick was interested in returning to Ulster from Australia. Mr
Buick, a native of Ballymoney, had been in Australia for sixteen
years. He had ministered in South Australia in the town of Port
Lincoln for six years before moving on to Perth where he spent ten
years. As the Rev. Buick was instrumental in starting the work in
Dromore interest was
generated in issuing a Call to Mr Buick. In the Communicants Meeting
that soon followed Mr Buick was issued with a Call from the
congregation. Mr Buick accepted the Call to be the next minister and
so on Thursday 30th December he was installed as minister of the
Rev Dr Ian Paisley Pictured with
members of session and those who took part at the
stone laying ceremony in the new church premises on
the Banbridge Road.
Rev. Buick is pictured here with the
Moderator Dr Paisley, Clerk of Presbytery Dr Douglas,
and other Free Presbyterian ministers who took part in
the installation service.
Pictures of Church in early stages.
The building was just about complete at this time
and Mr Buick was in place in time for the official opening. The
following are excerpts from the report which appeared in `The
Outlook' on Thursday 3rd February 1994.
Saturday afternoon marked the beginning of a
new era for the Free Presbyterian congregation in Dromore as they
witnessed the official opening of their magnificent new church
building on the Banbridge Road. The impressive ceremony was
performed by the Moderator of Presbytery, Dr Ian Paisley and it was
indeed a proud occasion for the recently installed minister, Rev.
Fred Buick and for the congregation as they celebrated the
completion of the building project within such a relatively short
time. Saturday's service was largely attended as ministers and
representatives from both neighbouring and visiting congregations
joined in the celebrations. Prior to the commencement of the service
Mr Brian Biggerstaff, the builder, presented a key to Dr Paisley and
invited him to officially open the new building.
Doing so, Dr Paisley endorsed the views of the
large gathering when he spoke of how delighted they all were to see
the completion of such a beautiful church and to witness its opening
for the preaching of the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"In the name of Jesus Christ, the sole King and only Head of His own
Church, I declare this building open for the preaching of His Holy
The opening ceremony was followed by the
laying of a commemorative stone inside the church by the minister of
the congregation, Rev Fred Buick.
After singing of the hymn, "Guide me, O thou
Great Jehovah, " the opening prayer was by Rev. David Creane,
minister of Lurgan Free Presbyterian Church. Next cane a solo by Dr
William McCrea, who accompanied himself on the piano accordion (he
also rendered a second solo later in the service). The Bible reading
was by Rev. David Priestley, minister of Clogher Valley church and
former minister of the Dromore congregation.
Former Interim Moderator's Remarks
Mr Buick, who conducted proceedings welcomed
all present and then introduced Rev. William Whiteside who acted as
Interim Moderator during the vacancy in the Dromore congregation. Mr
Buick said Mr Whiteside had been in charge of the work there for
some considerable time and from all accounts, had done a wonderful
job amongst the people in Dromore.
Mr Whiteside first took the opportunity of
saying what a joy it was for him to be present and to share with the
people of Dromore on that special occasion. "For the last two years
and 10 months the work of God in Dromore has occupied a good deal of
space in my heart, in my activities and in my prayers," said Mr
Whiteside. "The erection of this beautiful new meeting house has
been a special joy and delight to me. As the builders can bear
witness, I have watched over the progress of the new building with
much joy and pleasure. Now that the work is complete and what a
beautiful building we have, a church of which the people of Dromore
can indeed be proud."
Tribute To Builders
Continuing, Mr Whiteside said that no doubt Mr
Buick in due course, would be thanking many people who have worked
hard to bring this new building to fruition, but there were two
people he wished to personally thank for their immense contribution,
namely, Mr Brian Biggerstaff and Mr David Ferguson, builders. "These
men have not only worked very hard to build this church and get it
opened on time, but they have also worked with much self-sacrifice
in order that we might have a building such as this at such a low
cost. Had they taken the money they were entitled to, then the price
of the Church would have just been that bit beyond our reach, but
thanks to their faithful labours and self-sacrifice we have this
beautiful building at a very reasonable cost."
In conclusion, Mr Whiteside said they also
thanked Almighty God for his great goodness to the Dromore
congregation. The Lord had richly blessed them in the absence of a
permanent minister, He had kept them together during the vacancy,
and most of all, He had kept them praying, as was evidenced by the
weekly attendance at the prayer meetings. God had not only given to
the congregation a beautiful building, hut he had given them a
caring and godly minister in Rev Fred Buick. Already he had heard of
God's blessing under Mr Buick's ministry, and they rejoiced in the
fact that God had been pleased to bless that ministry in the
salvation of precious souls. On behalf of the Session and Committee
and congregation of Banbridge Church, Mr Whiteside conveyed to the
Dromore congregation, to their new minister and his family, and to
the Session and Committee their best wishes and assured them of
their prayers in the days that lie ahead.
Mr Buick thanked Mr Whiteside for his
encouraging words, and praised the Lord for all he had enabled them
to do. He extended appreciation and thanks to Mr Brian Big gerstaff
of Timbercure Services Ltd. and Mr David Ferguson, building
contractor, also Mr Eddie Wilson and his wife who kept an eye on the
building and supplied the electricity for the electric saws etc.
On behalf of the Dromore congregation, Mr
Buick then presented gifts as tokens of appreciation to Mr Brian
Biggerstaff, Main Contractor and Mr David Ferguson, Sub-Contractor,
saying how grateful they were for all the marvellous work they had
Next to speak was Rev. Ron Johnstone,
Moneyslane, who conveyed greetings on behalf of the Presbytery. He
too apologised on behalf of the Clerk, Dr Douglas, who was absent,
and conveyed the best wishes of both Lisburn congregation and his
own congregation in Moneyslane. Quoting from Genesis 35v7, "And he
built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el," Mr Johnstone
said it was their prayer, "that this place will be a place of the
altar, that this meeting house will be a place where the Person of
God is revered and where the praises of God's people will rise
heavenward. It is also our prayer that here, where the Person of God
is revered, that the presence of God will be revealed to you as the
minister opens up the word of God, that there will be a
God-consciousness in every service, and that everyone saved and
unsaved will know that this is a place where God is visiting His
Dr Paisley said it was a great privilege for
him to have the opportunity of preaching at the opening of their new
church. "We thank God for the work in Dromore and we thank God for
those in whose hearts he put the seed of vision, like a grain of
mustard seed, so that there could be erected in this place a meeting
house where the Gospel of Christ could be preached.
"It gives me great joy, with thanksgiving to
God, that this task has been accomplished, and that this beautiful
building has now been erected and officially opened, and I look
forward to the day when we will see here great things done in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Dr Paisley performed the opening
ceremony. Also in photo is Mr Brian Biggerstaff (left),
the Rev Fred Buick (minister) and Mr Aubrey Malcomson
(Clerk of Session).
In the year that followed new members were added
to the church and the witness was further consolidated under the
ministry of Rev. Buick. However, after spending one year and three
months with the congregation Mr Buick concluded his ministry in
Dromore on Sunday 12th March 1995. Rev. Whiteside found himself as
Interim Moderator of the church for a second time.
Ministers, Licentiates, Students and Lay
preachers occupied the pulpit during the vacancy. The small
congregation was brought again to seek the Lord for guidance in
regard to a minister.