Presbyterian Church in Ireland web site 1660-1981







1815 - 1857

Mr. Waddell died on the 12th July 1815, and after a space of about 18 months, the Rev. James Collins was ordained and installed as Minister of the congregation. The first son of a wealthy Dublin merchant, Mr. Collins appears to have been a man of some means. He was born in 1795 and educated in Glasgow. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Tyrone in 1814, and ordained in Dromore on 17th December, 1816.

During Mr. Collins ministry, the seating capacity of the Church was increased largely through the generosity of the Minister. The Presbytery Minutes contain a copy of an agreement drawn up between himself and the congregation, whereby Mr. Collins loaned the sum of �37 to the Committee for the erection of a third gallery in the meeting-house. The repayment of this sum, together with the interest due, was to be met by the stipend arising from the seats of the new gallery. Further, it was agreed that after the amount was raised, Mr. Collins would receive . . . `whatever stipend the gallery might produce over and above the sum secured to him in his call from the other parts of the house . . . and that it shall be his property bona fide, as long as he continues the Minister of the Congregation.'

A microfilm held in the Ulster Folk Museum, dated 13th July 1837, describes the church building as a whitewashed, rough-cast edifice, approximately 80 feet long by 40 wide, able to accommodate 1200 people, with an average attendance of 700. Preaching at the installation and dedication of a new pipe organ in the Church on Sunday 15th February 1936, Rev. T. Doey (see page 35) reminisced about the old building. `He thought of the old whitewashed church, with the old stone steps and of the old box pews, and the old pulpit.' It seems the building was constructed in the shape of a Cross. By 1842 the congregation claimed 557 families, with a stipend of �70.



The presbytery visited the congregation in February 1846. The finding tells us there were 8 elders, a number, which in this age of greater mobility, would be considered inadequate compared with the number of families. There were 400-500 communicants on the roll, with 53 new names being added to the list in 1845. Indeed, throughout these years the number being admitted each year was fairly substantial. The presbytery had some serious things to say also. It called upon the large number of families who were only nominally Presbyterian, and `were living in partial or total neglect of the public ordinances of the Gospel' to realise their responsibilities in spiritual things. The presbytery also drew attention to a practice which seemed to be spreading all over at the time, namely, the habit of serving `spiritous liquor' at wakes

and funerals. With regard to baptism, they said . . . `The presbytery would urge upon Minister and elders the duty of instructing the people more fully on the nature and importance of the ordinance and the Scriptural qualifications for parents seeking it for their children. Except in cases of real necessity, baptism should be administered in the face of the public congregation after the reading of the Word.' An interesting reference, since many seem to believe that the idea of baptising in public is relatively new, and that the traditional way of doing it was to administer it in the home.


About this time interest was being developed generally in the need for more Christian work among children. Sunday Schools were being established in different congregations to cater specifi cally for the spiritual education of the young. Before this, the children simply went to Church with their parents and that was all, apart from the catechising which the Minister carried out in the homes. In 1837, therefore, some members of the congregation met with the Minister, and together they established a Sunday School. The Church still has in its possession the original minute book of the Sunday School dating from 1837 to 1900, and for almost thirty years this record was kept by the Superintendent, Mr. Thomas Jamison. The rules which were drawn up as the basis for the Sunday School make interesting reading. Here are a few of them . . .

`The School shall be open each Sabbath Day from 10 to 11.30, Evening from 5 to 6.30.'
`The scholars are to appear at school with their hands, feet, and clothes clean.'
`If any of the scholars be guilty of lying, stealing, indecent conversation, or any other crime, such scholars shall be admonished, and if he or she persist in such wicked conduct, the offender shall be expelled.'
`Scholars are to go to and from the school in an orderly and quiet maner, all rude behaviour in the streets and road is to be avoided, not only as highly improper in itself, but also as tending to injure the school which is established for their benefit solely.'

In this day and age, these rules appear strict, but they give us a glimpse of another age, when authority was not so widely challenged as it is now.

Reading through these minutes, one is struck by the seriousness of the religion which the children were taught. Time and again, we read of addresses being given to the children on such texts as `Prepare to meet thy God'. . . This strikes the modern reader as strange, being subjects more suited to adult audiences, but we have to remember the circumstances of the time. Medical facilities were still primitive by today's standards. Disease was rampant, and illnesses which we now regard as curable, were killers. In the minutes we find such references as . . . `School opened today after being five weeks closed on account of scarleteisia. One boy died from the disease.' . . . `A boy, Gilchrist, a very regular attender, died last night only ill a few hours.'

The children had sudden reminders of death all around them. They missed friends who had sat in the Sunday School with them, and they often attended the funerals of fellow scholars and class mates. To be urgent and personal in presenting the Gospel was not in the least out of place or irrelevant. Nor is it out of place today.

The arrangements of the Sunday School were not unlike those we find in any school today. There were Open Days, with guest preachers, and missionaries invited. An outing was held each year, and a Band of Hope was started in 1861 to encourage temperate habits among the young. The dedication of the teachers was impressive, being wisely and warmly guided by the good hand and heart of Mr. Jamison. In 1884 Mr. Jamison wrote . . . `I am today 27 years Superintendent of the Sunday School. I thank God for sparing me so long and for all the real good that He has done. My earnest desire and prayer is that much more spiritual blessings are yet in store for those who may in the future be teachers and scholars. My heart's desire and prayer to God is that every one of our pupils may be saved.'


Not only was the spiritual education of the children provided for by the Church, but also the secular. Up until the 1800's there was really no provision made for the education of the children of the working class. However, in 1831, the government began a national education scheme, and by 18;0 the Protestant Churches began to take advantage of it. Soon, day schools in connection with local churches sprang up. So it was that First Dromore erected a school building in the late 1860's. We do not have the exact date, but a presbytery visitation finding for 1871 refers to the school house being built since the previous visitation in 1863. Here the three `R's were taught during weekdays, the building also being used for church activities at night and at the weekends, when required.

At one time the school at First Dromore employed three teachers, with the Minister acting as manager. The school continued its work until 1932 when it was transferred to the Down County Regional Education Committee and in 1936 merged with the schools of the Cathedral and the Non-Subscribing congregation to form the Central Primary School on the Banbridge Road. There are therefore members still living today who received their elementary education at First Dromore school. They remember, `Schoolmaster McAlister;' the stables under the school; and the open coal fires to heat the school room, the coal being partly paid for by pupils' subscriptions.


1857 -- 1907

By 1857, the Rev. James Collins was feeling the infirmity of age after a long period as the Minister of the congregation. Accordingly, in June 1855, he requested the presbytery to recommend to the Assembly that he be given an assistant and successor. This was agreed. The presbytery minute provides us with insight into the character and ministry of Mr. Collins. It reads as follows...

`. . . this presbytery cannot permit this opportunity to pass without recording in their minutes the very high opinion they entertain of the worth and excellence of the character of their brother Rev. James Collins. They cannot soon forget the mild and gentlemanly conduct which has characterised all his private, social and ministerial communion, the faithfulness with which he discharged the duties and the efficiency with which he watched over and promoted the interests of a large and flourishing congregation, and they hope that he may long be spared to aid and encourage his brethren of the presbytery by his presence and advice in all their deliberations.

In 1856 Mr. Jackson Smyth was ordained as an assistant and successor to Mr. Collins. He remained until 1859 when he was called to First Armagh and went on to become well known throughout the Church.

At this point, we may note that `the year of grace' began in 1859 in Ulster. Beginning in Ahoghill and Connor, revival came to many parts of the land. Churches and the community generally were changed by the Spirit of God. There are very few references to the effect of the revival in Dromore. However, some statistical returns, noted in the book, `The Year of Grace,' indicate that there were at this time 8 prayer meetings in connection with the church, and that the average attendance at communion increased by 100. Evidently, the Lord did not forget this part of the land, and his saving grace was extended to members of the congregation.


In 1860, Mr. James Kirker Strain was ordained in the Church as assistant and he became the Minister in full charge after the death of the Rev. Collins in 1863. There now began in this ministry a settled period of some fifty years, and during it a great affection developed between Minister and people. J. K. Strain was a son of the Manse in Cremore. Like his father, Rev. Dr. Strain, he had an academic turn of mind, and early distinguished himself as a scholar. He attended Queen's University, Belfast, and scored notable successes in the mental science group, obtaining the senior school in 1858, the year he graduated. He pursued legal studies together with an arts course, obtaining junior and senior scholarships in his Alma Mater. His theological education was completed at Assembly's College, Belfast, and he was licensed by the Presbytery of Belfast in December. During his years as Minister of First Dromore, Mr. Strain undertook further study and obtained his LL.B. and LL.D. (1885). Since it appears he took little part in the wider work of the Church, the congregation benefited from his studies through his pulpit ministrations. He married a daughter of the Rev. Greer of Annahilt, and one of their sons became a licentiate of the Presbytery of Dromore.

A photograph of Dr. Strain, kept in the Minister's room, shows him to be a man of the old Presbyterian school. His bearded face, intelligent eyes, and strong dignified bearing, are the marks of one who laboured steadily in spite of a large share of suffering. The Banbridge Chronicle tells us that he never really enjoyed great health . . . `he was too keen and continuous a student and many a time the lamp of life flickered feebly enough.' This was no exaggeration, as the presbytery minutes show. Twice he wrote to the presbytery advising them of his ill-health. The first time was in November 1880 when he sought the advice of the presbytery as to his resignation from active duty as he felt unable to do all required of him. On this occasion the presbytery undertook to supply his pulpit. Then he wrote again in 1881 asking the presbytery to recommend to the Assembly he be allowed to resign if he found it necessary. He never did, and continued to minister until his death in 1907.

REV. DR. J. K. STRAIN - MINISTER 1860-1907

Dr. Strain was a shrewd observer of life. He studied not only books, but also people. In the late 1860's he undertook a voyage to America and did some travelling there. On his return he gave a public lecture on his experiences and later published this in booklet form. From this it is evident that he had an eye for detail, and his gifted mind and keen insight enabled him to read a person's character accurately. In addition, he had a delightful sense of humour. These qualities are illustrated in the following incidents he relates in the booklet . . . On board the ship crossing to America he writes one Monday evening in the public lounge;

`Let me look around and tell you what the folks are doing just now. Nearly opposite to me .... are two farmers, one Canadian, the other American, and they have set themselves to guess the professions of the different passengers. they thought themselves the only two farmers in the ship, and set down the most of the others as tailors, cooks, mechanics, etc. They could not guess what I was, so I had to tell them; when one of them said he strongly suspected it, as if in were something to be ashamed of. I told him I was not ashamed of it at all, when his friend said it was a calling honourable enough. Dollars and cents, rather then faith and good works, gold rather then Gospel, seems to epitomise their religion'.

Dr. Strain was also a careful and gifted preacher of the Scripture, seeking to explain and to apply Reformed Doctrine. The Minutes of the General Assembly for 1908 refer to him as . . `A preacher of great merit, a diligent student, a high-minded Christian and a faithful friend'. Here is a man who preached with a Pastor's heart. He himself suffered both physically and emotionally through the loss of loved - ones (his daughter Lizzie died suddenly in 1897 aged 16), and he sought to apply the balm of the Gospel to the wounds of his people. Then, too, we find a man who loved his Saviour. Not that he was demonstrative in his faith; it burned quietly, but steadily and strongly. Here is an extract from one of his sermons, illustrating such qualities. The text is John ch. 13 verse 1, . .. `When Jesus knew His hour was come'.

...... Now my friends it is not Ministers who are specifically set apart to spend their time and their life in His dear service, who are called His own'. "This honour have all the saints". You are His own, if you believe in Him if you live in a garret. You are Christ's own, if you only repair a road or sweep a street. You are His own, who believe in His Name, though every day you stand behind a counter, or plough in the fields, or make the hay when the sun is shining. I trust there are some of Christ's here today, though they do not know it. Eought with his blood and they are well aware of it. Chosen from all eternity, and yet they have not discovered it. May God reveal to you His everlasting love, and enable you to make your calling and election sure . . .'


It was during this century that a Church, and Manse fund was begun throughout the Church, and at the visitation of 1863, the presbytery asked the Committee of First Dromore to consider erecting a Manse for the use of the Minister and his family. Therefore it would appear that previous to this the Minister had to provide his own accommodation, or it was rented for him. On the Rev. Collin's grave in the Church graveyard, the Minister's address is given as Parkrow House. This is a large house set in its own grounds approximately 200 yards behind the present Manse, and it is still inhabited. Possibly Mr. Collins owned it himself, or it was rented for him by the congregation. Nothing was done about this recommendation for a few years, and there is reference to this in the visitation of 1871. However, by the time of a further visitation in 1878, the Manse had been built on the Dromara Road, and this is the house which is occupied by the present Minister and his family. Set in its own grounds, and surrounded by five acres of glebe, it affords a fine view of the town and countryside.


The Meeting-House too was improved during this period. Up to this time, access to the galleries of the building had been gained by way of outside stone staircases. These were removed, porches were built, and new safety staircases were installed. The roof which had previously been thatched, was slated.

A central heating system was installed in the Church in 1895, and it was the job of the new sexton, Todd Barr, to see that this was kept in working order, and the Church properly heated for the Sabbath Services. Services regularly lasted two hours and often would not be finished until 2.00 p.m. The road, say old members, was black with people from 11.30 a.m. making their way to Church. The more wealthy members came by pony and trap, but many came on foot, often walking several miles on the journey to Church and home again. The evening service is quite a recent introduction. There is a reference in the Committee Minute Book of services being held in the school-room in 1902, because there was no lighting in the Church.

The life of the congregation continued quietly. As we have seen, the Sunday School carried on a good work among the young, and Dr. Strain was kept busy with visitation and the superintendance of the eight or more Sunday Schools which met in the outlying areas of the parish. Also, he was involved in the oversight of at least three of the twelve day schools in the district, and attendance at the weekly prayer meeting.

By 1907 Dr. Strain's health was failing, and an assistant was appointed to help him in his duties. He died in December. He was seventy years of age, and he had spent nearly fifty of those years in the Ministry. On looking back over that time it is clear that, had his health permitted, th Church might have heard much more of Rev. Dr. J. K. Strain, and been the richer for a wider service from him.


1907 - 1917

The years from 1907 to 1917 were in many ways both unsettled and changeable. One can sense that the congregation was approaching a moment of decision forced upon them by circumstances.

In great contrast to the long ministry of Dr. Strain, these years were to witness a succession of three Ministers, two of whom stayed for only a few years. From 1907 to August 1909, the congregation lay vacant. Several candidates were heard, but agreement could not be reached on a settlement. Indeed, opinions were strongly held, and at one stage the interim Moderator called a special congregational meeting to resolve the deadlock. Happily he succeeded, and a short time later, the Rev. J. C. Greer was installed as the Minister. Arrangements were made for the ordination on the 9th September, 1909, and repairs were carried out to the Manse. It was quite an occasion. There was to be a dinner served after the Service, with tickets priced at 5/- per head. 200 tickets were printed. In the evening a social gathering was held in the Church, tickets 1/- each. At this, the ladies of the W.W.A. presented the Minister with a new gown.

At the new Minister's first committee meeting there was a disagreement over the music in the Church. Apparently a piano had been used at the ordination to accompany the singing of the Choir Anthem. Up until this time, the singing was unaccompanied, following the practice of the Covenanters.


The Rev. Greer accepted a call to the congregation of Strand, Londonderry, in October 1912, and another vacancy began. However it did not run for very long. This time the people found their new Minister in Bessbrook, and made out a call to the Rev. Thomas Doey, a call which he accepted. He was installed on the 13th February 1913. Mr. Doey was the son of Mr. Thomas Doey, Cookstown. He was born on 25th May 1876, and educated at Magee College, New College, and Assembly's. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Tyrone in June 1905, and ordained as Minister in Bessbrook on September 4th 1906.

Almost immediately after Mr. Doey's installation, an idea which had been mooted before Mr. Greer left, was raised again. It was proposed that the congregation proceed to the erection of a new Church building. There was good reason for this. The roof of the old Church was found to be in such a poor state that it was considered to be not worth repairing. At a congregational meeting, the people committed themselves to the project, under the leadership of Mr. Doey who worked untiringly in the interests of this project during his short ministry. We can appreciate the extent of the congregation's faith and determination when we remember that war loomed on the horizon, and that the global storm broke in 1914. Nevertheless the people decided to press on. The architect's estimate for the new building was �4,500, and work began with promises amounting to �2.500.

A design for the new Church had to be decided upon. Certainly, the Committee did not lack advice from old friends. Dr. Prenter wrote in 1913 against the trend for modern design. He wished for `an auld house . . . There is brain enough and taste enough in First Dromore to construct, on the sacred site of the old building, a house of God which will at once be useful and ornamental, and which the present builders will not be ashamed to hand down as a precious legacy to their children and their children's children. How right he was !

It was decided to visit other buildings before any decision was reached. A delegation from the Committee visited Ballysillan, Argyle Place, Whitehead and Larne. The Ballysillan model was approved. (Ulsterville Church on the Lisburn Road, Belfast, is built to the same specifications). The congregation said farewell to the old building at a Communion Service to which former members were invited, on Sunday 10th May 1914. The contractors, John Graham and Sons, of Dromore then moved in to demolish the old Church, and erect the new, and present, one.

The Foundation Stone ceremony, performed by the Right Rev. Dr. Bingham, Moderator of the General Assembly, was an interesting occasion. Two leaden boxes, hermetically sealed, were placed under the foundation stones. These contain coins of the realm, a copy of the Dromore Weekly Times with a report of the final services in the old Church, a Newsletter, Northern Whig, and a sketch of the Congregation's history.

The building was completed in 1915, and today stands proudly as the legacy of wise and faithful forefathers. It is an impressive structure, listed now as an historic building, built of dark blue whinstone rock, relieved by white limestone dressings. The pews are of pitch pine, and it is capable of seating 800 worshippers comfortably.

Special services were held in the new building in November 1915. On the 7th there was a dedicatory service conducted by the Rev. McDermott (standing in for the Moderator of that year, Professor Hamill, who was ill), and he spoke from John chapter 3 : 3,5. On November 14th the guest preacher was Dr. Park of Belfast, and on the 21st, Rev. J. Gailey, the Minister of Ballysillan, preached. Various gifts were presented. The new entrance gates were donated by the ladies of the W.W.A., as also were the furnishings for the Minister's room. Children of the congregation gave �30 towards the cost of the pulpit. Miss Todd of Parkrow House, an amateur wood carver, gave pulpit chairs. The communion table, a hall table, and clock, were the gifts of Mrs. Doey.

In 1917, the W.W.A. held a bazaar to clear the remaining debt.

Here we pause for a moment with Dr. Prenter again, as he looks back over sixty years of the Church's life, and offers the following comment . . . "First Dromore has had a succession of Ministers, all of whom were evangelical, who, through good report and ill, kept the light of the Gospel shining clearly in the premier county of Ulster. I have known and personally hcnoured five of these men and the Rev. James Collins, first cousin cf the late Dr. Morgan, lives in my memory as the very ideal of a godly and devoted Minister of Christ."


(TAKEN AROUND 1915-1917).



1918 - 1951

In September 1918 the Session and Committee were requested to release Mr. Doey for chaplaincy work with the soldiers in France. This was unanimously agreed. He and his wife were presented with an illuminated address, which today hangs in the Choir Room at the back of the Church.

(I have already referred to the effort which Mr. Doey put in to the rebuilding of the Church. Just how much his work was appreciated can be gauged from the following quotation from that address . . . `The most striking example of your labours has been the erection of our new and beautiful Church which by the blessing of God will stand for many generations as a memorial to your work of faith and labour of love in our midst. Although sorry to part with the old building so dear to our hearts with all its hallowed memories and sacred associations yet we felt that a more suitable place of worship was necessary. We were deterred however by the greatness of -the financial responsibility involved, but your wise and comprehensive plan which you demonstrated so clearly to us enabled us to see how the work could be accomplished and also won our confidence in your ability to carry it to a successful termination . . . It is impossible in a short address to do more than to refer to the great amount of work which you accomplished in connection with the building, but you carried it out in a zealous and very whole hearted manner not sparing yourself in any way where the interests of the Church were concerned. This great undertaking required a large amount of your time and yet you did not neglect the higher interests of the congregation as you ministered to them in spiritual things from Sabbath to Sabbath).

A short time later, Mr. Doey was called to the charge of New Row Coleraine, where he exercised a much appreciated ministry until his retirement in 1948.


A short vacancy followed in Dromore, until a call was made out in favour of the Rev. Andrew Thompson. Mr. Thompson was the son of Mr. & Mrs. John Thompson of Broughshane. He was
educated at Ballymena Model School and Ballymena Academy. His College course was spent at Queen's College, Cork, and at Q.U.B. where he studied mental science. This he followed with a course in theology at Assembly's College, Belfast. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Ballymena in May 1909 and installed in September in the congregations of Tobermore and Knockloughrim. After 9 years in Tobermore, he was called to First Dromore, and took up residence in the Manse with his wife and two sons (Andrew and John, who became doctors).

Mr. Thompson brought many happy gifts to his ministry in Dromore. He showed an inborn sense of tact in his handling of Session and Committee meetings, and his eminent good sense was commented upon by parishioners and pastors alike. These gifts he exercised in wider ministries, being Moderator of Presbytery, and elected Moderator of the Synod of Belfast. To his people he showed a generous heart, and the Manse door was ever open to the needs of many, rich and poor alike. In the pulpit he displayed a thoroughness of preparation, and an enviable command of the English language and knowledge of Literature. He was interested in the young people, and he and his wife developed close ties with the Girls' Auxiliary and the Boys' Auxiliary. With Mr. Thompson's encouragement, one of these young people, Alfred Martin, went on to become a Minister of the Presbyterian Church. In later years Dr. Martin lost no opportunity of speaking of the debt he owed to the Rev. A. Thompson, who was a spiritual father to him. Speaking in 1969 at the dedication of a memorial tablet and furnishings in remembrance of Mr. Thompson he said "that without his inspiration, encouragement and practical help so freely and gladly given, my life must have been altogether different."

By means of this work they helped train a generation of people with a strong sense of loyalty to the Church. On his retirement, it is evident that the congregation deeply appreciated the humanity which had been shown them in many ways over the years.

During these years the life of the congregation was extended. The prayer life of 'the people continued in district prayer meetings, faithfully presenting the needs of the Church to the Almighty, in fellowship. There were also two district Sunday Schools. In 1921, the attendance at the morning worship was 510.


At this time attitudes to the musical ministry of the Church were beginning to change. Previously, only Psalms had been sung, unaccompanied. A Precentor, (for many years Schoolmaster McAlister) led the singing. I have referred above to the use of a piano at an earlier date, and the objections raised. However, with the passage of time, these feelings were overcome, and changes were made. In October 1921 it was agreed to use instrumental music at the Monday evening Harvest Service. Then, at a congregational meeting in September 1924, it was agreed to use such accompaniment at all the services in future. Later on in 1935-1936, a pipe organ was installed. The new organ was built by Messrs. Evans and Barr, Belfast. It is a two manual and pedal instrument of 27 stops and 17 accessories. The casing is American Oak, and the whole cost just over �l100 to install. This organ is still in use, and has been favourably remarked upon by many organists. It was under the special care of Mr. Samuel Wethers from 1949, in which year he was appointed as organist and choirmaster. Known over a wide area of countryside as a music
teacher, Mr. Wethers faithfully served the congregation until his sudden death in April 1980. During these years he gave generously of his time and his talent to train the generations in the praises of the Lord, and to lead the worship reverently each Sunday. Seldom was he absent from the organ consul or from his beloved choir.


During the 1920's the Rev. W. P. Nicholson was becoming well-known in Ulster, and further afield, and interest was expressed in Dromore for bringing him to preach here. A United Committee was set up in the town, and the use of First Dromore building for the Services was requested. This was granted, and the Services were held from 4th June to 2nd July 1922. The stipulation was made that there would be no instrumental music. Leading up to, and during the Mission, united prayer meetings were held weekly in the two Presbyterian, the Episcopal, and the Methodist Churches, where `the Lord's people poured out their hearts for a revival of the work of God in Dromore and vicinity.'

The Alexander hymn book was used in the Services, and people crowded into the meetings from miles around. Often Mr. Nicholson would preach for an hour and a quarter, on such subjects as . . . `The Life that burns and Shines' . . . `Hell' . . . `The Unpardonable Sin' . . . `How do I know that I am saved.' Says the Leader . . . `Mr. Nicholson preached with all the intensity and moral indignation of the Old Testament prophets. He denounced all sins and shams, and yet he is so tender and human, and the wooing note is so manifest that he captures the mind and heart and conscience of his hearers.'

Such a ministry could not but bring blessing to many lives, and so it was. Many people professed conversion, and a great work was done. A Christian Endeavour Society in connection with First Dromore and Banbridge Road congregations was established to help the new converts grow and mature in their faith. This continued for some years.

It is always a healthy thing for a congregation to look beyond its own interests, and this is probably most effectively done when one of its members becomes involved in a wider work. In November 1924, Mr. T. J. Martin, son of Mr. Augustus Martin, was ordained to the Ministry in First Dromore. He had plans to go to the Mission Field, and after his ordination he travelled to China, and worked in Manchuria until 1929, when he returned to minister in England.

Toward the close of his ministry, Mr. Thompson was dogged by ill-health, and he sought assistance in the parish work. He found this in Mr. D. H. S. Armstrong, who was later ordained for special work with Scripture Union in Northern Ireland. Mr. Thompson's days of active ministry were obviously drawing to a close, and he retired in November 1951. He moved to Larne where he and his wife lived until their deaths in 1968 and 1974 respectively.