First Lisburn Presbyterian Church

Despair to resurrection
Compiled by Wm Richer





Clerks of Session

1946 Gerald B. Leonard

1969 Norman G. White


Members of session


Ordained since 1960



1961 Geo. Alister W. A. McIlmoyle 1972  D. Thompson
A. J. Beatty Mrs. L. McKinney 1986  Mrs. R. Hanson (a.m.)
W. I. Craig D. L. Morrison R. A. Megraw (p.m.)
H. S. Eaton R. Mulholland 1987  R. Morrow
G. McCleery W. J. Rosbotham
W. C. McClenahan I. Rutledge
S. S. Snowden C. W. Suffern
N. G. White
1980  J. Davis
1963 E. McClure Mrs. J. I. Moran
E. F. Parks
1964 J. S. Anderson R. P. Reid
V. Boyd C. H. Staniland
J. Hunter J. G. F. Watt
T. Latimer
I. Norwood 1982  Mrs. E. Watt
J. Russell
1985  P. R. A. Lynn
1969 J. Young R. J. Lynn
I. A. Nicol
1971 N. Crossley Miss M. Perry
R. Davidson W. Richer
V. Halliday R. J. Stevens
W. Hodkinson J. S. Thompson
R. W. C. Kirkwood, O.B.E.
W. McCrory
R. Nicholson
1972 1. Millar
1975 E. Bell 1962  W. I. Craig
Miss S. Boyd 1968  W. J. Cowan
J. L. Boyle 1974 W. A. McIlmoyle
Mrs. N. Boyle
Mrs. E. P. Crossley TREASURERS
1. Glasgow 1964 H. A. Duff
J. Hasley
1982 R. J. Lynn
Miss E. Hunter
Miss M. E. Kennedy, M.B.E. ORGANISTS
T. Kinkead
Mrs. M. Latimer 1960  J. C. Burns
R. M. S. McCall 1965  J. S. Mercer
E. McClenahan 1967  R. A. Megraw

Members of Congregational Committee

W. C. McClenahan H. A. Duff R. N. Collins, 0.B.E
J. L. Boyle H. S. Eaton N. G. White


1961 S. L. Davison I. Glasgow   S. Graham
J. Manderson J. Hasley   Mrs. N. D. Hamilton
W. J. L. McBride Miss E. Hunter W. J. Kerr
J. Parry T. Kinkead   Mrs. H. M. Kinkead
J. Russell Mrs. J. I. Moran Mrs. M. Lennox
J. Wilson E. McClenahan Mrs. H. Lynn
W. A. McIlmoyle R. C. Patrick
1964 T. G. Donaldson Mrs. W. McCartney E. Scott
J. N. Greenlee D. Morrison S. J. Smith
V. Halliday Mrs. I. Speer Mrs. M. A. Staniland
C. Suffern C. Suffern R. J. Taggart
R. E. Watson
1965 E. Bell 1986 Miss V. McOuoid
N. McFarland 1977 I. S. Bell
L. Reford B. Cheyne
J. H. Starritt P. G. McCall
E. F. McNeight
1967 J. McAllister
R. Nicholson 1981 C. Adams
R. W. C. Kirkwood, O.B.E. Miss D. Burns
D. Irwin
1968 H. G. Magill Mrs. M. Killiner
W. J. Ross W.Lennox
R. J. Lynn
1970 W. McCrory P. R. A. Lynn
Mrs. E. Conn W. McAllister
Mrs. P. Crossley C. W. B. McKay
Mrs. E. Eaton T. D. Mitchell
Mrs. H. A. Frazer D. Moffett
Mrs. M. Latimer 1. A. Nicol
Mrs. B. McCrory Miss M. Perry
Mrs. I. White W. Richer
1971 R. Baillie R. B. Shaw
J. Boyd A. G. Speer
C. Houston D. Starritt
W. Hodkinson J. S. Thompson
R. M. S. McCall S. M. Wilson
R. Rodgers
1985 D. J. Bell
1974 Mrs. N. Boyle Mrs. M. Carson
R. C. Brown Miss M. H. Craig
J. Gibson E. A. Cromie  

The Resurrection Window

On Sunday 3rd May 1987 a new window was dedicated by the moderator of the General Assembly, The Right Reverend Professor John Thompson, B.A., B.D., Ph.D.

It has been designated `The Resurrection Window" and was ( commissioned by the Congregational committee. It bears the following inscription:

"This window is a memorial of the bomb-blast of5th August 1981 and the subsequent restoration of our church and halls. It is a tribute to our neighbours in shops and offices and their will to overcome disaster. It is an echo of the motto of this town: "EX IGNE RESURGAM" (I will arise from the fire"). It is a witness to our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the centre is the orb of the earth, surrounded by the red of human suffering, injury, sin and sorrow. But overcoming this are startling shafts of light radiating outwards like a great cosmic explosion. This symbolises the Resurrection of our Lord recapitulated in the spirit of the congregation, town and province rising from the ashes of destruction.

Around it all are woven palm branches of victory and of peace.

Here and there small triangles of light may be seen as splinters of flying glass or the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit.

Almost all of this new window is constructed from fragments of the old windows which could not otherwise be re-used.

It is our congregation's memorial of a past event. It is a proclamation of our faith in the victory of righteousness, love and life itself over the powers of darkness and of death."

Window devised and executed by
Mr. James Watson,
James Watson Stained Glass,
Falcon Road, Adelaide Industrial Estate, Belfast.


Three hundred years ago First Lisburn received its first minister; since then fifteen others have been summoned to serve God and the congregation.

Each has made his contribution to our history to the best of his ability in accordance with the circumstances of his time. To each and every one of them we are grateful for the splendid heritage they have left for our

enjoyment; a heritage not only enshrined in our church as a building but one of a faith which has proudly shone throughout those years. First Lisburn in its long, chequered history has undergone periods of turbulence and peace, sorrow and joy, trauma and tranquility and has survived, indeed been strengthened, by all the various facets of its lifetime.

To all those who have in any way contributed to this history we of the present congregation are most grateful; for that which they have left is the base upon which we and our successors can build an even stronger Church.

I have no doubt that under our present minister, The Rev. R. J. Gordon Gray, B.A., B.D., D.Min. (Prin.) the congregation will, inspired by his faith, guided by his wisdom and led by his example of devotion and care, raise First Lisburn to even greater heights than have been achieved before.

My work in compiling this brief up-dating of our history has ended. In the years ahead, when our future becomes the past, others will take up the pen to continue the record of our church. May the years of which they write be more peaceful than those we have recently lived through and may they be able to record progress towards a community living in harmony with each other and of a strengthening of the bonds of Christian fellowship between all people.

There is a challenge to the present congregation to work towards this end, using the historic mark of this Tercentenary as a springboard for all that has to be done in the years ahead. We must ensure that when our time is examined it will be seen that the congregations of the 1980"s and beyond were not found wanting.

The study of history however helps us discern a higher hand and a wiser mind than our own at work in the affairs of Church and world. Therefore, while we pay tribute to the members and leaders whose steadfastness in past centuries and in our own time have maintained the work and witness of this old congregation, we recognise with gratitude the grace of God forgiving the Church's errors, the love of Christ sustaining the Church's life and the power of the Holy Spirit renewing the Church's vision in every era.

For the future there are plans for major reconstruction of the church halls to enable them to be used by all organisations; primarily those connected with the church but open to all. Our planned Christian Education programme from Sunday School through to the various Youth Organisations; our work for Overseas Missions, our programme of Outreach to spread the gospel far afield will require more than a beautiful church and an historic past.

The passion and fervour of the congregation for this work will be fully utilised and as it is expended for each task, so, with God's help, it will be renewed again and again - Ardens Sed Virens.

Wm. Richer


Items from the work of and articles by the late Mr. Ivan Craig have been used throughout this volume. Those connected with its production are most grateful to Mrs. Isobel Craig for so readily allowing us full use of Ivan's work. The results of his many years of research have proved to be most valuable to us.

I am personally grateful to all those who have been contributors to the text and particularly so to Dr. Gray for producing such excellent photographs of our windows.

Behind the scenes there have been numerous helpers, researching information, remembering details and providing facts for inclusion in the text. May I ask them collectively to accept my thanks for there are too many to name individually. The Clerk of Session, Mr. Norman White, members of Session and Committee deserve special mention, firstly for giving their initial approval to this project but, more importantly to me, for their faith in me and for their continued encouragement throughout.

It has been particularly pleasing that those in the commercial world connected with the design and production have shown such a keen interest in their work; an interest far beyond that which one could normally expect. To Johnston Yarr and Sam McCrossan of Allprint Graphics, to Jim Morgan and Kurt Coleman of The Ideal Setting and The Ideal Design I extend the thanks of the congregation of First Lisburn.

I extend those thanks also to Mr. Keys (Ulster Bank, Lisburn), Mr. Gumming (Allied Irish Bank, Lisburn), Mr. Peel (T.S.B., Lisburn, Mr. Smyth (Northern Bank), Mr. Walter Williams (Lisburn Borough Arts Advisory Council) and Mr. David McAlpine (J. D. Martin & Company) for the financial support which has enabled us to market this book at a price within everyone's reach.

This has truly been a First Lisburn production and I am deeply honoured to have had the privilege of being so closely associated with the entire work.

"To God be the Glory"

Wm. Richer