Maze Presbyterian Church

A Short History
Rev. Thomas Dunn B.A. 1949



Part 3


Ordination and first Visitation.

  After the death of Mr. Wham the following were appointed to take charge of the Congregation, and to take the necessary steps for the settlement ; viz. Revs. Gamble, Hamilton, Mitchell, Breakey, Steele, and S. Graham (Convener).

  At a Meeting of this Commission on 10th April, 1900, it was reported that a unanimous call had been made in favour of Mr. Thomas Dunn, B.A., a licentiate of the Glendermott Presbytery, and that he had accepted the call, and had here appointed constant supplier; and that his ordination had been appointed for the 2nd May, 1900,


  At a Meeting of the Presbytery on 2nd May, 1900, in Maze Presbyterian Church at which there was a large attendance of Ministers and Members of the Church and District, the Rev. Josias Mitchell, Moderator pro. tem. presided. Rev. Mr. McNeill (Drumbo) preached. Rev. Mr. Steele (Hillsborough) explained. The Moderator put the usual questions to Mr. Dunn, who having satis�factorily answered them and having subscribed the Westminster Confession of Faith in terms of the Assembly's formula, was ordained to the office of the Ministry, and appointed to the pastoral oversight of the Congregation of Maze, by prayer and laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.

 Rev. Samuel Graham (Moira) and the Rev. Moses Logan (Rathfriland) led in the devotions. The Rev. Alexander Dobbin (Boardmills) then addressed the Minister and the people on their respective duties. The Meeting was closed with the benediction, and the Min�isters and friends of the Congregation adjourned to the Schoolroom where a splendid luncheon was prepared for them.

  The next fact we find about the Maze was the appointing of an interim Session, consisting of Rev. S. Graham, Rev. W. S. Steele, and Rev. T. Dunn, (Conven�er) together with Dr. Thompson and Mr. Thomas McGeown (Moira). ,

  A short time after this Mr. Dunn asked the Presby�tery to appoint the following Ministers, Revs. Graham, Hamilton, Gamble, Steele, and Dunn, a Committee to consider the nature of the security of the �400 collected by the late Rev. R. When for the Congregation, and which, before his death, Mr. Graham had got him to leave to the congregation, and also to confer with the following brethren who had been elected for the elder�ship of the Maze Church; viz:‑Messrs. Robert John Campbell, Samuel Lyttle, and William James Greer, and if they approve to arrange for their ordination and summon the Presbytery.

  At a Meeting of the Presbytery in Moira on 7th May, 1901, it was agreed that the commission re the elders, meet at Maze on Friday, 10th inst., for their ordination. The Rev. Mr. Breakey to preach, the Rev. Mr. Steele to expound, the Rev. Mr. Dunn to ordain, and the Rev. Mr. Gamble to give the address.

1st Visitation of Maze in Mr. Dunn's time took place on 6th May, 1902. Messrs. R. J. Campbell, and W. J. Greer had been appointed to represent the session, and Messrs. S. Lyttle and John Matier the Congregation. The late Rev. Mr. Whan collected �400; �150 of which was taken to pay the debt to the Board of Works, the remainder, �250 was invested and the interest to be paid to the Minister.

  The following are a few short accounts of Presbytery Meetings - At Railway Street, Lisburn on 12th April, 1904, Rev. Thomas Dunn, B.A. was appointed Moderator of Presbytery for the year.

  Visitation of Maze on 3rd May, 1910. Rev. Robert Kelso, Moderator of Presbytery, presided. Messrs. Campbell and Lyttle represented the Session. Messrs. Strong and Jamison represented the committee. The Finding-- "The Presbytery are much gratified at the evidences of prosperity in the Maze Congregation under the faithful ministry of their brother, Mr. Dunn. They are pleased to find that under the care of the Committee the Church property is in excellent condition, and the congregation free of debt, that the elders and committee cordially co-operate with the Minister in the work of the Congregation; that the young are carefully instructed by capable teachers in the Sabbath-School, and in the Ministers Bible-Class; and that the Psalmody of the Church was efficiently conducted by the Choir. The Presbytery thinks that in view of the prosperity of the Congregation, the Committee should make an effort to increase the Minister's stipend, and they recommend the Session to consider at an early date the desirability of having new, elders appointed. It is a great gratification to the Presbytery to find the Congregation in such a healthy condition, and the minister so esteemed by his people and so zealous in every good work and they pray that more and more God's work may prosper among then, and old and young receive blessing through Mr. Dunn's Ministry.

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It is told of Emil Ludwig, the prolific writer, that early in his career he took a fancy to a little house at Ascona and acquired it, and a fascinating story is related about it. Gradually as the owner's books had bigger sales he added to the dwelling and also became possessor of more and more of the adjacent mountain till he had the title to nearly all its long slope. With the success of every book the house of his dreams took larger shape. One volume furnished a music room, another added a library, and so on.

It is pleasant to see some cherished property or pro�ject improve and increase. The acquisitive instinct expresses itself in various ways, but surely it is never more innocently or creditably exercised than when it seeks, with an eye to God's glory, to build up Bethel and accumulate ever better ways and means of worship and fellowship.

  Over the years we set ourselves now this objective, and that. A teacher's residence was felt to be a necessity, and with the proceeds of a sale of work, one was built at Hook's Corner.

  Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Campbell gave a new Choir Seat and Communion Table, demonstrating in this practical way their attachment to Maze Church.

  The Church ceiling inside was beautifully finished in pitch pine. The graveyard was mapped out. The Manse and its grounds were improved to a diversity of ways. In 1915 Mrs. Dunn's father - the late Mr. Hugh Wallace McCammon of Portadown - presented an American organ. It is interesting to recall how it came to be installed. Mr. Campbell led the Church praise and was a very punctual and regular attender. One evening however, he didn't turn up. Hurriedly Mrs. Dunn and I drew up a list of praise items. The first Psalm was duly announced and the singing began. Half way through the opening stanza there was a hitch - the choir came to a halt. I had wedded a long measure tune to a short measure psalm! Another psalm had to be selected, and we went ahead. Mrs. Dunn, however, was so upset that she vowed we must have a harmonium of some sort. No time was lost that week in placating possible objectors, and by next Lord's Day the organ was in its place!

  We had usually a good choir. When Mr. John Vine was organist at Hillsborough, he came and conducted singing classes in which many from round about parti�cipated. It was a great day when "The Crucifixion" was rendered. Later Mr. McClelland from Lisburn conducted a junior singing class. Once at Portadown Musical Festival they gained second place, being only a mark behind Mr. McClelland's choir from Lisburn.

In the Autumn of 1996 electric light was installed in Church, manse and school, the plant being in the manse yard. Mrs. Dunn bore the expense, and desired that

the installation be a monument to her father and her husband.

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  Lord Holder, the eminent physician, on his seventy�-sixth birthday, addressed a gathering of friends who had come to do him honour. Referring to his career he went on to say his achievements were not due only to his own skill and effort - his fellow practitioners merited some of the praise -  If on the whole it has not been a bad job, you have the credit; if it has lacked any merit, yours is partly the blame. For individualist as I am, I could only make my contribution by keeping in step with the rest of you. Apart from a genius here and there who blazes the trail, this is the case with all of us - the advance is made by the army as a whole, not by the soldier singly."

  Paul acknowledged his deep indebtedness to those who shared his journeys and his toils. He speaks in Colossians 4:11 of fellow-workers unto the Kingdom who were a comfort, to him - comrades who were a cordial. There are such everywhere in the service of the Kingdom. They have a tonic effect. Their presence and their words are a stimulus, putting heart into us. How much a minister owes to such. They are in every flock and they rejoice the pastor's spirit. We never lacked them in Maze. Their loyal co-operation was very valuable. From among them all I must select two for explicit and special mention, because of the office they held which brought them into very close association with myself, and because of the intrinsic excellence of their characters which made them to be pillars of strength in the sanctuary.

One of these was Robert John Campbell, of Poplar Vale, Magheragall, one of the best known and most highly respected residents of the district. He had great kindness of heart, simplicity of soul, transparency of character. He walked close to his God. Unlike the thief on the cross, he had not come back to the Lord with the last torn remnants of a mis-spent life. Unlike the prodigal, he did not go to the far country and there spend many of his best years, and come back with the sad burden of waste and loss. He gave his whole life to God. His was along life, nobly spent, starling early with Christ, keeping company with Him, and in His fellowship gaining in richness and mellowness till the close. If I were asked to sum up his character in one sentence I think it would be in these words: " Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile." The fifteenth psalm has been called "the gentleman's psalm," and the qualities it extols were all exemplified in Mr. Campbell. He had nothing to cover up, nothing to hide, what you saw him to be outwardly, that you might be sure he was to the core. And he credited everybody with his own deep sincerity, finding it hard to believe anything ill of his fellows. Like his Master he loved the children, delighting to encourage them with smiles, cheery words and gifts.

  A tablet commemorates him. It is thus inscribed "Erected by the Congregation in loving and grateful remembrance of Robert John Campbell, who died 17th May, 1926. For thirty years a zealous and devoted member, twenty-five of which were spent in consecrated service as ruling elder. `The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord'."

  In presence of a full Church, Mrs. Campbell unveiled the tablet. Mr. H. D. McClelland A.R.C.O. presided at the organ. Deceased's favourite paraphrase-the 66th, was sung. The ministers taking part were, Very Rev. R. W. Hamilton, M.A., D.D., Revs. H. G. Lilburn B.A., R.G. McFarland B.A., J. H. Orr B.A., D. S. Ker Coulter B.A., and Thomas Dunn B.A. The Rev. D. S. Ker Coulter, Mr. Campbell's oldest friend in the ministry, in a voice choking with emotion, delivered a panegyric describing Mr. Campbell as, "a real Nathanael, a man of great humility of spirit who ever chose the lowest place among his brethren. He was a Christian gentleman, brought up in a pious home. He early rendered himself to Christ. He loved his Church and Saviour and worked hard for the extension of the Redeemer's Kingdom. His fellow-worshippers had been influenced by his conduct, and the life he led had created a deep feeling among them and within them. He had loved God's house, and his rapt attention to every word was inspiration to the occupier of the pulpit."

  Mrs. Campbell was a true helpmeet and shared her husband's devotion to the sanctuary. She followed him within the veil, some years later, at a ripe age and after a spell of ill health, and she too was sorely missed.

  The other I must mention specially was Samuel Lyttle of "Laganbrae" who was for forty years an elder in the Maze. He acted as Congregational treasurer and when he had held this office for over a quarter of a century the members of committee presented him with a beautiful chiming clock, suitably inscribed, in recog�nition of his long and valued services. He passed away on 4th March, 1941. At a memorial service in the Church tributes were paid to his life and work by Revs. Parker and Dunn, the latter likening him to Elijah, -� he was no ordinary man, -a farmer whose acres were the envy of many-the best tilled and the heaviest croppers in the district; in daily work an example to all around of what a husbandman should be, . . and a sinner saved by grace. He loved his Saviour. He loved his Church. He loved to sing and talk of grace, for without grace he knew well there was no hope for any man. Oft enjoying his hospit�ality, sitting or kneeling by his sick bed, poring over the congregational accounts with him, I knew well where his heart and his love were. But he found the Christian life a strenuous thing, for in him the elements were divinely mixed in deepest colours, and he was, like Elijah, a man of moods, now elated on some Carmel, now dejected,  a man of extremes. It was his nature. Life to him was no easy jaunt; it was a wrestle; it was a fight but in the end it was always a triumph.

" A son of Wm. Lyttle of Parkview, Hillsborough, Samuel Lyttle had lived in his early days in Donacloney. On his marriage he came to reside at the Maze, and had spent 48 years there, all that time being intimately con�nected with the congregation and taking the deepest interest in its welfare. He had more than a little musical talent, and it rejoiced the minister's heart to hear him join so lustily in the old familiar psalms and hymns. He had a great affection for some of Sankey's pieces too. He had sat under Moody and Sankey at their revival meetings. Doubtless these pieces were bound up with precious memories of deep soul stirring experiences. A favourite was "In the sweet by and by", and it was fitting that it should be played by the organist, Miss Gladys McCarthy, at the memorial service. .

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