In May 1981 the Rev Eric Lewis informed the board
about the call and the acceptance of this call to Bangor Independent
Methodist Church. The farewell service for the Rev Lewis and his family
was held on Saturday 23rd May 1981.
At a meeting called in August 1981 a vote was taken
to call the Rev Robert McMurdock as "caretaker pastor". It was explained
that because the Rev McMurdock was ordained by O.M.S, and not the Church
of the Nazarene, they could not give him an official call at this time.
The vote was unanimous in favour and a welcome service for the Rev
McMurdock and his family was held on Friday 11th September 1981.
The Rev David Tarrant chaired the members meeting on
the 14th April 1982 and he informed them that the Rev McMurdock's
credentials were now recognised by the Nazarene Church and they could
now officially call him. Once again the vote was unanimous for the
The October 1983 board meeting was to hear of yet
another change in the pastorate of the church. Rev McMurdock announced
to the board that the Department of World Missions had invited him and
his family to serve as missionaries in Bangalore, India. Fie told the
board that he would be staying until the end of the year.
The Rev David Tarrant was the chairman at the board
meeting held on the 20th October 1983. He went on to explain that the
Rev David Thirkell from the South District had expressed to him some
time ago a willingness, as the Lord led, to come to Northern Ireland.
The board was asked to prayerfully consider the Rev Thirkell coming to
In November the Rev McMurdock explained to the board
about the delay in receiving his missionary appointment and the District
Superintendent had asked him to stay on until the end of January 1984.
On Sunday 15th January 1984 the Rev David Thirkell
preached to the congregation with a view to a call.
At the beginning of February 1984 the farewell
service for the Rev McMurdock and his family was held. The service was
conducted by the Rev Bert Kelly from the Desertmartin Church. The
appointment to India was not to be. The McMurdock family went on to
At the Annual General Meeting on the 22nd February
1984 a vote was taken, on the recommendation by the church board, to
invite the Rev David Thirkell to become the minister of the Lisburn
Church. A large majority voted in favour.
Another form of outreach was commenced in the church
in 1984. This time it was to cater for the senior citizens of the
community and it was called the "Silver Liners" with Walter Jess snr as
the director and he was to be assisted by Mrs Jess, Mrs Kerr and Mr
Church Holiday In Wales 1986
During the period between the Rev McMurdock's
departure and the Rev Thirkell's arrival, the Rev Noel Sommerville, from
the Dromore Church, helped a great deal with visitation and any pastoral
needs of the church.
The induction service for the Rev David Thirkell and
his family was held on Saturday 20th October 1984 with the Rev David
Tan-ant in charge.
The second part of the 80's saw some of our young
people going to various Bible Colleges. In July 1985 Brian Spence
received confirmation of acceptance into the Faith Mission training
college. His valedictory service was held on Wednesday 25th September
1985. Brian and his family are now serving with the Faith Mission in
1986 saw another one of our young people heading off
to Faith Mission training college. Deborah Hodgen had her valedictory
service on Wednesday 1st October. before her departure.
In May 1987 it was agreed by the board to go ahead
with tarmacing the church car park at a cost of £4,400.
At the same meeting Pastor Thirkell informed the board
about the appointment of the Rev Harry Stevenson to work in Greystones,
in the South of Ireland. It was decided that the Lisburn Church would
provide financial assistance. The board also decided that with God's
help and leading the church would endeavour to raise £2,500 per year for
a four year period.
A mini evangelistic campaign was held from 21st to
25th November 1987 with the new District Superintendent, Rev John Paton
as the special speaker.
In January 1988 a young trainee pastor by the name of
Edward Davies from the Nazarene college came to the church to do his
assistantship for three months.
At the Annual General Meeting in 1988 Mr Cook
informed the meeting of his desire to relinquish the treasurers post
after 27 years. He and Mrs Cook received gifts and a prolonged standing
August 1988 saw another valedictory service. This
time it was the turn of Mark Braithwaite and was held on Sunday 14th
before his departure for Nazarene college.
A special members meeting was called in September
1988. Mrs Thirkell informed the membership that the first annual
commitment of £2,500 had been forwarded to Mission Headquarters in
Kansas city four months in advance and that £794 had already been raised
toward the second year's commitment.
From the 2nd to the 16th October 1988 a mission was
conducted by the Rev Sam Workman. The mission was very well attended.
The mighty presence of God was felt and many were blessed and renewed
under the preaching and teaching of the Rev Workman.
In November 1988 a new Alter rail was fitted and
dedicated in memory of the late Rev Bert Kelly.
In February 1989 the board agreed to set up a student
support fund for those going to Bible college. The scheme was to be
called the "Rev Kelly Memorial Student Support Fund" in memory of the
Rev Bert Kelly who went home to be with the Lord in September 1988.
Those going to college would receive 20% of their college course fees
from the fund, this sum being paid directly to the college.
At the Annual General Meeting in 1990 Mrs Thirkell
informed the members that there was only £982.14 left to pay from the
four year commitment to the Greystones Church and that this was
approximately 18 months ahead of schedule. The Rev Thirkell also
informed the meeting that he and his wife felt led of God to move to the
Southwest of England and embark on a church planting programme including
oversight of the Church in Brixham.
For the first time ever, the District Assembly was
held in Northern Ireland. The venue was Railway Street Presbyterian
The District Superintendent, Rev John Paton, met with
the church board on the 14th February 1990 to discuss a new pastor. He
asked the board to invite the Rev Albert Griffith to Lisburn to preach
with a view to a call. The Rev Griffith preached on Sunday 4th March at
both services. At the members meeting on the 26th March the Rev Griffith
received a majority vote in favour of being called. The induction
service for the Rev Griffith and his family (including their new
arrival, Deborah) was held on Saturday 30th June 1990.
During the year the church board decided to pledge
the sum of £2,500 to the Donegal Road Church over a twelve month period.
Also in May 1990 the Rev Bill Dunn conducted a
mission. The mission was very well attended and his subjects included
his own testimony and "Back masking"- satanic messages heard on some pop
songs when played backwards. He also learnt the church a new
chorus-"Don't give up you're on the brink of a miracle".
In June 1990 Rev Lown and his wife were invited to
take part in the Children's day Anniversary.
In 1991 while Mark Braithwaite was home for the
summer from Nazarene college he assisted in the church for five weeks.
Also during the summer of 1991 the Rev McMurdock, former Lisburn
minister, was back in the pulpit for one Sunday.
On Thursday 10th December 1991 a concert was arranged
by Samuel Purdy. It was "Christmas in the Country" performed by American
country gospel singer JerryArhelger.
Ian Lockhart was accepted in May 1992 for Faith
Mission training college. His valedictory service was held on 13th
September 1992. He is at present pastoring a Nazarene Church in
During the summer of 1992 the church had Tony Rice, a
college student, as an assistant for six weeks.
A Holiness convention was held from the 18th to 25th
October 1992 and the speaker was the Rev Denis Applebee. He brought with
him a boxed set of childrens stories on cassette which he had produced
and these were available for purchase to those present at the meetings.
During 1993 John Logue went to Emmanuel Bible
Miss Rachel McKinnon (now wife of Lisburn evangelist
Alan Bartley), a former Faith Mission pilgrim, conducted a mission in
September 1993 and had some assistance from Miss Esther Hewitt, her
colleague when she was in the Faith Mission.
Lisburn Church had Malcom Worsley, of the Phillippi
Trust in England, over from the 14th- 16th January 1994 to conduct
seminar type meetings.
At the 1994 A G.M the members were informed that this
was the fourth year of support for the Donegal Road Church in Belfast at
£2,500 per year and that in the last eight years the Lisburn Church had
given £20,000 to other churches.
Also in 1994 was the 40th Anniversary of the Lisburn
Church. Special services were held and old photographs and newspaper
cuttings were put up on display. Bibles with "40th Anniversary of the
Lisburn Church" were also made available for sale. Speakers at the
services included the Rev Paton, Rev Lewis, Rev Thirkell, Rev Crouch and
Donald Wilson. The Lisburn Council presented a plaque to the church on
During the early part of 1995 a number of members
left the church to start a new work.
As the Lord had blessed the ministry of Malcom
Worsley he was invited back to take a mission in the church during May
After much discussion and planning the "Noah's Ark"
playgroup opened up in September 1995. It was to run for four days a
week. The playgroup not only served the church children but also the
children of the local community.
There was a four week mission held from the 28th
April- 26th May 1996. Len Pickering conducted the mission. There was a
good response from the community and the mission went very well. Quite a
number received counselling during the mission.
In January 1997 we had a visit from an American
Nazarene choir and in May 1997 we had a two week mission with Brian
At the beginning of 1998, after starting a piano fund
the previous year, the church got a new piano.
On Saturday 5th September 1998 the church held an
open day with large displays and leaflets for each department. By all
accounts the open day went very well.
2000 TO THE PRESENT
During the millennium year a new outreach venture was
organised by outreach director Sam Perkins. A number of volunteers were
split up into teams of two and went door to door in the local community
distributing the "JESUS" video's and also following up those who had
accepted them. A large number were distributed and those who were
involved were both challenged and blessed.
In 2001, after a suggestion by board member Mrs
Maxwell, a telephone directory was put together for those in the church
by Joe Redmond.
Also during 2001 a committee was formed to look into
and report on renovations to be carried out coming up to the 50th
Anniversary. They reported back saying that the 28
work required ranged from roof repairs to floor
coverings. The Rev Sommerville was consulted about the extent of this
work and an estimated cost of approximately
One of the last Marches of Witness
for the Caravaners
£110,000 was given. A members meeting was called to
bring the cost of the renovations and the extent of them. After a lot of
discussion a vote was taken and the go-ahead to proceed was given.
A number of gospel concerts in aid of the building
fund were arranged including one in the new Lisburn Civic Centre
featuring George Hamilton IV, which incidentally was professionally
recorded and released on CD, and another three in the church featuring
the Emmanuel singers, Victor Hutchinson and "Speedy" Moore and The
Harvesters. The concerts raised over £2000 for the building fund.
During the summer of 2001 the church bus was
completely burned out by vandals. The fire damaged windows in the
sanctuary and there was also smoke damage to the sanctuary.
Sadly the Caravaners did not recommence in September
2001 due to no one being available to fill the position of Caravan
director. The Nazarene Young Peoples Saturday night meeting also did not
recommence due to no N.Y.I. leader.
In October 2001 the Sunday school time was changed to
10:15am after nearly 50 years at 3:00pm. This was done to try and
increase numbers at Sunday school. The change proved popular as there
was a notable increase in numbers. Bible class also recommenced after a
In June 2002 Samuel Purdy organised a music group for
the Sunday services. A set of drums was purchased solely from money
given specifically for that purpose. Other instruments used within the
group included acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitar, banjo
and mandolin. The group has progressed well with some of the younger
ones in the church becoming involved.
It was decided to purchase another bus for the church
as it was needed for the Sunday services and during the week.
Worship books for the children staying in during the
sermon were introduced in October 2002. These books were a gift from the
Gawler Church of the Nazarene, not far from the city of Elizabeth in
Also in October 2002 a new Junior Youth Group, headed
up by Edward and Deborah Pierce and a number of volunteers, was started
up on a Monday night from 6:30 - 7:30pm. The youth group has grown from
strength to strength and already a number of :he young ones from the
group have put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
By June 2003 the Noah's Ark playgroup was no longer a
part of the church programme.
Early in 2004 the church had a visit from another
American Nazarene college choir. They put on a full programme for the
church, which went very well and was enjoyed by everyone who attended.
As in previous years Vacation Bible School was held
in August 2004 with Joyce Walsh taking the meetings this year. One young
boy that we know of gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and
requested a Bible. Joyce brought him a Bible the next night and it was
reported that he marched out of the church, after the meeting was over,
with his Bible under his arm and a grin on his face from cheek to cheek.
Up to the present, September 2004, new windows have
been put into the sanctuary, the railings, gates and outside woodwork of
the church have been repainted. The large Sunday school room has also
been redecorated and new heaters fitted. The Vestry has been
redecorated, new carpet fitted and a new desk and chair put into place.
Plans for he refurbishment of the kitchen and the toilets have now been
drawn up and passed. Work will hopefully start in the near future. Colin
Duffy has been accepted for Nazarene college. His farewell service was
on Sunday 12th September.
By now, if you didn't already know, you will have
realised that over the last 50 years God has greatly blessed the Lisburn
Church by answering the prayers of its pastors and its people. The
generosity in the sacrificial giving of its people has been outstanding.
Over the years there have been so many people who
have helped out in some way, be it a Sunday school teacher, Caravan
helper, youth group helper, bus driver, tea maker or a helper in 101
other jobs. Their names may not have been mentioned in the pages of this
little book but they are every bit as much appreciated and God has seen
their endeavours and will reward those who have faithfully served Him.
Below are some of the names of those who have held
positions in the church.
Church Secretary's include Mr F. Carberry, Mr T.
Smyth, Mr W. Carson, Miss E. Best, Mr W. Creagan, Mr P. Wallace, Mr D.
Kelly, Mr J. King, Miss V. Redmond and Mr E.Pierce.
Church Treasurer's include Mr Purdy snr, Mr Orr,
Mr Cook, Mr Jess jnr and Mr Hawe.
Sunday School Superintendents include Rev Lown,
Mr E. Part, Mr T. Cook, Mr E. Crothers and Mr S. Purdy.
Caravan Directors include Mrs M. Lown, Mrs
Thomas, Mr S. Perkins, Miss M. Belshaw, Mr J. Elwood, Mr E. Crothers and
Mr K. Williamson.
N.Y.I Leaders include Rev Lown, Mr R. Davies,
Mr T. Crothers, Mr C. Morrison, Mr A. Robinson, Mr M. Shannon, Mr P.
Wallace, Mr D. Kelly, Mr S. Trotter, Mr E. Pierce Mr L. Crothers, and Mr
Missionary Presidents include Mrs M. Lown, Mrs A.
Thomas, Mrs E. Cook, Mrs A. Kelly and Mrs R. Griffith.
Mums and Toddler's include Mrs J. Thirkell, Mrs
D. Lawrence, Miss E. Williamson, Mrs R. Griffith, Mrs D. Pierce and Mrs
Silver Liners include Mr W. Jess snr, Mr H.
Trotter, Mr R. McClarnen, Mr D. Seeds, Miss E. Williamson and Mrs M.
Home Department includes Mrs S. McConkey, Miss V.
Redmond, Mr S. Perkins, Miss E. Williamson, Mr J and Mrs M. Redmond.
Organists and pianists include Miss E. Hawe, Miss
H. McBratney, Mrs H. Crothers, Mr P. Wallace, Mrs M. Jess, Miss L.
Redmond, Miss K. Collins, Mr S. Purdy and Mrs C. Collins.
The following poem was written by Mrs M. Purdy
especially for the 50th Anniversary.
In 1954 one August day
Two ministers came along the way
To pitch a tent in the field so green
The Lisburn Church of the Nazarene.
We watched with wonder as those men worked
Through the day and through the night
Working through storm, wind and rain
These men of God they did prevail.
The land was bought through much prayer
With love and labour the people shared
They gave the time of what they had
To build and erect a house of God.
A little wooden hall was built
And many came to worship in it
Finding peace through Christ our Lord
Listening to pastor Lown proclaim God's word.
Many souls were saved back then
And some of them have gone to glory
Some have gone across the sea
Many stayed at home to see.
The church completed as it is today
Finding joy and peace along the way
Some remember that day with me
When four men crossed the Irish sea.
From England's fair land they came
To Ireland's shores in Jesus name
There was James Green, Cliff Filer; John Crouch
Pastor Albert Lown they loved so much.
So praise the Lord for 50 years
Four men of God carne across the sea
To build a church on your grass so green
The Lisburn Church of the Nazarene.
The last part of the booklet deals with the
ministers of the Lisburn Church with their own
contributions where stated.
REV ALBERT LOWN
AUGUST 1954 TO JANUARY 1960
Albert Lown was born on August 30th 1908. In the early 1930's Mr Lown
became involved with the "Trekker's". For those who don't know what a
trekker is, they were teams of young men who walked Britain's country
roads and city streets proclaiming the gospel and they played a part in
extending the work of the International Holiness Mission between the
years of 1928 and 1936.
In 1936 Mr Albert Lown was ordained into the
ministry. By 1943 he was pastoring in West Hartlepoole. From 1944 to
1954 Rev Lown pastored in the Bolton Church.
As has already been stated, the Rev Lown and a team
of Nazarene ministers conducted a tent mission, in Lisburn, in 1954.
The following article about the Rev Lown was written
by church member Edward Crothers.
This servant of God became many things to many
people. A sampling would include Enabler, Visitor, Evangelist,
Encourager, Estimator, Counsellor, Pastor, and Friend.
These were hallmarks of his personality and
ministry at each location where he laboured, but these comments must
necessarily be seen in the context of his ministry in the Lisburn
As an Enabler he was vigorous in planning
and preparation and always had thought a thing through and checked its
viability before embarking on, or suggesting to others, a course of
action. An example of this is seen in his securing from an Insurance
Company a Third Party Policy to protect the Church against any claims
for injury or damage during the construction stages of the building
project at Warren Gardens.
As far as one can recall, (apart from blisters and
minor cuts etc) there were no significant injuries sustained by anyone
during the construction of Phase One of the property, but upon the last
task of work on his last day in Lisburn, Rev Lown sustained a very nasty
injury to a finger. He had procured the "God is Love" finial to replace
the "flame shaped emblem" which was originally mounted on the "Spire".
While using the ladder a large skelf from its edge entered the base of
his finger and penetrated almost its entire length. There was just time
to dash to the Lagan Valley Hospital for necessary treatment en route to
the boat for the journey to Paisley, there to commence his next
ministry. Accidents of course are painful, but his attitude to this one
was, "Whichever way the wind blows God is love".
Visitor-He came to Lisburn at a time when
there was a strong sense amongst Christian people for the need of
revival. He did not come alone as has been stated, but he consented to
return and spearhead the formation of a Holiness Work in the town. There
was ample opportunity to witness in the open-air, in hospital
visitation, and particularly through home visitation. A busy man will
always find time to do what is necessary. With a full ministry to
facilitate (2x Sunday sermons, Sunday School to oversee, Caravan, Youth
Club, Prayer Meeting, Missionary Meeting, Sal night Young People's
Meeting and a Building Project to implement), some visits were done
after building work, finished at night, or before people went
to work in the morning. Those who say today that a prayer breakfast is a
new idea weren't around in the late fifties! This congregation was built
on visitation and frequent half nights and all nights of prayer.
Evangelist-Evangelism occurred naturally as
this servant of God presented a winsome personality to complete
strangers, and shared with them his love for the Lord, their need for
the same Saviour, and his own vision for a Church at Warren Gardens.
Evangelistic work was not restricted to N. Ireland, he twice visited
America during his pastorate at Lisburn. One of these trips was during a
period of severe winter weather in the Boston area, but he found time to
visit with relatives of a Lisburn family, and was used of the Lord in
speaking to a man on his deathbed and praying with him in regard to his
salvation. Truly he was a man with an Evangelists love for the lost, and
a Pastors heart for service.
Encourager-Encouragement was a strong
feature of his personality. Everywhere he went he encouraged those he
met. Smartly dressed as a Pastor he would speak appropriately to a
member or adherent, then a quick visit home to change into dungarees,
and a short time later he would be showing a pre-teen what needed doing
on the site that evening, before organising the adult labour for their
tasks. Regular checks to see how things were progressing usually
included the phrase "My you've done well", or, "when you finish that I
would like you to do such or such another thing". Men who thought they
could not build concrete block in a straight and plumb manner were soon
shown how it was done and then were given the opportunity to learn in
the school of experience. Rev Lown's musical ability was also an
encouragement, whatever task was being tackled it always went better
with a rousing hymn or a lilting chorus. "Then sings my soul my Saviour
God to Thee, how great thou art! how great Thou art!" or some other
favourite was often accompanied by the voices of several men from
various parts of the site, and with the rhythm of several hammers.
A Sunday School Outing required hectic food
preparation the night before and also on the day itself. Fridges were
still a luxury then. Catering was usually for at least two bus loads at
about 60-70 pupils per bus. Pastor and staff would have been tired even
before the trip commenced, but that did not prevent an interest being
taken in each pupil to ensure that they enjoyed their day out. A
leisurely swim was out of the question- there were too many children
needing to be got away from the rail into deeper water where the Pastor
then taught them to float. For some that required the ultimate brand of
Estimator. In the building project the
thought of wastage was horrific. The Lords money was not to be
squandered. Materials were obtained with as much discount as possible,
and in quantities just sufficient for the job in hand. Transport and
delivery charges were avoided if at all possible; equipment was often
borrowed rather than hired. God provided countless answers to prayer to
enable the project to progress. It was not all man's organisation,
although Rev Lown's sheer skill as an estimator certainly had a marked
effect on reducing the costs incurred. Even given the management
training and .computer assistance available these days, it is extremely
hard to find a construction site so free of wastage as his site was.
Do you know the story of how Rev Lown took two
other men in his Ford Eight car to a Belfast timber yard, to purchase an
especially long piece of timber purlin needed that day. There was some
difficulty with the delivery facility offered so the solution was that
the sun-roof of the car was opened (yes cars had sun-roofs even in those
days, and what's more, we even had sun during summer time!) and the
purlin was manhandled into position with its lower end wedged against
the edge of the rear seat and the floor; while the top end was some.
fifteen feet or so above the ground. The two men then crushed into the
back, but sat on the lower portion of the purlin to steady it. Their
combined weight also helped to keep the rear wheels in contact with the
road. Much prayer ascended to request a safe journey and an absence of
Police patrols. Both these requests were granted, and when Dunmurry was
reached a detour from the main road along The Cutts and the Pond Park
Road avoided the low bridge hazard at Derriaghy. Would you have done
that with your car to ensure that the building progress was maintained?
Another anecdote- the occasion, a barbeque in the
countryside somewhere around the area of Reid's Corner and Ravarnett.
Several cars from church were involved. Pastors Ford Eight to the fore
but with just about enough fuel to do about 3/4 of the journey. On the
way home every downhill section of road was freewheeled, but by the time
the top of Carnbane Hill was reached the fuel gauge needle was hard on
the stop at the empty end of the scale. One of the four occupants of the
back seat, on being whispered to by their "close" relative regarding the
situation delved into their purse and offered the Pastor some money for
fuel. The swiftly expressed "Thank you! You don't know how timely and
fortuitous your offer is." had just about registered before the car
trundled into Johnny Palmer's filling station at Sprucefield. Rev Lown
always allowed room in his estimates for the operation of faith in God's
provision, and God never let him down. Praise Him!
Counsellor. As with every Pastor; the
opportunity to offer counsel would present itself on a regular basis.
Confidentiality is often an integral and essential element of such
activity. Actual examples cannot therefore be sited, but people have
expressed their appreciation of the time and effort expended by Rev Lown
on their behalf.
Pastor. Specific methods were found to
ensure that all age ranges received nurture from his ministry. He had
skill as a preacher in the simple fluent communication of the Gospel.
His ministry included a well-balanced mix of doctrine, challenges to
holy living and helpful illustrations to demonstrate the application of
scripture. When occasion required, any word of rebuke or warning was
graciously imparted. Humour would be used occasionally but never
excessively, and never as an end in itself. His care and concern for
children and teens was a formative element in the introduction of the
Nazarene Caravan Ministry to the Lisburn Church. This was the first in
Northern Ireland, and first on the North District of the British Isles.
Parties for Christmas were also an all age event
with age graded items, and items for everyone. It was here that humour
did play a large part in the programme, and lots of organisation and
arranging was done by Rev Lown.
The Church Holiday was a strenuous activity, which
he threw himself into several times for the benefit of those who risked
a long journey in coach or boat. Locations such as Graystones (Eire),
Ramsey (IOM), Rothsey (Isle of Bute), and Abergelly (N. Wales) all
spring to mind. Each holds particular memories of fun times and
devotional worship, which combined to produce spiritual growth, and
His insights in seeking to reach people in an all
round way multiplied his challenges and his opportunities as a Pastor.
It also multiplied the effort and input required by him. Rev Lown never
was and never became a slacker- he was a member of the Cliff College
Trekkers. Have you read the booklet entitled "The story of Trekking"
which he has written? It gives a brief description of the challenges
faced and overcome by those involved in that ministry. It was a very
formative influence for good upon the lives and characters of the team.
It is not surprising that he progressed in ministry to become a much
sought after convention speaker He also was on the Editorial Committee
dealing with the Sunday School Adult Curriculum material printed at
Nazarene Publishing House in Kansas City.
One of his final visits to Lisburn included some
free time on the Saturday, so he arranged a lift to Desertmartin to view
the progress of the new Church being built. He was not there five
minutes till he had a saw in his hand and was busy helping cutting
timber for the ceiling!
Friend. Not every Englishman coming to
Ireland endears himself to the population, and not every person on the
island is disposed to become a friend towards English visitors. But
Lisburn's status as a garrison town put it in a league of its own in
welcoming the English, Scots and Welsh Nationals. Additionally, true
Christianity admits no discrimination. Each unregenerate person is to be
shown the love of God, and every regenerated person is to be treated as
a member of God's adopted family Thus it became the case that many
people within and outside of the Nazarene denomination befriended Rev
Lown. He had a particular regard for the Charter Members of the Lisburn
Church, and retained an interest in them and contact with them over the
During his ministry and calling as a church
planter, Rev Lown was also a husband and father. He performed the latter
roles with the same energy, drive and sincerity as he gave to his
ministry. As a family the entire household enhanced the testimony of the
church. Mrs Lown being a hard working, talented member of the team,
never shrank from participating/leading in many of the programmes
/activities in the Church. John, Margaret and Peter were typically happy
young people who shared their parent's good looks and intelligence, and
had good relationships across the congregation. Rev and Mrs Lown were
justifiably proud of their family.
Having enjoyed his teaching and encouragement
since the formation of the Lisburn Church, and having been blessed by
the convention challenges of his return visit to Lisburn in his elder
statesman years, it can be safely stated that he was most deserving of
the honour he earned. He exemplified in every sense the title "Doctor A.
J. Lown". That he remained, as always the humble hard working servant of
God is not a surprise, for after all, he had spent his lifetime
perfecting that skill.
Lisburn Church is thankful for the great start he
gave to them.
Rev Lown and his family left Lisburn in January 1960
and went to pastor the Church in Paisley, Scotland. He remained in
Paisley until 1968. Rev Lown was then called to the South District to
pastor the Thomas Memorial Nazarene Church in Battersea, London from
1968-1972. He was in the Church in Keighley, West Yorkshire from
1973-1974. In 1974 the Rev Lown became an Evangelist. He and Mrs Lown
were invited to take preaching engagements all over the world including
Zimbabwe, Hawaii, Australia and America. On November 14th 1992 Rev
Albert J. Lown was called home to be with his Lord and Saviour. Mrs Lown
is now living in Guildford, Surrey. Thank you God for these your humble
REV GLYN THOMAS
FEBRUARY 1960 TO NOVEMBER 1966
Glyn Thomas was born in the early 1900's. He was brought up in Swansea
and he suffered from severe health problems including,
epilepsy and having a hump on his back. He went to a healing service
conducted by George Jeffery's when he was in his teens. He went up to
the alter for healing and as he made his way up to the front the hump
completely disappeared. He was also healed of his epilepsy and he
surrendered his life to Christ. He stepped out in faith with no
denomination behind him and became an evangelist. He trained at Swansea
Not long after, tragedy struck when he met with an
accident in 1936 in Stockton. He lost his sight. He went home to Wales
to recuperate and he prayed asking God to give him back his sight. One
day, while praying, God challenged him and asked him what was more
important- his eyesight or souls. It was not easy for Glyn to answer
that question but he told God that souls were more important.
Soon he was actively involved in the ministry again.
Shortly after World War II he was made a Pastor in the Calvary Holiness
Church (which would soon merge with the Church of the Nazarene).
Rev and Mrs Thomas came to Lisburn in February 1960
to fill in on a temporary basis. One of the first people they met when
they arrived in Lisburn was the late Alderman and former Lord Mayor
William Belshaw. Mr Belshaw took the Thomas's to the different meetings
they were speaking at. Rev Thomas was inducted into the Lisburn Church
in March 1960. His first dog he had when he arrived there was called
"Kim" and it was like a small version of a "Dulux" dog. Mr Thomas then
got "Vicky", a golden Labrador from the Guide Dog Association. "Kim"
went to the home of Mr and Mrs Joe Megrath, members of the church at
Not long after taking up the Pastorate Rev Thomas
took very ill. He spent some time in Foster Green hospital. Rev Thomas
never complained about his illness. In fact those who visited him,
feeling sorry for him, came away blessed and glad that they had called
to see him.
Rev Thomas was also a very humorous man. It has been
said that the way he told funny stories caused your sides to ache with
laughter. We have already heard how he put the frightener's on young
John Paton. Another story he loved to tell was the time he made an
appeal for transport for the Sunday school. Eventually a couple of men
came forward and said "We have a van that we will give you for Sunday
school". The day came when the van arrived outside the manse. The men
knocked at the door and the Rev Thomas
answered. He told them to put the van into the
garage. Mr Thomas went and opened the garage door for them. Although he
was blind he could make his way around very well. While he was opening
the door he overheard the men talking. One said "What's the use of
bringing a van to this man. Sure he's blind and can't drive". The other
man turned around and said "Sure hasn't he got a guide dog!".
Although Mr Thomas was blind and couldn't help
physically with the building of the sanctuary, he was a great encourager
to those who were involved. However it was arranged for Mr Thomas to put
the last brick at the pulpit end of the sanctuary wall. Some of those
present were Mr Fred Crothers, Mr Edward Crothers and Mr Robert Collins.
Mr Edward Crothers remembers the scaffolding that was rigged up for Mr
Thomas to reach up to the comer. He reckons if Mr Thomas had seen what
he was climbing on he maybe wouldn't have gone up.
Rev Thomas was known in Lisburn as the "praying
preacher". He was well loved and well respected in Lisburn. His wife,
Mrs Thomas was very helpful to her husband and helped out in the Church
wherever and however she could.
He left the Lisburn Church in November 1966 after
getting the call to Dublin. Soon after he arrived in Dublin there was a
great move of God. Rev Samuel Doctorian was coining to hold a campaign
in Dublin. A month before the campaign began Glyn Thomas spent days and
nights in prayer. The campaign lasted for five weeks. During that five
weeks Rev Thomas had two hours sleep a day. The rest of the time he
spent in prayer pleading with God to save souls. Dr Frame estimated that
as a result of the campaign there were nine hundred seekers.
Rev Thomas and his guide dog went all over the
British Isles to preach. He loved to preach the word of God and he lived
to preach the word. He would preach to three thousand, three hundred or
three people. He also went to preach further afield including the Middle
East, United States and Switzerland. He was a giant in the faith and a
great prayer warrior. He spoke ill of no man. He loved people and people
loved him. Mr Thomas had an amazing grasp of the Scriptures. He knew the
sixty-six books, the content of the sixty-six books and the power of the
sixty-six books. He could recite large passages of Scripture. He
inspired people by the way he lived and he prayed for the Lisburn Church
On February 14th 1982 the Rev Glyn Thomas went home
to be with his Lord and Saviour. Even at his funeral service there were
seekers as there had been at his last preaching engagement a few weeks
Lisburn was privileged to have the "Praying Preacher"
for six years.
REV JOHN PATON
MAY 1969 TO JANUARY 1974
on achieving fifty golden years of ministry to the people of Lisburn! It
doesn't feel all that time since the Rev Albert Lown came to Lisburn
pioneering The Church of the Nazarene.
The one thing we can say about the "passing of time"
is that it goes faster than we care to think!
It was 1969 when we arrived in Lisburn, actually I
had spent the summer of 1961 with Glyn & Annie Thomas in the manse, so I
had a good idea of the Church, town and county!
James started his long road of Education at Central
School, while Helen did her aerobics with the Caravaners and her
"Houdini" impression with Etta Chism ( climbing through the serving
hatch in the manse ). Lisburn was loved by all three of us, the Church
was an exciting place to minister and the people of prayer were an
encouragement to my ministry.
I wish I could have said that everything was "plain
sailing" but then that could only have been a heavenly testimony of the
Church triumphant! But I can tell you that the Caravan Company was the
largest one at that time in the Church of the Nazarene worldwide and
from the company the first highest award in Great Britain was given to
I remember the new pews being made with everyone
coming to give their opinion of height, width, length, colour, material
and in the end being pleased with the result, that was some achievement!
One hiccup I remember was an old notice in the pulpit
which read "The New English Bible will NOT be read from this pulpit",
this I changed to "Sir, we would see Jesus". I am pleased to say that
the change stayed with us, well at least until I left Lisburn! I just
couldn't stand the negativity that had no bearing to anyone in the
If I was to recall some of the most memorable times
they would have been the Alter experiences, and the Monday night Praise
meeting- surely "Heaven came down and Glory filled our souls".
I am indebted to the people of Lisburn for the love
shown to Helen, James and myself during our years with you. You, my
brethren in Christ shaped my ministry, my home and planted the seed in
the heart of my son.
To the family at Warren Gardens I send my love. John
REV ERIC LEWIS
APRIL 1974 TO MAY 1981
wife, Beryl and I arrived in Northern Ireland on 1st Apri 11974. The
ship, 'The Lion' docked in Belfast and we set out by car for Lisburn.
Not being familiar with Belfast, I drove straight up past the Royal
Victoria Hospital and onto the Falls Road. I tried to turn back, but
turned instead down some side streets- there we were with an English
registered car and Welsh accents, lost on the Falls Road. We have never
forgotten the experience! We arrived in Northern Ireland as a couple,
but ten months later our first child Esther was born and then two years
later Rachel arrived. They are grown up now: both are teachers and both
love the Lord.
It was through the Rev Glyn Thomas that we went into
the Nazarene ministry. Beryl got saved under his ministry; he married us
and also dedicated our two children in a morning service in Lisburn.
Some months before becoming the minister in the Lisburn Church I stopped
a man in the centre of the town and asked him if he could direct me to
the home of Rev Glyn Thomas. The man answered, "You mean the praying
preacher?". Brother Thomas was indeed a man of prayer -on one occasion
he and Rev Leonard Ravenhill, who became a well-known author, prayed and
fasted for forty days.
We arrived in Lisburn Church knowing only four
people; Mr and Mrs Cherry and Mr and Mrs Cook. However we soon made many
friends and were shown great kindness. I will never forget the Sunday
morning services in the church and the sense of the presence of God in
our midst. Often we would be singing a hymn and the late Mr Elwood
(Albert) would request that we sing it over- God was very real. At one
point I felt that revival could have broken out.
The church has always had a great missionary vision.
Under the leadership of the late Mrs Cook we were encouraged to read and
pray for the mission field. In addition to the church's missionary
budget, I can remember the first time that £1,000 was raised for the
Sunday School was always well attended and Mr Edward
Crothers was superintendent for many years. Thirty years ago parents
used to send their children to Sunday school and it was a challenge and
privilege to teach them the Word of God. A young man called Andrew
Robinson, president of the 'Young People's' went on to the Nazarene
College in Manchester to train for the ministry. Paul Wallace took over
in leadership and did a great work. The Caravan society under the
control of Mr Samuel Perkins and Mrs Alice Kelly was also very
successful -Mrs Kelly was always busy making and repairing uniforms for
the young people.
One Sunday morning service stands out in my mind for
a very unusual reason! The church was well filled and we were singing a
hymn. Suddenly, the organist missed a few notes. I turned to look at
her, and with one hand still playing, she pointed with the other to her
feet: there was a little mouse joining her on the pedals! We managed to
struggle through the hymn and when it was finished I started to preach.
I remember hoping that the mouse wouldn't make its way into the
congregation, but unfortunately ten minutes later it did! A scream rang
out and a lady jumped hurriedly onto a pew. Soon people started leaping
up all over the place. In the excitement of the moment I did a foolish
thing -I leant over the pulpit and asked the Board members to catch the
mouse! If there was excitement before, pandemonium now broke out and the
meeting had to be brought to an early close!
Some changes took place during our time in Lisburn:
extensive renovations were carried out on the church manse and quite a
lot of work was done to the church itself. During our ministry the
church also celebrated its 25th anniversary. All previous ministers were
invited back: Dr Albert Lown, the first minister in the church, Rev Glyn
Thomas and his wife Annie and Rev John Paton and his wife Helen were all
present. It was a memorable occasion.
We trust that as you now celebrate 50 years in the
church you may continue to know the blessing of God. We count it a
privilege to have been part of your church history and have many happy
memories of our time spent with you.
REV ROBERT MCMURDOCK
SEPTEMBER 1981 TO FEBRUARY 1984
of all, it is an honour to be asked to share together with other pastors
and friends in congratulating Lisburn Church of the Nazarene on its 50th
Anniversary.I remember the time how I was called by God to be
pastor of the church. It started with a call to preach for a Sunday,
just a few weeks after Rev Eric Lewis, had completed a very successful
pastorate in the church. In response, a few days later, I found myself
driving through the gates of the church to the parking lot at the side.
An amazing thing happened! As I walked into the church with my family, I
had a strong sense of belonging. I knew in my spirit that there was a
God-given purpose in bringing me there that morning. I mentioned it to
no one, but simply preached the message and returned to the Belfast
office of OMS International (the Oriental Missionary Society) where I
was serving as the Irish Direction of the mission at that time. The
following Sunday I was invited back and preached again. God confirmed
the leading of His Spirit and shortly afterwards I received a call from
the church Board asking if I would pray about a call to become the
pastor of the church. It was an easy decision to make because it was
already confirmed in my spirit- how good God was!
When I became pastor of Lisburn Nazarene Church, it
wasn't the first time that I had been there. I remember many years
before, shortly after trusting the Lord as personal Saviour at the
Belfast First Church of the Nazarene, Skegoniel Avenue, I went with a
group to attend the opening of the Lisburn Church. Thinking of it makes
me feel somewhat aged! The Rev Albert Lown was the pastor. I recall the
excitement that surrounded the event, as the church was officially
opened for worship and ministry. From that time onward, the Lisburn
church always gave me the impression of a church with a body of
hard-working dedicated members. But it wasn't until I was privileged to
be the pastor, that I really discovered how true were my first
impressions of the congregation. In what way do I remember the church?
It was a church renowned for great preachers. Even
though I knew God was calling me to be the pastor, I was somewhat awed
in spirit by the fact that the church had a line of great pastors and
preachers. Men such as Albert Lown, Glyn Thomas and Eric Lewis, had
preached, pastored and laid a great foundation of ministry at the
church. They were men well known for their strong commitment to the Word
of God. Men who believed firmly in the Scriptural teaching of
Sanctification as an experience subsequent to Salvation. The church had
been blessed with pastors who loved God and flock entrusted to their
care. What a challenge that was to me personally! And yet, I never felt
any spirit of comparison by the congregation, and right from the first
day I entered the pulpit I was conscious of the welcoming encouragement
and prayers of the congregation.
It was a church where prayer was the breath of the
congregation. I loved the prayer meetings, and eagerly looked forward to
the time when we would wait together on the Lord. I used to come away
from the prayer meeting, feeling renewed and blessed. Regardless of the
time of the year, you could count on a goodly number who would gather
It was a church where the Word of God was central.
Perhaps one of my best-loved memories of being pastor was teaching at
the Bible Study. With the help of mimeographed outlines, it was simply a
great joy to follow the teaching of the Word. Whether in the pulpit, the
Bible Study or the home, I loved the hunger that I sensed among Gods
people for the Word of God.
Lisburn was a church that liked to sing and praise
the Lord. Music was a great part of the services. Sunday morning or
night, the piano and the organ would lead the praise of the music. In
the evening gospel service, I would play along with my piano accordion.
I loved the testimony bands, special singers and gospel quartets that
came to share and sing.
It was also a church with a committed administration.
I left Lisburn with a feeling of great respect for the Church Board.
There was no question that the board members took their work seriously,
and left no stone unturned in their efforts to bless and help the
church. I was amazed how the board members were always ready to help in
practical ways. The beautiful condition of the church and manse stands
as a tribute to the hard work of board members.
But it was also a generous church. The members gave
sacrificially, and took seriously the commitment to missions. It was
never difficult to raise a missionary offering, whether for the work in
the South of Ireland or overseas, the congregation gave generously.
My family were at home in the church. My daughters,
Heidi, Irene, Kathy and Laura, were brought each week to church by their
mother Rhea. It was a new experience to belong to a church in the
homeland after living on the mission field in Taiwan. They loved Sunday
school, and am indebted, I am sure to the influence of teachers who
loved to share with them the Word of God.
I pastored the church during some of the difficult
times of the civil unrest that was prevalent. everywhere. I remember one
Sunday when there was a breakout at the Maze Prison. While preaching the
sermon, helicopters were flying close to the church looking for runaway
prisoners. Thankfully, there was none of them around the church that
Whether in the church, the home, or visiting at the
hospital, I always felt that the members of Lisburn Nazarene church were
a people who loved God, and cared for little else but pleasing Him. It
is my prayer that the 50th Anniversary will be a great time for
recollection, reunion and renewal. I pray that God's spirit will confirm
position the church with renewed faith and vision for
the future. I also want to greet my good friend Pastor Griffith and his
family, whom I have known ever since days with the Faith Mission. My
time at the church was all too short, for soon I was on the way back to
Taiwan with my family where I became the principal at the Nazarene
Theological College in Taipei. With warm memories I still remember the
blessed times I was privileged to enjoy as the pastor.
In a word for the future, I remember some words of
the Apostle Paul, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast,
immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your
labour is not in vain in the Lord". (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Robert Mc Murdock.
REV DAVID THIRKELL
OCTOBER 1984 TO APRIL 1990
served as pastor in each of the UK countries over a period of 42 years.
I am now retired and my wife Jean and I are living in Exeter, Devon. Two
of the churches were pioneer situations, in which both were started from
I have had, throughout my ministry, outstanding help
and support from my wife Jean. Our son Mark has been five years in the
Nazarene ministry at Gillingham, Kent, in his first pastorate.
It was a joy to have around forty present at the
weekly prayer meeting and to need extra chairs on some Sunday mornings
to accommodate everyone.
£10,000 was raised to assist the work in the South of
Ireland. An Annual Convention with the Free Methodist church was
started. Mum's and Toddler's, Children's church, guest services and a
Young Adults group were inaugurated.
On two occasions a church family holiday was held in
North Wales with the party travelling by the church bus. The District
Assembly was held for the first time in Northern Ireland hosted by the
Lisburn church. The keen appreciation of Biblical preaching and generous
giving to the work of the gospel is remembered.
It was a happy time working in a lovely part of the UK
for five years. David Thirkell.
REV ALBERT GRIFFITH
JUNE 1990 TO THE PRESENT
I first came to Lisburn I soon realised that God had brought me to a
"Fruitful Place" in His vineyard and I was excited as I looked forward
to all that He had in store for us as a fellowship.
Now in my fifteenth year of ministry I still continue
to feel the warmth and love of a great congregation!
It has been such a blessing for me to work alongside
so many people who have had the desire to spread the gospel through
various methods and activities.
My ministry in Lisburn is only a part of the faithful
efforts of others over the past fifty years of our church history.
Eternity will completely reveal what the Lord has done and what He has
accomplished in individual lives through the witness of the Lisburn
Church of the Nazarene.
I can testify that preaching to the Lisburn
congregation is a soul refreshing experience which has brought to me a
great deal of spiritual blessing and innermost pleasure. Not only do our
people want me to preach but they also will me to preach! It has been a
delight to know that I minister to people who willingly let me fulfil
the vocation God has called me to.
During my ministry I have conducted many funerals of
our most senior members and friends. I still have fond memories of those
who were faithful to the work of the church and are now with the Lord.
I am not alone in knowing the love and support of a
dedicated fellowship at Lisburn. All members of the manse family have
benefited because of the love shown down the years. Rhoda and I have
truly appreciated the prayerful support for our three children-Lydia,
Andrew and Deborah. As parents we have found the Lisburn congregation to
be non-judgemental and sensitive concerning our children.
Like every other pastor involved in church ministry I
have faced the hard times, the difficult times, the tests, the toils and
the heavy burdens. One of the most disappointing experiences in over
thirty years of ministry happened during my first years in Lisburn,
however by the Grace of God and the help of committed Christian people I
was assured that there was a light at the end of the dark tunnel. The
ongoing ministry of our Lisburn Church today is testimony of this fact.
I have been in Lisburn long enough to learn that the
congregation consists of people of good faith and who genuinely love the
Lord. The Lisburn people like to laugh and 1 have enjoyed their wit and
humour throughout the years.
I know that God will bless and reward all those who
have helped and stood by the work of our Lisburn Church during the past
fifty years. We praise Him for all that is past and trust Him for all
that's to come.
During times when either the pastorate has been
vacant or the pastor has been on holiday, there has been many speakers
who have faithfully filled in. They include: Joe Kerr, Willie Collins,
Jim Harvey, John Dickson, Rev Ronnie McCracken, Wesley Lindsay, Rev Bert
Kelly, Rev Ernie Eades, Rev Ernie Stafford, Alan Bartley, Tom Anderson,
Norman Wilkerson, Rev Kelvyn Adams, Jim McTernaghan and many others.
You have seen in the pages of this booklet what God
can do through lives that are committed to him. Maybe God is challenging
you through the pages of this booklet. Maybe you are unsaved. God loved
you so much that He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for your
sins. Why not surrender your life to him right now. Pastor Griffith or
any of the board members would be only to glad to point you to the
Saviour. Maybe you are saved but you are not involved in the work of the
church. Why not get involved! There is something for everyone to do in
the church so why not speak to Pastor Griffith today.
By the Grace of God the Lisburn church will continue to
serve the community. Pastor Griffith, I will let you have the last word:
"As pastor I believe that the Lord has good things
for us as we continue to serve Him in Lisburn. God has brought us
together as a congregation to show forth His praises in these last days.
First we are to Go, Mark 16v15 "Go ye into
all the world and preach the gospel". If Jesus died for all then all
have a right to know. It is our duty that we herald forth the gospel
Second we are to Glow, Matthew 5v14 "Let your
light so shine before men ". In a dark community our church should be a
beacon to light the way to God.
Third we are to Grow, Acts 2v 47 "And the Lord
added to the church such as should be saved". The church grows as the
Lord saves souls.
I trust as we continue to serve the Lord in the years
ahead we will GO, GLOW, GROW
Build your church Lord, make us strong Lord
Join our hearts Lord through your son,
Make us one Lord in your Body
In the Kingdom of your son "'
Church board 2004. B. Row-S. P erkins, S. Purdy, J.
Redmond, M. Dunsmore, S. Collins.
F. Row-M.Redmond, B. Hawe, Rev &Mrs Griffith, E Pierce, D. Seeds