|First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing ) Dunmurry. A second church built in 1714. Part of it forms part the return of the present church which was built in 1779. The return at the rear of the church was originally one storey but in the late 19th century a second storey was added.||The
Very Rev. William McMillan pictured in First
Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing ) Dunmurry.
|The Very Rev. William McMillan, MBE. Minister||Rev. Rosalind Taggart
Glebe Road, Dunmurry.
Minister: The Very Rev. William McMillan, MBE
Telephone: 9062 2148
Assistant Minister: Rev. Rosalind Taggart
Sunday Service: 11.30am
|Notice Board||The stone panel above one of the doors at First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing ) Dunmurry|
(a) The Church
The Dunmurry congregation was established in 1676 and a meetinghouse was built on this site of which no traces remain. In 1714 a second church was built, part of which forms the return of the present meeting house which was built in 1779. A stone set in the gable end of the return has the inscription: “Anno Christi 1714. Georgii R:J”, in other words, built in the first year of the reign of George 1. Above one of the doors in the front of the building is a panel, which says “This house was rebuilt at the expense of the congregation of Dunmurry 1779”. A panel over the other door names the minister at that time as the Rev. James Stouppe.
The interior of the building is virtually unchanged since that time. The church is particularly associated with the life and career of the Rev. Dr. Henry Montgomery, advocate of catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform in the 19th Century. In 1976, the beautiful pulpit was restored as a memorial to Miss E. Andrews, daughter of Thomas Andrews who was lost in the Titanic disaster.
During the latter part of the 19th century internal porches were inserted inside the two doors and a gallery was removed which had been on the front wall. The beautiful stained glass window between the two doors is in memory of the McCance family who lived in Woodburn House and were in the linen business, using the waterpower of the Dunmurry river. The window shows the river flowing down from the hills above. It was damaged by bomb blast in the 1970’s when the signal box at the level crossing of the railway was blown up. It has been skilfully restored.
The return at the rear of the church was originally one storey but in the late 19th century a second storey was added and the wall behind the pulpit was pierced to create a balcony and organ loft.
The architect of the building is not known for certain but it has been thought that it was Roger Mulholland who designed First church in Rosemary Street, completed in 1783.
In 1973 the congregation built a new Church hall, incorporating part of the old Georgian Manse, through the work of volunteers from all sections of the local community, in memory of the Rev. John McCleery.
(b) The ministers
In January 1683, Mr Alexander Glass was the ordained minister. In February 1683, he retired to Scotland in consequence of the disturbed state of the country, and remained there. In June 1694, the Synod of Ulster wrote to him, requesting him to return, but without success. The next minister was Mr. John Malcome, who had been minister of Lower Killead; until he removed here from about 1699. He died in this charge on 17th May1729. Mr. Malcome took a prominent part in opposing the Belfast Society (the only one in print) accusing them of shedding “new light” on Presbyterian Church Government; hence he was opposed to the Non-subscribing members of that society. He was succeeded by Mr. John Moorehead, who was ordained here by the Presbytery of Templepatrick on 17th February 1731. He died in this charge on 20th June 1768, and was succeeded by Mr. James Stoupe, formerly minister of Enniskillen, who was installed here by the Presbytery of Bangor on 3rd June 1772. He resigned the charge in May 1780, and was succeeded by Mr. Robert Jackson, who was ordained here on 11th April 1782. He died on 5th September 1788.
In 1790 an entry occurs in the minutes of the Synod of Ulster: - “Ordered that the Moderator write a letter to the Presbytery of Munster remonstrating against the conduct of Mr. Blair (of the Leap), a member of their Presbytery, for irregularly introducing a probationer to Dunmurry, and afterwards presiding in drawing up a call for him - Resolved, that we approve of the conduct of the Presbytery of Bangor respecting Dunmurry in deferring the ordination of Mr. William Taggart (1790 - 1805) in that place until the matter might come before this body.” Mr. Taggart and the congregation annexed themselves to the Presbytery of Antrim; and on 14th May 1805, his connection with the congregation was dissolved by them. The congregation reverted again to the Presbytery of Bangor in 1806 or 1807; and their next minister was Mr. Andrew George Malcolm, who was ordained here on 11th March 1807 and resigned this charge on 11th September 1808. The next minister was Mr. Henry Montgomery (afterwards LL.D.), who was ordained on 14th September 1809. Dr. Montgomery was the great leader of the Non-subscribers; and in 1829 he and the entire congregation seceded from the Synod of Ulster, to join the Remonstrant Synod of Ulster. He retained possession of the church, manse and other properties. A few years after this secession, and because of it, the congregation of Malone, in the neighbourhood of Dunmurry was erected by the Synod of Ulster; and on 15th February 1837 Mr. Joseph McKenzie was ordained as its pastor.
Dr. Montgomery, who was a brilliant orator and tireless worker for the rights of individuals, supporting Catholic emancipation, tenant right, education, poor laws, and many other causes. He died in 1865 and there is a marble memorial to his memory in the church on the wall to the right of the pulpit and one to his son who served with the Army in India and died there.
Following the death of Dr. Montgomery, the congregation called the Rev. Thomas Hugh Marshall Scott, who was minister from 1866 - 1895. There is a memorial to him also in the church. He was followed by the Rev. John Alexander Kelly, 1896 - 1941. The Rev. John McCleery was minister from 1941 until his sudden death in 1969, much beloved and remembered in the McCleery hall, which was built by the labour of the men of the congregation to plans drawn up by Mr. Robert McKinsty. Before that social functions took place in the old courthouse, across the road from the church grounds. It was very inadequate and not very safe. The McCleery Hall has been of enormous benefit to the life of the congregation. Building work on the new manse was started in Mr. McCleery’s time.
The present minister, the Rev. William McMillan was installed at Dunmurry in 1970.
The Rev. Rosalind Taggart was ordained by the Presbytery of Antrim at a Service of Ordination in First Presbyterian Church (Non-subscribing) Dunmurry on Monday 18th August 2008 and on Monday 1st September 2008 she will commence her duties as Assistant Minister,
The congregation was established in 1676 and a Meeting House was built on this site of which no traces remain. In 1714 a second church was built, part of which forms the return of the present Meeting House, which was built in 1779. The church is particularly associated with the life and career of the Rev Dr Henry Montgomery, advocate of religious liberty Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform in the 19th Century. In 1976, the pulpit was restored as a memorial to Miss E Andrews, whose father Thomas Andrews was lost in the Titanic disaster. During the latter part of the 19th century, internal porches were inserted inside the two doors and a gallery was removed which had been on the front wall. The return at the rear of the church was originally one storey, but in the late 19th century a second storey was added and the wall behind the pulpit was pierced to create a balcony and organ loft. A Tiffany stained glass window, donated in memory of the McCance family, but damaged by bomb blast in the 1970s, has been skilfully restored. The present minister, The Very Rev William McMillan MBE, was installed in May 1970. In 1973 a new church hall, incorporating part of the old Georgian Manse was built in memory of the previous minister, the Rev John McCleery. The Rev Rosalind Taggart was ordained on 18th August 2008 and commenced her duties as Assistant Minister in September 2008.