Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Rev Geoffrey Allen installed at Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church

Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church elders pictured with their new minister, the Rev Geoffrey Allen. L to R: William Campbell, John Bond, Rev Geoffrey Allen, William Gamble and Gordon Bond. Missing from the photo, Harold Kerr, Clerk of Session.The Rev Geoffrey Allen B.A., B.Th. was installed as the new minister of Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church at a Service of Installation on Friday 19th September. He succeeds the Rev John Hawthorne, who moved to Dervock Reformed Presbyterian Church in April 2006.

The Moderator, the Rev David Fallows (Kilraughts), led the service and the preacher was the Rev David McCullough (Dromore) who had been convener of the vacancy. Members of the Eastern Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church conducted the act of installation, taking part were: The Rev Prof Robert McCollum (Lisburn), the Rev Andrew Kerr (Knockbracken) and the Rev Prof David McKay (Shaftesbury Square). The Rev Harry Coulter (Carrickfergus) gave the charge to the new minister and the congregation. The congregational psalms sang were, �O praise the Lord�, �The Lord�s my shepherd�, �To you I lift my soul�, �At all times I will bless the Lord� and �His name for ever shall endure�.

Members of the Eastern Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church pictured with the Rev Geoffrey Allen at his Service of Installation in Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church. L to R: Rev David McCullough (Dromore), Rev Geoffrey Allen, John Bond (elder) and the Moderator, the Rev David Fallows (Kilraughts). (back row) Mr John McEwen (Clerk of Presbytery), Rev Harry Coulter (Carrickfergus), Rev Prof David McKay (Shaftesbury Square), Rev Andrew Kerr (Knockbracken) and Rev Professor Robert McCollum (Lisburn).During the service, Mr John McEwen (Clerk of Presbytery) gave a brief history of the church: The Reformed Presbyterian congregation of Dromara was formed in the year 1874. A deputation of the congregation petitioned the Eastern Presbytery on 16th February 1874 and a Committee of Presbytery met the people at Dromara on 9th March and again on 18th March. Explanation of the principles of the church was given to the people by Rev Dr Houston and Rev J A Chancellor. At the meeting 269 people applied for membership. On 5th July 1874 the first church building, a temporary wooden structure, which could seat 600 people, was opened by Dr Chancellor. Rev Torrens Boyd, the first minister, was largely instrumental in having the church building and manse erected in 1876. He had traveled to America on two occasions to raise money for these buildings. The first elders, elected on 26th July 1874, were Richard Copeland, James Bryson and Robert Mack. Since it was established, eight ministers have served the congregation (the Rev Torrens Boyd being their minister twice) they were: Rev Torrens Boyd (1875-1890), Rev John McKee (1891-1897), Rev Torrens Boyd (1898-1907), Rev William Warnock (1908-1923), Rev Alexander Gilmour (1924-1952), Rev J Renwick Wright (1953-1968), Rev Robert Hanna (1969-1988), Rev Robert Robb (1990-1991) and Rev John Hawthorne (1993-2006).

Following the service a delightful supper was served during which time the new minister in his concluding remarks spoke of his appreciation to the members of the Eastern Presbytery for conducting the service of installation and the very clear challenge from the word of God. He expressed his thankfulness to all who had made the evening possible and to those who had come to support the congregation of Dromara. Mr Allen recognised the great kindness that had been shown to his family already by the members of Dromara. Present were family and friends some who had travelled a distance from his former ministerial charge in Co Fermanagh and where he had served as assistant in Larne, to the Rev James Johnstone, formally minister of Castlewellan and Leitrim Presbyterian Churches. Referring to his time of further study at the Reformed Theological College, he recognised the love and support of his wife Donna and children Chloe and Ethan. Praising God for the Christian example of his own parents and his wife�s parents, he spoke of the wonderful message of the Lord Jesus Christ, true in all generations and ours to proclaim. Quoting Isaiah 55, he explained how the Lord desires us to put aside those things which do not satisfy and seek the Lord while He may be found and how when we answer the call of God we are satisfied in His love and forgiveness giving all the glory to God.

Mr Allen commenced his ministry last Sabbath morning (21st September) when he chose as the subject for his address, �Christ the Name above all Names� based on Hebrews Ch 1.

Son of former Presbyterian Moderator, The Very Rev Dr Harry Allen, he attended New Row Presbyterian Church, Coleraine and in 1998 married Lisburn woman Donna Mullarchey; they now have 2 children, Chloe (age 6) and Ethan (age 2). After studies at Union College, Belfast Mr Allen gained a B.Th. degree in 1998 and from 1997 to 2000, was Assistant Minister at Craigyhill Presbyterian Church, Larne. In 2000, he was ordained and installed as minister of Lisbellaw, Lisnaskea, Maguiresbridge and Newtownbutler Presbyterian Churches and since resigning from this charge in 2007, he has pursued further studies at the Reformed Theological College, Belfast.