Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church Forty Years On S. & B. Wallace


We wish to acknowledge the help of the following: Mr. D. W. Alexander for advice and reading the script and proofs. Rev. W.H. Gray, Mr. A. MacLurg, and Rev. C.J.C. McMullen for their contributions.

Summit Printing for valued assistance.






by the

Rev. David Knox, B. A., B. D.



Forty years is not a long time in the history of any church, but the first forty years of Harmony Hill congregation provide us with an encouraging and exciting story. From the earliest days in February 1954 (when, by the way, I was only a toddler) until 1994 when I now have the privilege of being minister of the congregation, the story is one of growth from infancy to maturity.
This short history will be of particular interest to those members who remember those first years worshipping together in the Lambeg Hall. It will also make fascinating reading for the many families who have joined Harmony Hill in the years since.
Today over 500 families worship and relax in one of the finest suite of buildings in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Most days of the week groups of people are enjoying the facilities, morning, afternoon and evening. Forty years on we must all be grateful to God for the people who had the vision, the enthusiasm and the energy to establish a new Cause for Christ at Lambeg, and to all who combine to serve Him in so many ways to this present day.
It is my hope that many copies of "Forty Years On" will be sold and distributed far and wide in 1994. Our very best thanks to Stanley and Beth Wallace for undertaking this worthwhile project and to all who helped make its production possible.

Glory be to God for all He has done and will do.





The History of Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church

This short history traces the life of the Presbyterian Church in Lambeg from the founding of a Sunday School by First Lisburn Presbyterian Church in 1902 to the present day Harmony Hill Church in 1994.

Then in 1929 it was decided by First Lisburn Session to improve and enlarge the facilities in Lambeg and a hall was bought from Mr. William Belshaw for 500. An afternoon Sun day School was held there, Mr. R.S. Fisher being Superintendent for 25 years. Mr. D. Kilpatrick and other members of the Fisher Family of Ballyskeagh were prominent in running this school. This building became the first Meeting House for the congregation which was formed later. The Church Hall consisted of one large room upstairs and two small rooms downstairs and became known as Lambeg Presbyterian Church Hall.


The main employment in Lambeg district apart from farmingwas connected with the manufacture of linen. There were two factories, the Lambeg Weaving Company on the Ballyskeagh Road (now occupied by several firms) and the Lambeg Bleaching, Dyeing and Finishing Company (now occupied by CocaCola). Much of the land was occupied by the estates of the linen merchants, Glenmore, Lambeg House, Aberdelghy, Derryvolgie and Chrome Hill. The majority ofsmaller houseswere in Lambeg village, Station Road, Green Hill and Nevin's Row (named after a former owner of the Lambeg Weaving Company). There were a number of cottages at the corner of Harmony Hill and the Moss Road which was a narrow country lane with a stream running beside it. After the 1914-1918 war, ex-servicemens' houses were built on the Moss Road. The Church of Ireland Parish Church was the only church in the district and Presbyterians attended churches in Hillhall or Lisburn.


Lambeg was in the Parish of First Lisburn Presbyterian Church. In 1902 First Lisburn, under the leadership of their Minister, Rev. J J. Breakey, B.A., rented a house in Lambeg village for the purpose of holding Prayer Meetings and opening a Sunday School. In 1955 his son, the Very Rev. Dr. J. C. Breakey, who was then Moderator of the General Assembly, conducted a service for the new congregation and reflected that he remembered his father cycling to Lambeg and that he himself as ayoung student started a Band of Hope there.


The spread of Belfast in the 1950's resulted in many new houses being built in the Lambeg area. In 1953 the Church Extension Committee of the General Assembly decided to cater for the increasing number of Presbyterians who were coming to reside in the district.
In the autumn of 1953, a meeting, held in Dunmurry Manse and called by the then Convenor of Church Extension, Rev. John W. Orr, B.A., decided upon the commencement of a new charge in the Lambeg area. The area then outlined for this church extended from McMaster's Bridge to Hilden and approximated to the Lambeg and Derriaghy Church of Ireland Parishes combined. Later, this area was reduced to that from Mosside Road to Harmony Hill and from Belsize Road to the Lagan.

The Rev. V.B. Molgaard, B.A., B.D., a native of Denmark, a minister of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, and one time missionary in China, had been accepted as a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He began ministry in Lambeg on 1st October, 1953. On 1st January 1954 he was appointed "Minister in Charge" of the new congregation by the Church Extension Committee.

The inaugural service took place in the Lambeg Presbyterian Church Hall on Sunday, 21st February, 1954 at 7 p.m.

An interim Session, composed of the Ministers and Clerks of Session of First Lisburn (The Very Rev. Dr. Boyd, M.A.), Railway Street (Rev. Dr. J.K. Elliott, B.A.), Sloan Street (Rev. J. McAllister, B.A.), Hillhall (Rev. H. Young, B.A.), and Anahilt (Rev. D .J. Irwin, B.A.) was formed at the same time to promote the new congregation. The Moderator of the Dromore Presbytery was the Moderator of the Interim Session.

It was not long before church activities connected with the congregation began to take place. The Sunday School was taken over from First Lisburn in May 1954 with Mrs. Molgaard (daughter of the Rev. J. McKeown, who had been minister in First Comber & Ulsterville Presbyterian Churches) as Superintendent. The leader of the Primary Department was Miss Iris McCluskey who had been a teacher in the original First Lisburn Sunday School and who remained to help with the new school. The Women's Missionary Association, which later changed its name in Lambeg to the Women's Guild, held an opening meeting with ten members on September 8th, 1954.

A Scout Troop (1st. Lambeg Troop) was formed under the leadership of Mr. W. Johnston and a short time later a Cub Pack (1st. Lambeg Pack) commenced under the leadership of Miss Catherine Campbell. A junior Girls' Auxiliary was also started.

A Church Committee was formed, Mr. W. Johnston being appointed as Secretary and Mr. G. Daley as Treasurer. Mr. Johnston resigned on being transferred to Scotland and Mr. G.S. Wallace was appointed in his place. The following members of Committee were also appointed: Mrs. M. Black, Mr. A. Briggs, Mr. H. Forsythe, Mr. M. McCartney and Miss A. Willis. A choir was formed under the leadership of Miss Kathleen McCord, a member of Lowe Memorial Presbyterian Church, Finaghy. She was appointed to lead the praise, at first accompanied by a piano but later by a pedal organ. She remained as organist until her marriage in 1960, when Mr. Val Gough was appointed.

A house at 165 Moss Road was purchased by Church Extension for a manse late in 1954. The first Annual General Meeting was held on 28th January 1955. The church service was changed from 7 p.m. in the evening to 11.30 a.m. morning service, starting on 20th February 1955.

In November 1955 Mr. Molgaard resigned his charge to become W.E.A. Secretary. He was later appointed Minister of the joint congregations of Newbliss, Smithborough and Stonebridge in Monaghan, from where he subsequently moved to St. George's in Birmingham.

The Very Rev. Professor Wilson was appointed to take charge of the congregation with the assistance, particularly in visitation, of Mr. J. Nelson, lay agent and former Belfast City Missionary. They built on the foundation laid by Mr. Molgaard and their work was very much appreciated by the congregation.