ALTHOUGH the records contain the names of the office
bearers from the foundation of the congregation, the list compiled has
been confined to those appointed since the middle of the last century as
it was considered that this period would be of the greatest interest to
the members of the present-day congregation.
Members of Session
H. Knox, William
Wiliam J. Wilson,
George A. Wilson,
Morrison, W. J.
Fisher, D. J.
Millar, Thomas W
Lemon, T. J.
Lecinard, Gerald B.
Carson, James D.
Williamson, E. T.
Young, R. E
Frazer, H. A.
Browne, T. E.
McNeight, R. F.
McNeill, W. A.
What pleasure and joy is derived from the flowers that adorn the Church
each Sunday! Provided by members of the congregation over the year to mark
a personal time to be remembered and then passing on to bring solace to
those in hospital. The expert hand is obvious to all in the delightful
arrangements of the flowers in their seasons-a task which Mrs. Macrory
carries out so quietly and efficiently throughout the year. Co-operating
in this is Mrs. Coulter through the facilities she provides for a
convenient reception centre for the flowers for such display.
Much is contained in the foregoing pages about the praise
of the Church. Such names as Ellis, Harvey, Knox and Mackenzie resounded
in days gone by and they created a tradition for good Psalmody and choral
rendition in the Church. This has continued over the years and is ably
maintained by Mr Arneill and the choir, in a most agreeable and pleasing
THE: Sunday School saw its origins in 1814, when a number
of the young ladies of the congregation came together to give instruction
to the children in the Meeting House. By 1857, the need for separate
accommodation for the Sunday School had become so pressing that the
project, of the erection of a School House was embarked upon and was in
use early in 1859. That a flourishing School was in existence over the
succeeding years is well established and, from the records for 1887, it is
noted that there were thirty classes with 413 Pupils on the rolls, with an
average attendance of 330 young people each Sunday. At that time Dr. M. B.
Mackenzie was the Superintendent of the Morning School and Mr. W. J. Knox
was in charge of the Afternoon School. Mr. W. J. McMurray took over from
Mr. Knox in 1890 and the teachers in the year 1900 were as follows :
From its inception at the beginning of the present century, Mr. R. S.
Fisher acted as Superintendent of the Lambeg Sunday School, a position
which he occupied for twenty-five years. Indeed, the deep interest which
the Fisher family took in the work at Lambeg made their name synonymous
with the congregation's activities in this outpost of local
Presbyterianism. The devoted service which they gave so willingly over the
years was, in no small measure, a very contributory factor towards the
success which attended the establishment in recent times of a separate
congregation to minister to the growing needs of the district.
Mr. Fisher was succeeded in this work by Mr. D.
Kirkpatrick who also, by his wise guidance of the affairs on the School,
made a valuable contribution to his Church.
The present day Sunday School continues to play an
essential part in the religious instruction of the young of the
congregation. Under the guidance of Mr. J. Cowan, the successor of a long
line of able Superintendents, the School goes from strength to strength in
catering for the needs of the young. He is assisted in this important work
by a band of devoted teachers as under :
Over several years now a Children's Church has been held
in the Church Hall,- a most necessary innovation in this modern age. Here,
during that period of the Morning Service when the very young would be
inclined to be restive, then are cared for in a less formal atmosphere and
kept suitably occupied.
This work is carried on by Mrs. N. G. White, Miss N.
Harvey, Mrs. Heasley, and Mrs. J. Anderson in such an unobtrusive manner
that one might be excused for taking it for granted. This, however, is
very far from the case as the excellent work performed by these ladies, in
such a self-sacrificing way, has the admiration and appreciation not only
of the parents but, the entire congregation. Goto top
We have now traced the history of the congregation from
the earliest days right up! to modern times. In presenting it my one
regret is that space has made it impossible to make reference to many more
who, in their day and generation, served the Church so very faithfully and
effectively in the conduct of its affairs. Unnamed though they may be, the
active and live Church of to-clay is a manifestation of their labours for
the congregation they loved so well. We, their inheritors, are for a brief
spell the custodians of the trust 'they cherished. It is a proud and
honourable one which, over the past three hundred years, has been
discharged with but one thought-how best to maintain the witness of
Presbyterianism in the town of Lisburn. We must not be found wanting.
Although this account is principally concerned with our
own congregation, the heritage we enjoy in the development of
Presbyterianism in Lisburn is one which we share with our sister
congregations of Hillhall, Railway Street, Sloan Street and Lambeg. Ours
is their story up to the time of their separate existence and we rejoice
in the strength which has stemmed from the main tree.
The "sixties" have brought the centennial anniversaries of
Railway Street and Sloan Street congregations. It is fitting that we
should specially greet our fellow Presbyterians there, and their esteemed
ministers, the Rev. Dr. Elliott' and the Rev. James McAllister, at this
time. We wish them well and pray that the years ahead will be fruitful in
furthering the great work being carried on in their respective spheres.
It was particularly appropriate that the Sloan Street
congregation should meet at a social function to mark their centenary in
our Church Hall-a building just one hundred years in existence and close
to the site which, for the past two hundred and fifty years, has been
occupied by a Presbyterian place of worship.
The years have intermingled us with those of other
denominations, we have shared with them in good times and bad, and much of
our history is their history. In particular this applies to the
Cathedral-our plight was shared by them in 1707, and two hundred years
ago, they extended a friendly hand in contributing to the funds necessary
for the rebuilding of the Church and it was in the Cathedral that the
congregation worshipped whilst the new building was being erected.
Our esteem and regard for our friends in the Cathedral is,
therefore, more deep-rooted than just something created by modern trends
and it is of particular satisfaction to the members of this congregation
that their great church, with such a long and fine history, continues from
strength to strength.
The story has been unfolded, but not completed, for this
is only the end of the beginning. The present chronicler has completed his
task and the unfinished business of the Committee one hundred years ago
has thus been concluded. Goto top
The information in the foregoing pages has been obtained
wholly from the following sources :
Minutes of the Antrim Meeting.
Records of the General Synod of Ulster.
Minute Rooks and other records of the First Lisburn Congregation.
Fasti of the Irish Presbyterian Church.
Ecclesiastical History of Ireland-W. D. Killen.
History of the Seceders in Ireland-D. Stewart.
Protestant Dissent in Ireland, 1687-1780-J. C. Beckett.
History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland-J. M. Barkley.
The Church of Scotland-P. McA. Muir.
History of the Irish Presbyterian Church-T. Hamilton.
History of Presbyterian Congregations-W. D. Killen.
The Independent Irish Party, 1850-59-J. H. Whyte.
The Lagan Valley, 1800-50-E. R. R. Green.
The Ulster Scot-J. B. Woodburn.
History of Lisburn Cathedral-W. Carmody
Recollections of Hugh McCall.
Newspaper Articles-James Carson, Joseph Allen.
Files of the Belfast News-Letter.
History of the Second Congregation of Protestant Dissenters in Belfast- S.
Belfast Literary Society, 1801-1901.
Recollections of My Life and Times-Rev, James Morgan.
PORTRAITS-The late Miss E. Alister, who, for so many years
took such an active part in the work of the Church, was particularly
anxious that the congregation should obtain photographs of the various
occupants of the pulpit. Her efforts in this direction have been
invaluable in making it possible to include the portraits of ten out of
the fifteen ministers from 1688 till 1950. Those missing are of the Rev.
Alexander McCracken, 1688/1730; Rev. Wm. Patton, 1736/1745; Rev. Patrick
Buchanan, 1747/1763; Rev. George Kennedy, 1775/1779, and Rev. Alexander