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Ballinderry Moravian Church

Rev Patsy Holdsworth Ballindery Moravian Church, opened on Christmas Day, 1751; altered and added to in 1821; and rebuilt in 1835.
Rev Patsy Holdsworth
Ballindery Moravian Church,
opened on Christmas Day, 1751; altered and added to in 1821; and rebuilt in 1835.

Portmore Road, Ballinderry

Minister: Rev Patsy Holdsworth

Telephone: 9061 9755

Sunday services:



Notice Board at Ballinderry Moravian Church.
Notice Board
Ballinderry Moravian Church.


The congregation at Ballinderry began as a direct result of the preaching of the Moravian Evangelist and Hymn writer John Cennick. On the 3rd August 1751 the local people began clearing the ground for the foundation of the original Chapel, as many as fifty men and about 40 horses at times working at the task. The foundation stone was laid on the 6th September by John Cennick and Peter Synts. They helped as much as possible with the building work, and on Christmas Day 1751 the Chapel was opened. Many of the country people supplied the straw for thatching the building, which was 63ft. long and 22ft. broad.

Ballinderry was recognized as an official congregation on the 28th March 1755 by Bishop Johannes von Watlevilk who is remembered at Christmas for his introduction of the Christingle, which is used by Moravians around the world, and by other denominations in Britain today. In 1758 an adjoining piece of land was obtained for a burying place (known as God’s Acre).

Twenty single sisters occupied 2 small houses near the Chapel and were invoked in lace making, embroidery etc. and they also began a school for little girls. Nineteen single brethren had a house about a quarter of a mile away. They had a room for weaving, but not sufficient space for a boys’ school. In 1776, due to lease problems the single brethren moved to Gracehill, and shortly afterwards the single sisters moved to Gracefield.

The Manse parlour and the Church were used in 1805 to restart a girls’ school. During the next few years various improvements were made to also accommodate boarders and a new Sunday School was added which could also be used for a day school.

1817 saw the building of a gallery in the Church and the installation of an organ. In 1821 the Church and the houses at both ends were renovated and slates replaced the thatch. Unfortunately on Easter Sunday, 19th April 1835, the Church and adjoining dwelling houses were completely destroyed by fire. Au present Church and adjoining dwelling house was dedicated on 19th May 1836. The minister’s wife Sister Chamber started a day school in one of the rooms of the Manse.

In 1847 the potato famine took its toll of the population m parts of Ireland and during that period the population of Ballinderry appears to have declined - the numbers in the area are certainly less than when John Cennick first preached in the cock-pit. During the famine the Church supported the fishermen around Lough Neagh by distributing Indian meal, clothing, 50 pollen nets and I drag net among the most needy.

The organ, which is currently being used was built in Dublin in 1851 and bought for 50 guineas. It lay dormant for many years due to damp but in 1969 it was restored. Over recent years the small congregation have carried out many improvements and major repairs on the Church and Manse.

Ballinderry was linked with University Road and Kilwarlin in September 2000 and for the first time a woman minister, the Rev. Kathryn Woolford, was installed in Ballinderry. The church is now linked with Cliftonville Moravian Church in Belfast. The Rev. Eckhard Buchholz, who was installed in November 2002, retired in June 2006 and now lives in South Africa.

Sr Patricia Ann (Patsy) Holdsworth, previously Lay Preacher at Kilwarlin Moravian, was welcomed as the Student Minister of Ballinderry Moravian Church at a Service of Introduction and Welcome on Sunday 3rd September 2006. Following completion of her year of training at Ballinderry, under the supervision of the Rev Jan Mullin - Minister of Gracehill, she became minister of the Ballinderry Moravian congregation. The Ballinderry/Kilwarlin unit, which was separated in 1971 was again linked in October 2007 and in addition to her duties at Ballinderry, the Rev Patsy Holdsworth was called to Kilwarlin Moravian Church in succession to her husband, the Rev Paul Holdsworth, who was appointed minister of Cliftonville and University Road Moravian Churches in Belfast. She commenced her ministry at Kilwarlin on Monday 1st October and was ordained as Deacon at a Service of Ordination in Kilwarlin Moravian Church on Friday 19th October.

The congregation participate in the European Heritage weekends when buildings of historic importance are open to the public. History evenings are arranged when groups can come and hear about the beliefs, customs, traditions and history of the Moravian Church. A full history of the Church by Violet Best (published in 2000) is available at Ballinderry Moravian, Ballinderry Antiques, Ballinderry China, and through any of the other 4 Moravian Churches.

A full history of the church by Violet Best (Published in 2000) is shown on this web site, click on: A history of Ballinderry Moravian Church