Rev Geoffrey Allen
| Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church,
opened in February 1877.
Ardtanagh Road, Banbridge Road, Dromara.
Minister: Rev Geoffrey Allen
Morning: 12 noon
|Notice Board at Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church|
When the Rev William Craig, fifth minister of First Dromara Presbyterian Church, died in December 1871, the congregation was much disturbed by disputes as to his successor. The minority of the congregation backed by the General Assembly wanted an immediate settlement. A majority party however, wanted to wait until a student called William Wilson had completed his studies and was available for a call in 1873. They took possession of the church, during which time the minority party held services in a barn granted by Joseph Bell of Bellfield.
On Wednesday 11th February 1874 the majority party held a meeting at which resolutions were passed renouncing their connection with the General Assembly and expressing their desire to be received into the Reformed Presbyterian Church. On the advice of the Presbytery they decided to withdraw from First Dromara Church building in May 1874 and worshipped in the open air during the Sabbaths of June 1874. A wooden hall was erected in a plot of ground across the road from First Dromara Church. Built in five days, and able to accommodate almost 600 people, it was opened for worship on Sunday 5th July 1874. The first congregational committee was formed on 13th July 1874, the first elders installed on 26th July 1874 and a Sabbath School commenced in the summer of that year.
The congregation was now in a position to procure a minister of its own. Perhaps some members had hopes that William Wilson who had been such a favourite with them in his student days would join the Covenanter Church and become their first minister. However, he became minister of Spa Presbyterian Church in 1874. As for First Dromara Presbyterian congregation, which had been reduced to only 55 families because of the ‘split’, the Rev William Shepherd was installed there on 23rd September 1874.
The first minister of Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Rev Torrens Boyd was installed at an installation service in the wooden hall on 24th February 1875. He was largely instrumental in having the Church and manse erected. The church was opened for worship on Sunday 25th February 1877. It seated upwards of 800 people and cost about £1,500. Legal expenses however and a costly site raised the total figure to £1,800.
The Rev Torrens Boyd (1875-1890) was followed in turn by the Rev John McKee (1891-1897), Rev Torrens Boyd (1898-1907), Rev William Warnock (1908-1923), Rev Alexander Gilmour (1924-1952), Rev Renwick Wright (1953-1968), Rev Robert Hanna (1969-1988) and Rev Robert Robb (1990-1991), Rev. John Hawthorne (1993-2006).
Mr Hawthorne, now minister of Dervock Reformed Presbyterian Church, preached his farewell service at Dromara on Sunday 9th April 2006.
The present minister, the Rev Geoffrey Allen was installed by the Eastern Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church at a Service of Installation on Friday 19th September 2008.
The above short history was compiled with the assistance of the Rev Prof Robert McCollum from a booklet entitled the ‘Centenary Story of Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church 1874-1974’ by the Rev Robert Hanna, minister of the congregation (1969-1988). The booklet can be read online at the ‘Books’ section of www.lisburn.com or by clicking on: ‘Centenary Story of Dromara Reformed Presbyterian Church 1874-1974’