Free Presbyterian Forward Movement Gains Momentum

The Free Presbyterian Forward Movement is growing in momentum, During the past few months beautiful new church buildings have been opened in Coragarry, Co. Monaghan and Portadown, the Dungannon Church has carried out extensive renovations and the foundation stones have been laid for a new church building in Omagh.

Best of all both in Coragarry and Portadown through the preaching of Dr. Paisley at special opening services many precious souls have been gloriously saved. To God be all the glory! How our hearts rejoice that the names of these buildings are recorded in the Record Book of God.



Dungannon Free Presbyterian Church New Gates Erected in Memory of Dr. Paisley's Parents




The Dungannon Church has carried out extensive renovations. A special service was held in the church on Saturday, 7th June, at 3.30 when Dr. Paisley preached. Dr. and Mrs. Paisley donated to the church new gates in memory of Dr. Paisley's parents. A rich time of blessing was experienced by all. [3]

72 Young People Respond to Dr. Billl Woods Missionary Challenge

On Sunday, May 18th, Dr. Billy Woods, Martyrs Memorial Missionary to Brazil, delivered a thrilling missionary challenge from the pulpit of the Martyrs Memorial Church.

Dr. Woods went out to Brazil as a missionary under the Acre Gospel Mission. He got a vision for the lepers of that country and studied medicine. He graduated recently (see picture) and is now doing a further course in surgery.

As he related the Lord's doings in hire, through him and with him the great congregation was visibly moved. Dr. Paisley then made a missionary appeal. Seventy-two persons responded. It was a breath of old time revival. May these young people all go through with God. [4]

New Church Building at Portadown

Eight years ago during the months of May and June, 1967, the Rev. Ian Paisley, minister of Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, Belfast, conducted an "Old Tyme" evangelistic campaign in a tent in the Brownstown area of Portadown.

From that mission there emerged the nucleus of the first Free Presbyterian congregation in Portadown and in the intervening years their numbers have grown appreciably.

Saturday, 1st June marked an important landmark in the short history of the fastest growing Protestant denomination in Ulster when the first church was opened in Portadown the new 70,000 building, Bethany Free Presbyterian Church, at Gilford Road.

During that 1967 meeting, large numbers attended, and when a significant section decided to sever their connections with their own denominations the 21st congregation of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster was formed. Today there are over 40 congregations.


The Portadown church in its brief but eventful history, has met in several different venues over the past eight years.

Following its constitution and [5] affiliation with the Free Presbyterian denomination in July 1967, the congregation met in Portadown Town Hall until October of the same year. Then came a move to a hall in Henry Street in the Edgarstown district.

The church met there until March 1969, before moving a short distance to the Temperance Hall. The sojourn there lasted seven months and then came another period in the Town Hall which lasted 11 months until September 1970.

Yet another venue was to be chosen as the meeting place for the congregation. This time it was the Corcrain Orange Hall which accommodated the church until November of last year for a period of four years.

During these years the work of the church had been carried out by students from the Free Presbyterian Church Theological Hall in Belfast, where students for the ministry and mission field are trained. Mr. Lawson Barr and later Mr. Vincent Price carried out the work under the supervision of the Rev. William Beattie of Dunmurry Free Presbyterian Church, former MP in the pre-1972 Stormont Parliament and who has recently been elected to the new Convention.


The Rev. Fred. Greenfield who had been the student minister of the church from late 1969, was later ordained to the Ministry and installed as minister of the church. Mr. Greenfield later became the minister of Mount Merrion Free Presbyterian Church, Belfast.

During the months which followed the Rev. Frank McClelland of Tandragee was appointed interim moderator of the church and it was through his architectural ability that the new building assumed its present form.

It was always the desire of the congregation to have a suitable building of its own, and in 1970 ground was purchased in Levaghery Gardens, J, off the Gilford Road with a view of erecting a building. In 1971 the "sod" was cut for the new church.

In October 1973 the Rev. Kenneth Elliott who being the student minister of Omagh Free Presbyterian Church and having successfully completed his studies in the Theological Hall, received the "call" from the Portadown congregation to become their minister.

On November 7, 1973, he was ordained and installed as minister of the church by the Free Presbytery of Ulster.


Another move of the congregation was necessary before the new building was ready. [6]

Corcrain Orange Hall was unable to accommodate the increasing numbers and the committee of the church in October last year decided to move to the Town Hall, the first services to be held on Sunday, November 10. But due to a fire which damaged the Orange Hall, the congregation were obliged to move a week earlier.

The Sunday services have been held there during the past seven months and the church has witnessed a considerable increase in membership and attendance.

In February, 1974, Mr. Robert Meek from Tandragee, who had built the Lisburn, Hillsborough and Tandragee churches, was awarded the contract for the new Portadown building and work commenced on the site in April last year. At the end of the month a special service was held on the site to mark the commencement.

A few months later, in September, another special service was held at which the foundation stones were laid by the Moderator Dr. Paisley and by Mr. Elliott. And on Easter Sunday this year, yet another special service took place in the unfinished building.


Plans for the original building, which was meant to be a church-hall with a main church building to be erected later were drawn up by a local architect. Later the congregation felt that the main church building would be more suitable and dropped the idea.

Mr. McClelland, who had designed the Tandragee Church and who was at the time in charge of the Portadown congregation, was requested to re-draw the plans.

These had been completed prior to Mr. Elliott taking up the ministry of the church. Some months later the plans were amended to give extra accommodation to the Sunday School which had been growing rapidly.

Following a successful tent gospel campaign in the Killicomaine estate, yet another amendment to the plans was necessary. This time a gallery and attractive frontpiece and entrance hall were added.

The gallery would help accommodate the increase in numbers taking place and which is expected to continue, resulting in a total seating capacity of 700 by using the spacious aisles both upstairs and downstairs in the main auditorium.

Plans are being kept in mind for expansion of the existing building when the need arises.


Bethaniy Free Presbyterian Church, is the third new building to be erected by the Free Presbyterian Church this year. On the 10th May, a new building was opened in Coragarry, [7] County Monaghan, and, at the beginning of January the Armagh congregation took possession of their new building.

Other buildings are being erected in Omagh and Magherafelt with those from Dunmurry and Ballymena in the planning stages.

The total cost of the new church when completed and furnished is expected to be around 70,000.

Following the opening, a series of special services were held and some of the best-known ministers in the Free Church took part.

These meetings were highlighted by encouraging attendances (even though a heat wave hit the country and the meetings were held indoors). Faithful, pointed and powerful preaching, and best of all sinners gloriously saved. In all, twenty-nine people were dealt with for salvation, restoration and assurance. In addition others publicly indicated their desire to quit themselves of Churches in the apostate WCC.

The minister and congregation of Bethany Free Presbyterian Church earnestly request the prayers of God's people as they seek to "earnestly contend for the faith" and enter upon an intense soul-winning visitation programme in the area to lead folk to the Lord Jesus Christ and to encourage them to attend the church.

On Sunday, July 14th, an Orange service will be held in the new church - lodges in the Portadown district having accepted invitations. [8]

5,000 Gifts as New Church Opens

A collection of over 2,000 was taken at the opening of the new Free Presbyterian Church at Levaghery, Portadown.

This amount together with gifts of furnishing and fittings, totalled 5,700.

The fine weather attracted a huge crowd, and it was estimated that almost 2,000 people packed the church and the marquee outside.

The opening ceremony was performed by Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley, who was also the guest preacher. And as he turned the key in the door he said it was wonderful that the people of Portadown should have their own church after eight years of many moves.


A closed circuit television system relayed the service to the marquee, and loudspeakers enabled the crowd outside to hear the proceedings. The church, which normally holds 700, was filled to capacity - the gallery, staircases and Sunday School room were all crammed.

The service was conducted by the minister of the Free Presbyterian Church in Portadown, the Rev. Kenneth Elliott, who thanked all the congregation for their generosity and help in furnishing the church.

After years of moving around the town the 70,000 building represents a nucleus for the Free Presbyterians in Portadown. "No longer have we to find different buildings for all our activities," Mr. Elliott said.


The new church, called Bethany, is the third new building to be erected by the Free Presbyterian Church this year. Just four weeks ago a new building was opened in Coragarry, County Monaghan, and a large contingent of this congregation were present at the opening.

The opening ceremony started at 3.30 and by 3 o'clock every seat in the church and tent was filled, and benches were put into the entrance hall. A crowd of about 30 gathered outside, including the County Armagh Member of Parliament, Mr. Harold McCusker. Inside the church were Convention representatives Mr. Douglas Hutchinson, Mr. Charles Poots and Mr. Herbert Whitten.

In his sermon Dr. Paisley said "We [10] live in a day when there is a departure from the faith," and he was delighted to be with them in the beautiful church which represented a revival in Portadown.

He also said that people opposed to ecumenism, popery and apostasy should say "No" to the Common Market. However, he added that the aim of the church was not to extend the influence of a political party, but to further the cause of the Free Presbyterians.

"The aim of the church is not to extend its own influence, but to extend the influence of God," he said. "There have been many things said about the Free Presbyterians; many accusations have been hurled by our opponents.

"However, we have one aim and one objective and we have refused in all the years of our church's history to deviate."


The organist for the service was Mr. W. G. Williams and the soloist was the Rev. William McCrea. The scripture reading was by the Rev. Fred. Greenfield, who was once the student minister in Portadown.

Dr. Paisley paid a return visit to Portadown the following day when he led an "Old Tyme" evangelistic campaign. This campaign continued all week except Saturday.

A special free bus service has also been arranged by the church, catering for the Sunday School, morning and evening services. It covers the Annagh, Rectory Park, Thomas Street, Carleton Street, Armagh Road, Corcrain Estate, Redmanville, Clounagh and Woodside. [11]

Foundation Stones Laid at Omagh

At a Special Service in Omagh Free Presbyterian Church on Saturday, 14th June, 1975, foundation stones were laid in the new church building being erected at a cost of approximately 70,000.

The church will have seating for 400 people which is expected to be completed by this time next year.

The Stone Laying ceremony was performed by Dr. Paisley and Rev. Ivan Foster, Senior Minister of the Congregation.

During the Service which was attended by approximately 400 people, Mr. Foster said "that it was just six years ago to the day that the church was constituted after a Gospel Mission conducted by Dr. Paisley."

Mr. Foster congratulate the contractor, Mr. William Irwin, on his excellent work.

During his address Dr. Paisley stated that he was greatly encouraged to see the new building as such an advanced stage and he urged the congregation to continue their stand against apostasy and to maintain the fundamentals of the Protestant faith by standing firm upon the Word of God.

During the service an offering o 1,433 was taken up for the building fund and Dr. Paisley received on behalf of the congregation a new [12] Electric Organ, which was presented in memory of Mr. Walter Monteith, one of the foundation members, by his widow and family.

Others taking part in the service were Mr. Reggie Cranston, who is the student minister of the Omagh Congregation, Rev. Frank McClelland who is the architect of the new building and rev. William McCrea who was the soloist.

The service ended with the singing of the hymn "To God be the Glory great things He has done."

Unity Warning from new Primate

The 101st Archbishop of Canterbury began his term of office with a warning to Christians in general of the high cost Christian unity would demand and with a plea to the Church of England for more candidates for the full-time ordained ministry.

Preaching at his enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral, Dr. Donald Coggan said that Christians must unite to embrace the world with God's love, but that Such an embrace would be costly. "It will involve the abandonment of much that we have hitherto taken for granted," the new Archbishop told the congregation of 3,000, who included the Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition (then) Mr. Edward Heath, the Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Jeremy Thorpe, as well as three members of the Royal Family Prince Charles, Princess Margaret and the Duchess of Kent.

Christians would have to give up their divisions, their possessions, their selfishness, said Dr. Coggan. For that, in the words of General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, "We must grow till our arms get right round the world."

"Protestantism must be abandoned and Popery embraced" - that is the message from Canterbury. [13]

Coragarry: a Miracle Church

Free Presbyterians from every county in Ulster packed to near suffocation their new church at Coragarry, Co. Monaghan, on Saturday, 10th May, when Dr. Ian Paisley, MP, conducted the first service in his only church South of the Border. The collection taken up during the service amounted to more than f3,000, clearing all debts on the building.

The Rev. Ivan Foster, of Enniskillen, began the ceremony by praying for "an old-fashioned revival."

"This land stinks with religion," Mr. Foster declared, "but has little of the Bible, little of the Gospel. Pray that the sweet savour of the truth of God fills the land that we may, not only in our own land, the North, but in the Southern end of the land, have a mighty revival."

He added that they did not come to unfurl a denominational barrier.

He recalled that when the campaign in Coragarry began in 1971 he preached against ecumenism and called on the people to separate from "the apostate Church," five hands went up. "They were leaving the Church of their fathers and, remember, Protestantism in the South is a small minority. It revolves around the parish church, and if one steps out of that circle he is really on his own." Mr. Foster said.

He prayed that the Coragarry Church would be the mother of many congregations South of the Border.

The Rev. Frank McClelland, Tandragee Free Church, Co. Armagh, said the work of the Free [14] Presbyterians began in 1951 with two churches; by 1966 there were 12 and now they had about 40.

The Rev. Michael Patrick, of Clogher Valley, minister in charge of the new church, said that so much voluntary labour had been done that the church which would normally cost about 35,000, had been built for 11,176 including the site. "This is a miracle church," he said.

Dr. Paisley said he was glad to see the first church opened in the Republic because the people of the area would learn that Free Presbyterians were not the people they thought they were. The press and media, their enemies and opponents, had painted such a picture that people thought the devil incarnate had come and his demons with him. They discovered that Free Presbyterians want to be good neighbours with everyone, help everyone in trouble, and share the burden of humanity's need."

He would not change his message because lie had crossed the Border, He continued, "I believe that the people of the Irish Republic and the people of Northern Ireland like people who are absolutely honest in their views. They may not agree with them, but they like people who are prepared to stand up and defend their views."

The occasion was an historic [15] milestone in the religious history of the island because it was probably the first new Protestant church built in the South since partition, he said. Many Protestant churches had closed and the population had seriously decreased.

A reporter had asked him if he was afraid to come to Coragarry, Dr. Paisley continued, "I am not. After all I have been in the Vatican and was arrested by the Pope's own Gestapo. Why should I be afraid here? I am immortal until my work is done. When you hear I have gone naturally, in an accident or assassinated, you will know I did not go one second before God's time. When the weapons of war are unleashed, when storms are gathering, when the night is dark, I have got peace." [16]

Preacher at Orange Service Wants Union with Rome

At a service of prayer for Christian unity in St. Paul's Parish Church, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. Dr. Hedley W. Plunkett, the President-designate of the Methodist Church in Ireland, said that two factors would eventually bring the mainstream Churches together.

The first factor was the deepening financial austerity which now gripped the western world. In many areas where congregations were small, it was a sin against humanity for Churches, who professed to share a common faith, to waste money unnecessarily on the upkeep of several buildings when one would be quite adequate. The starving millions of the Third World would rise up in judgment against such wanton waste, both of money and manpower.

The second factor was the growing indifference of multitudes to organised religion. The negative and bitter religious warfare being pursued by a small section of the Ulster community had made many intelligent people cynical concerning the real claims of the Gospel. Unless the Churches were wholeheartedly prepared to take seriously the call of Christ to unite in mission and service, organised Christianity might become an irrelevance by the end of this present century.

Dr. Plunkett recently was the special preacher at the Orange Widows' Service in the Grosvenor Hall, Belfast.