First Lisburn major renovation begins

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First Lisburn Presbyterian Church held its final service in the church on Sunday (April 6) before an extensive refurbishment gets under way.

Minister Emeritus Dr Gordon Gray led the service, which also welcomed a new little member to the church family with a baptism being held during the traditional service.

This week work got under way for the renovation, which will reconfigure part of the church and make it fit for the 21st century. The renovation scheme, ‘Project 325’, began in 2013 which marked the 325th anniversary of First Lisburn Presbyterian.

Over the years the church building has been re-modelled to suit the needs of the last centuries. Project 325 meets the challenge of repairing and restoring the church building in a way that looks to the future and that provides for the worship needs of today. The project is led by Gordon McKeown and Phil McLean, the church property conveners.

“For some time we have seen the need to create a worship space that is flexible and yet sensitive to the historic character of the church,” explained Rev John Brackenridge. “At present we have a very crowded area at the front, a temporary staging built over some pews and no open areas for flexible contemporary worship. At the same time, the whole building has fallen into a state of disrepair, best seen in the need to strap the pillars which support the galleries. We need to replace the floor, upgrade the heating and electrical system and upgrade all aspects of the fabric of the building. Following the suggestion of The Architectural Committee of PCI we will install flexible seating. The gallery sides will be shortened and new communications systems installed.

“During the renovation work, the traditional morning service will be held in the recently refurbished church halls, following the early, informal family service.

“The truth of the Scripture, ‘the Lord will provide’, has been proven and it is a delight and total privilege to be part of First Lisburn at a time of exciting change and a time when our team of all ages are learning the joy of working together for a common goal - the glory of God,” concluded Rev Brackenridge. “We are celebrating 325 years by giving, working together and believing that God has a future for His church. It’s not a bad way to celebrate.”