A ‘50th Anniversary Dinner’ was held at the Crown Plaza, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast on Friday October 12 to mark the historic milestone of 50 years at Lisburn Free Presbyterian Church.
The special guests were the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Uel Mackin and the Mayoress Mrs Jennifer Mackin. Following dinner the minister, the Rev Thomas Martin, welcomed the congregation and friends some of whom had come from as far afield as London, Liverpool and Australia to join in the celebration of 50 years in the service of the Lord and the Gospel. Raconteur Robert McAuley kept everyone entertained with some stories and jokes. Victoria McKee (nee Cahoon) presided on piano as Dr Nigel Campbell led the singing of well-known choruses that included, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’ which was chosen and sang by young Annie Givan.
Sarah McMillan sang the solo, ‘It is glory just to walk with Him’ and Carroll Collins, accompanying herself on guitar, sang the solo, ‘So much to thank Him for’.
Lisburn Free Presbyterian Church came into being after a Gospel Tent Mission conducted by the Rev Ian Paisley and the Rev William Beattie during the month of June 1968.
The large tent remained in position throughout the summer months with just an after Church rally being held in it.
During the month of August a portable hall was erected and in the same month it was opened for public worship and for the preaching of the everlasting gospel.
The site for the tent and hall was kindly donated by Mr Isaac Lyons. The Moderator, Dr Paisley, officially constituted the Church on Saturday October 12, 1968.
Among those taking part in the opening ceremony were Rev William Beattie, Rev John Douglas and Rev James Beggs. As the Church grew there was a need for larger premises, so work commenced on a more sizeable and permanent building. The Moderator, Dr Paisley, opened the new building on October 21, 1972.
A few years after the opening, Rev John Douglas became minister of the congregation and continues as senior minister to this present day.
In December 1998 the Rev Thomas Martin was ordained as Co-Pastor alongside Dr Douglas and at present there is a shared ministry in the congregation.
The congregation has continued to grow and moved to the current church on 4th May 2002.