Building for the future at Abbots Cross church

Gillian Davidson, Ethan Gray and Sammy Grant opening the newly refurbished buildings at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church. INNT 14-055-GR
Gillian Davidson, Ethan Gray and Sammy Grant opening the newly refurbished buildings at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church. INNT 14-055-GR

In the late 1940s Abbots Cross was a fast developing region with new houses being built and families moving into the area.

Some people from Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church foresaw a need for a permanent Christian presence in the local area. And after visiting a site at Abbots Cross, a decision was made for a church extension project to begin - the start of life for Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church.

Gary O'Rourke, Seren Elliott and Florence McKaig opening the newly refurbished buildings at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church. INNT 14-056-GR

Gary O'Rourke, Seren Elliott and Florence McKaig opening the newly refurbished buildings at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church. INNT 14-056-GR

On 29th May 1949 a Sunday School began in two Nissen huts and on 20th November 1949 the first service of public worship was held. Ten people attended.

From that point onwards the church grew steadily, and it was constituted to the full status of a Congregation in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on 17th January 1960. Harry Magill was ordained as the first minister on 22nd January 1953 and served for 16 years.

In 1956 the foundation stones of the new Hall/Church (dual purpose) were laid, and the building was completed by the following year. It was officially opened on 9th March 1957, and a hall was then added in 1964. On 18th June 1969 William Fleming was ordained as the second minister of the church.

As the church family grew, so too did the need for a further development of the building complex. The Magill Hall was built and opened on 12th November 1988, and to this day this room is used regularly each week for a range of activities including Sunday evening services, midweek meetings, Cuppa and Chat, Just Women, Men’s Fellowship and PW.

On 1st September 1994 Ivan Neish was installed as the third minister of the church family. His ministry in Abbots Cross has continued ever since.

At the beginning of 2014 the church family committed themselves to an exciting renovation project which would involve demolishing the vestibule and stage, replacing it with a new, smaller, but brighter entrance. The rear section of the building would be removed, and replaced by an informal space where people could mingle and relax, as well as a meeting room, small kitchen and toilet facilities.

Saturday 4th April 2015, marked the official reopening of the refurbished building after ten months of renovation work. We regard this as an important investment for the future mission of our congregation in the years to come. We are excited about the prospect of having new facilities which can be enjoyed by those who currently use the buildings on a regular basis, as well as providing us with the opportunity to make connections with the local community.

One initiative which will begin in the near future is the establishment of a Food Bank, providing not just food for those in need, but an opportunity to support those struggling with the challenges of life in a much deeper way.

As we look back, we also look forward to the years in God’s will that lie ahead. We continue to move on and adapt to a changing world and society, recognising that what God uses in one generation may be different from another. However, the one thing that will never, and must never change, is the message upon which the church is built, the Good News that Jesus Christ died to save sinners like us, and to bring us into His eternal family and Kingdom. In this message we rejoice and to this we must always be faithful.

The church is not a building but a community of people, and it is our vision, hope and prayer that this refurbished building complex will continue to be used in many creative ways, to reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to others, so that they may discover the life that only God can give.

Please feel free to call in to see us at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church. There’s always lots on for all ages.

You can find out more information about the life and witness of the congregation by visiting the website - www.acpc.co.uk - or by calling 028 9085 2120.