West Church Ballymena – ‘’A Church of the Revival’

One of the effects of the 1859 Revival was the building of new churches to accommodate the growing number of people joining Presbyterian churches, especially in the area where the Revival began. One of the churches that grew out of that Revival was West Church in Ballymena. The accommodation in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church (or 3rd Ballymena) was no longer adequate so it was decided, after much debate, to build a new church which opened in 1863.

A Church of Revival - West Church BallymenaWest Church Ballymena ‘A Church of the Revival’

A new history of the congregation has just been compiled by Jennifer McLernon and Maurice Livingstone that documents the early beginnings of the church, the developments during the period of each of the church’s ministers, as well as chapters on the church’s involvement with the community, on the church and young people and on the various other organisations.

Copies of the history can be obtained from the West Church Office by e-mailing westchurch.ballymena@btinternet.com.
(The cost is £10.00 plus £1.50 for UK postage and packaging – subject to confirmation.)
West Church Office – telephone: (028) 2564 8327
(Office Hours – Tuesday to Friday, 9am-2pm.)

View the Website of West Church, Ballymena.



PHSI Lecture – Presbyterian Chaplaincy in the First World War

Thursday 20 November 2014 at 8.00pm.

The Lecture by the Rev Dr Victor Dobbin on Presbyterian Chaplaincy in the First World War will be held in Malone Presbyterian Church, 462 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 6GT.

The Rev Dr Victor Dobbin CB, MBE, QHC, DD  is former Chaplain-General, HM Forces.

An exhibition about Malone Presbyterian Church and its connections with the First World War will be open for viewing on the evening of the lecture.

The Lecture is expected to start at 8.15pm approximately.

Refreshments afterwards in the Minor Hall.  Everybody welcome.

Explore more on …

… the BBC Your Paintings website

… the Malone Presbyterian Church website

… the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department website


Dead Handy!  New Graveyard Book for PHSI Library

Recently received for the Library – a new book by Dorothy Arthur
Ballymoney Old Church Graveyard

Gravestones are a very important resource for anyone researching their family history or studying families in an area when other documentary sources are non-existant.  You will find Dorothy Arthur’s latest volume in her series of graveyard books for North Antrim a most useful (dead handy) resource.  These are not just transcriptions of the gravestones but also contain additional information for each family and a photograph of the actual gravestone.

This new book is for Kilraughts Old Church Graveyard, County Antrim, in which most of the burials are of Presbyterians and Reformed Presbyterians.  The burials are of people from the Kilraughts, Loughguile, Stranocum and Ballymoney area.  A map of the graveyard is included that makes it easy to locate the actual grave.  At the back of the book records there is a record of the family names and locations of older families buried in 1st Kilraughts Presbyterain churchyard and Kilraughts Reformed Presbyterian churchyard.

Introduction by the author Dorothy Arthur

Explore more …

Location of Kilraughts Old Graveyard - Google Maps

Location of Kilraughts Old Graveyard – OSI Historic Maps

Taking to the Hills – from a history of First Kilraughts Presbyterian Church

Kilraughts Graveyard – Ballymoney Tourism


Reformation Sunday 2014

PC(USA) Logo

October 26th is Reformation Sunday.

John Knox and the Queens of Britain

This year, the Presbyterian Historical Society (The National Archive of the PC(USA)) commemorates the 500th birthday of John Knox (ca. 1514-1572) by exploring his famous interview with Queen Mary of Scots at Holyrood Palace in 1561.
See more at: history.pcusa.org/reformation-sunday#sthash.64GqqHEs.dpuf

View the 2014 Bulletin Insert.


An Interesting Bible Donation to PHSI Library

Bible - Galway Presbyterian Church

Front page of the Bible

The PHSI Library recently acquired a very large family Bible from Galway Presbyterian Church.  It is the Illustrated Family Bible with original notes by John Kitto and introductions to various Old and New Testament books by the Rev Canon Birks, published c. 1860.  While it is interesting in its own right because of the 1200 wood engravings and colour photographs it is the history behind this particular copy that is fascinating.


It was presented in 1875 to the Rev Dr James Gardner Robb who at the time was minister of Cooke’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Canada, by many friends unconnected with the with his congregation in recognition of his able vindication of Scriptural truth and bold defence of Protestant principles.  It was then given by his family to Galway Presbyterian Church in January 1929 in memory their father’s ministry in Galway.

The James Gardner Robb was born in 1833 the son of Alexander Robb, a farmer in Scrabo, Newtownards.  Educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Queen’s College, Belfast, and Assembly’s College, Belfast, he was licensed by Belfast Presbytery in 1857 and in the following year was ordained in Clogher Presbyterian Church.  In 1863 he married Martha Hanna, the daughter of his predecessor in Clogher, the Rev John Hanna.

He then emigrated to Canada in 1874 where he became minister of Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Toronto.  During his ministry there he was awarded a DD from Hanover College, Indiana in 1877, and became known as the ‘Champion of Evangelical Protestantism’.

However, he returned to Ireland in 1879 and became minister of Galway Presbyterian Church and shortly after was awarded an LLD by the Royal University of Ireland (1881).  His ministry in Galway was very short as he died in 1881.

Two of the Rev Robb’s sons held important positions in Northern Ireland society:

Dr Alexander Gardner Robb, 1866-1940, the eldest son,was resident physician at the Union Fever Hospital, Belfast, and became the first Medical Superintendent of Belfast City Fever Hospital at Purdysburn when it opened in 1906.  He devoted his entire life to the treatment and study of infectious diseases.

John Hanna Robb, 1873-1956, was a barrister, Ulster Unionist politician and Stormont MP for Queen’s University from 1921-1937.  He then became leader of the Northern Ireland Senate and Minister of Education (1937-43) and from 1943 sat as a county court judge.

Also, these may be of interest…

Toronto Public Library – Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Toronto

Archeion – Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Toronto

Canadiana – Annals of Sixty Years, Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Toronto



Binns Organ Centenary Festival at May Street Church

100 years in the piping.

Binns Organ


Details of the events on Thursday 16, Friday 17 and  Saturday 18 October 2014.


View the May Street Church website.


Exodus or Exile? A Story of “Porting” across the Foyle

The next lecture the 2014-15 PHSI Programme -

Wednesday 15 October 2014 at 8.00 pm

Kilfennan Presbyterian Church, Londonderry

Exodus or Exile? A Story of “Porting” across the Foyle

The Very Rev Dr Rob Craig

Kilfennan Presbyterian Church

View the Kilfennan Presbyterian Church website


Kilfennan Presbyterian Church
54 Rossdowney Road
BT47 6ST

KPC Location

Car park entrance via Grangewood Park

Great James Street Location

Great James Street Presbyterian Church (Heritage Trail)




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