The history of Presbyterianism in Ireland can be traced back to 1613. The first Non-Subscribing Presbytery was formed in 1725 and our most notable historical leader, Rev. Dr. Henry Montgomery, took a leading part in the controversy in the 1820s that led to the formation of the Non-Subscribing Remonstrant Synod of Ulster. Our Church refuses to impose compulsory subscription to any man-made creeds in respect of a person’s Christian faith. Our ethos is ‘faith guided by reason and conscience’ and we advocate liberal and tolerant Christianity.
In 1964, Rev. AL. Agnew and Rev. J. McCleery published a booklet ‘Told for its Sunday School’ to tell in a few words, the long and complicated story of our Non-Subscribing Church, to give some sense of the Spiritual back-ground and importance of our movement, take a look at our current publications.
For a detailed account of the history of the Non Subscribing church, written by our Minister Rev. Dr. David Steers click here.
The First Dunmurry NSPCI congregation was established in 1676 and a meeting house was built on a nearby site of which no trace remains.
In 1714 a second church was built, part of which forms the return of the present meeting house.
The current Meeting House was built. The plaque over the left door states that it was built in 1719, a misinterpretation made by a painter. The architect of the building is unknown for certain but it has been thought that it was Roger Mulholland who designed First Church in Rosemary Street in 1783. A stone set in the gable end of the return has the inscription “Anno Christi 1714. Georgii R:J” in other words, built in the first year of the reign of King George 1.
The return at the rear of the church was raised to two stories.
Monument placed in memory of Henry Montgomery, son of Rev Dr Henry Montgomery. Henry Montgomery fought during the First and Second Sikh Wars, and died returning from India in 1857.
Monument placed in memory of Rev Dr Henry Montgomery. Rev. Dr Henry Montgomery, preacher, teacher and reformer was renowned as a brilliant orator who worked tirelessly for the rights of many different causes (including Catholic emancipation) and led the remonstrance of liberal Irish Presbyterians in Ireland.
A beautiful stained-glass window depicting The McCance family’s journey to church was erected in 1900 in memory of John McCance JP (1816-63) and his brother Henry (1829-1900). The McCance family lived at Woodburn House and were in the linen business, the image depicts their journey to Church. The window is attributed to the firm of Tiffany of New York, and it is reasonable to deduce that the designer may have been Agnes Northrop, who began working for that company in 1895. Unfortunately the window was damaged by a bomb blast in the 1970s when the signal box at the level crossing of the railway was blown up. It has since been partly restored.
In the late 19th century a second storey was added to the meeting house and at this time the wall behind the pulpit was pierced to create a balcony and organ loft. Mrs Sheila McMillan, daughter of Rev. John McCleery and wife of Very Rev. William McMillan has composed a wonderful record of the history of the Organ according to her personal memories. Visit our blog to learn more.
The congregation built a new Church Hall, incorporating a part of the old Georgian Manse. The hall was built through the work of volunteers from all sections of the local community in memory of Rev John McCleery. Prior to this all social aspects of the church took place in the Courthouse adjacent to the church grounds.
The Pulpit was beautifully restored in 1976 as a memorial to Miss E Andrews, whose father was Thomas Andrews who was lost in the RMS Titanic disaster. This is recorded by a small brass plaque to the left of the pulpit.
On 18th December 2015, the Ulster Historical Society Blue Circle Plaque commemorating the Rev Dr Henry Montgomery (1788-1865) was unveiled by Very Rev William McMillan, Minister Emeritus of First Dunmurry NSPCI.