Approximately 400 people gathered at Carryduff Free Presbyterian Church on Friday 15th June 2018 at 8pm, to witness the Rev. Thomas Murray, Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, officially open and dedicate the newly built meeting house to the glory of God and for the preaching of the gospel. This was indeed a historic night in the 42 year history of the work at the Killynure Schoolhouse.

The official service began with community singing, ably conducted by Rev. Fred Greenfield, followed by the opening ceremony at the front door. The keys of the church were presented by Mr. Silas Cousins (main builder) to Rev. Thomas Murray who officially declared the church open and offered a dedicatory prayer.

Within the entrance porch, Rev. David McLaughlin, Minister of the church and Rev. Thomas Murray, unveiled memorial stones commemorating this historic event. Rev. McLaughlin made reference to the testimony and witness of past members, now at home with the Lord.

After the singing of Psalm 100, led by Rev. David McLaughlin, he welcomed the large assembly and briefly gave a historical account of the workings of God in the congregation from its constitution 22 years ago. Rev. Gordon Dane, Deputy Moderator and minister of Crossgar FPC, opened in prayer.

The scripture reading was then read by Rev. Graham Middleton from Matthew 7v15-29 where we read about the wise man that built his house upon a rock.

Laurence Crawford, who attended the Sunday School and Children’s Meetings in the Old Killynure Schoolhouse from when the work was founded 42 years ago sang, along with his group, the Kingdom Heirs. They sung two lovely pieces entitled, My Chains Are Gone, and, I Come To The Garden. On the second song, the group were joined by the Rev. Middleton, who attended Killynure meetings with Laurence, many years ago.

Rev. Alan Smylie, minister of Ballygowan FPC, brought greetings from Presbytery and Rev. David McLaughlin proffered, on behalf of the Carryduff congregation, many acknowledgements to the architect, the main contractor, various tradesmen, and a band of willing helpers/cleaners who all contributed to make the opening possible. This was followed by certain necessary announcements.

After the Offering Hymn, Rev. McLaughlin offered a thanksgiving prayer for the sacrificial giving of many individuals inside and outside the congregation during the past 17 years from the 2 acre site was purchased from Mr. James Lowe.

The Clerk of Session of the church, Mr. George Anderson, then oversaw the presentations to some of the key people involved in the construction of the new meeting house, followed by singing of a final hymn by the Kingdom Heirs, Just As I Am.

Rev. Thomas Murray brought a stirring sermon on building your life on the solid rock of Christ and issued a call for Christians to be ready for any storms in their lives by strengthening their faith in Christ.

The total building fund offering for the first 2 weeks in June, including other gifts by local churches, amounted to £28,732.02 for which we thank and praise the Lord. To Him be all the Glory.

After the closing hymn, Rev. Gary Goodes, minister of Randalstown FPC publicly thanked the Rev. McLaughlin for his vision, passion and commitment to see a meeting house built in Carryduff. He then proceeded to close in prayer, pronounce the benediction and gave thanks for the sumptuous supper provided by the ladies of the congregation.

As a congregation we want to thank all who attended the opening service and for supporting the work financially. The church was full to capacity and God’s presence and power was a positive reality in the service. Rev. McLaughlin would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make it such a wonderful, memorable occasion and all the tradesmen who used their professional skill to produce such a masterpiece in architecture.