New Minister And Congregation Welcomed

Date: Friday, 11 July 2014
Author: Rev Andrew R Allan

On the 21st of May this year the General Assembly received an application for admission to the ministry of our church from Rev E Trevor Kirkland with effect from his signing the Formula. On the same day the General Assembly admitted the Ballyclare & Doagh congregation as a congregation of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) with Mr. Kirkland as minister

Accordingly the Southern Presbytery appointed the signing of the Formula by Mr. Kirkland to take place on the 1st of July at a Recognition Service held in the Torrens Memorial Hall, Doagh,Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, the congregation's usual place of worship.

Presbytery Moderator Rev David Fraser, ministers Rev's. John J Murray, Gavin Beers and Andrew R Allan, and Partick elder Mr. John N Gillies, travelled to Northern Ireland to take part in the service, with four guests.

We left Stranraer by ferry at 11.30am and arrived in Belfast around 1.45pm having enjoyed a very pleasant and smooth journey. We then travelled to the Kirklands' home in Ballyclare and met Mr. Kirkland, his wife Diane and son Matthew. As we had some time before the evening meeting Mr. Kirkland took us on a brief historical tour to the grave of Rev Josias Welsh, grandson of John Knox, who was for sometime a minister in the Templepatrick area. At the graveyard Mr. Kirkland gave a brief historical outline of Mr. Welsh's ministry. At the conclusion two verses were sung from Psalm 68.

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Members of Southern Presbytery and guests at the grave of Josias Welsh with Rev Kirkland, right,

The Presbytery constituted at 7.15pm and at 7.30pm the Rev David Fraser conducted public worship. The sermon was preached by Ayr minister Rev Gavin Beers who chose Isaiah 40:9 as his text. He preached most appropriately for the occasion highlighting three things from the text; 1. Who will spread the gospel? 2. What is the gospel? and 3. How shall we spread the gospel?

After public worship the normal induction service pattern was followed. The Rev Graeme Craig, Stornoway, on holiday with some of his family, was associated with the Presbytery, and at the relevant time was invited to address Mr. Kirkland. Questions were put to Mr. Kirkland and the Formula was duly signed following which Mr. Fraser engaged in prayer and then extended the right hand of fellowship to Mr. Kirkland. The remaining members of the Presbytery warmly welcomed Mr. Kirkland and then Mr. Allan addressed the congregation.

The formal part of the evening concluded with intimations, giving of thanks for the refreshments and the Benediction.

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Mr Kirkland signs the Formula.

Afterwards around seventy persons enjoyed a sumptuous tea provided and served by the ladies from the congregation. Mr. Kirkland then took the chair and read a number of greetings from brethren who were not present and asked Rev Bill Malcolmson, Congregational Reformed Church, Belfast, to speak.

The evening concluded with the congregation singing Psalm 72:16-19 followed by prayer by Mr. Kirkland.

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Rev Trevor Kirkland and his wife Diane, left, pictured with many of the Ballyclare & Doagh congregation.

The Scottish delegation then left to catch their ferry back to Stranraer with some not arriving home until around 4.30am.

It was a very pleasant and enjoyable experience to meet and be with our first congregation in Northern Ireland. We enjoyed warm fellowship as we shared common gospel interests. We wish Mr. Kirkland and his congregation well as he seeks to serve God in that part of his vineyard. We will remember them in prayer as we trust they will remember us.

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With Mr. Kirkland are left to right, Rev's David Fraser, Graeme Craig, Gavin Beers, Mr John N Gillies, Rev's John J Murray and Andrew R Allan.