The history of our congregation

The history of our congregation

The history of Trinity starts with a group of Presbyterian tenants who worshiped in an old chapel adjacent to Galgorm Castle. In this group were a number of the descendants of craftsmen that Dr Colville had employed to finish oak panelling and decorative work in the castle. One prominent and influential family among these were the Raphaels.  Mr Carmichael who had preaching duties at Kirkinriola and the Braid had married the eldest daughter of William Raphael in 1798 and it was their support that enabled our future first minister to gather a congregation around him. Many of those who supported him were also nominally connected to the Secession Church in Ahoghill . The United Irish rebellion took place in 1798 and conflicting opinions about this surfaced in the church along with dissentions over the selection of a new minister. The result of this was that one half of the congregation issued a call to Mr Thomas Carmichael and left with the intention of building a new church which they did in 1806, this became the First Secession Church and much later Trinity.

The congregation had rented three plots of land from Captain McManus of Mount Davies and planned to use the rear section of these for the Church and to sublet the others for development but after some time it became obvious that there was no demand for them as Ahoghill was not growing in this direction In 1829 the parish churchyard was full so it was decided to use the land as a burial ground.  The occasion is clearly recorded by a headstone which reads “Here lieth the remains of Sarah Gordon of Galgorm who died on the 12th of June 1829 being the first person interred in this burying ground.

Little information is available about the Rev Thomas Carmichael except that he remained as Minister for over 40 years until he was quite old , in bad health and had offered his resignation. For some time Presbytery had in effect been running the congregation and seeking his successor but because of strongly differing views held by members he withdrew his request to resign.   He had moved to Cairncastle for the sake of his health and appeals to him by the congregation and Presbytery to return failed to persuade him to do so in a manner in which he could effectively discharge his duties.

After a lengthy and acrimonious vacancy when calls and protests against the calls were made to two other candidates the Rev Frederick Buick was appointed on the 3rd of November1835. Frederick Buick’s appointment united the congregation and heralded a period of great stability and growth.

In 1840 the church was rebuilt and old photographs show that it had a high circular pulpit with a sounding board suspended by an iron rod above it which some likened to a candle snuffer.  The building must have been rather cold for in 1852 when donations were requested for a stove the money raised was much in excess of what was required.  The prospect of being warm and comfortable obviously appealed to the congregation. As numbers were increasing and accommodation was limited it was decided to install a gallery which owing to the limited height available was never really a success.   By 1894 the church had become unsuitable for the increasing needs of the congregation and it was decided to” remodel” , in fact it was almost a reconstruction of the building altering its shape and appearance. The church as it appears today is largely as it was left in 1896.

Spiritually the greatest event to occur during Buick’s ministry was the revival of 1859 when there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and many experienced a great and over powering sense of conviction of sin. Prayer became a priority and prayer meetings overflowed with people seeking forgiveness or pleading with God for the salvation of others.  Frederick Buicks ministry ended in 1900 and it is recorded that he was presented with an illuminated manuscript expressing the congregation’s gratitude and a purse containing 100 gold sovereigns.  For most of the time he lived in Rose Cottage on the Glenhugh road which still stands and is noticeable because it still has the rather distinctive pillars at the end of the now disused entrance.

From the beginning of the 20th century our ministers have been:

Rev John Hamill Maconaghie     1900 – 1902
Rev James Pyper                              1903 – 1910
Rev W R Magee                                  1910  – 1919
Rev W D Patton Waddell                1919  – 1922
Rev J E Mac Larnon                         1923  – 1930
Rev D Porter                                       1931   – 1936
Rev R E Alexander                           1937  –  1943
Rev RVA Lynas                                 1943   – 1947
Rev WHH Stewart                             1947  – 1955
Rev W Fleming                                  1955 –  1969
Rev Dr REH Uprichard                  1970 –  2011
Rev B A Smyth                                   2013 – Present

Dr R E H Uprichard  the author of several books and theological studies is the only serving minister from Trinity to become Moderator of The General Assembly; other ministers had become moderators after they left the congregation like the Rev R V A Lynas and Rev William Fleming.   Dr Uprichard is the third longest serving minister and during his time like that of Frederick Buick great changes to the church buildings took place.   Since its construction in 1901 the church had used the Buick Hall as a Sunday school and hall but a new building was erected  closer to the church in 1975.  The Buick Hall site was sold and is now occupied by a dwelling called Buick House. More recently our magnificent suite of halls has been built and a new manse erected on the site of the old one to provide suitable accommodation for our ministers.

Our current minister is the Rev Brian Smyth who was ordained and installed on the 12th April, 2013.