Members of Kells Presbyterian Church in County Antrim will celebrate their 150th Anniversary with a special service on Sunday 11th February 2024 beginning at 12noon.
On 24th March 1874 Rev Thomas Eaton M.A. was ordained as the first minister of Kells congregation.
This congregation grew out of the great Revival of 1859 when so many were converted, that Connor Meeting House could no longer hold them all.
God’s word proclaimed had changed the nature of the area. Prior to this in 1853 the Irish Presbyterian had noted “many seem to put on religion with their Sunday clothes…from one Sabbath to another the Bible lies unopened on their shelves…They rise in the morning and they lie down at night without bending the knee in prayer…How many are there who are living in open disregard of the Divine Law.
On 8th August 1873, Kells was established by Ballymena Presbytery and until 1876, the congregation met in the Campbell School, (now the Pigeon Club.) After his installation, Rev. Eaton appealed to people to give to the construction of a meetinghouse and undertook two preaching tours to the USA in support of this. The current building was opened in 1873 at a cost of £3000.
The nearby congregation of Eskylane joined the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1903 following a split with Kellswater Reformed Presbyterian and continued with their own Minister, Rev. Moffett, until his retirement in 1917. Subsequently, Kells & Eskylane became a joint charge and they continue to have a great relationship to this day.
To date, a total of eight men have occupied the pulpit at Kells: Rev Thomas Eaton, Rev. James Cully, Rev. Hugh Charles Wilson, Rev. James Walter Houston, Rev. John Williamson (Jack) Mills, Rev. John Leslie Casement, Rev. John Stafford Carson and Rev. William Brian Boyd who arrived in June 1992.
Rev Brian Boyd told The Church Page:
“God has been very good to us throughout our history but we don’t want to live in the past. God continues to bless us today and we look forward with anticipation to what He is going to do in the future. He has brought us through COVID without the massive decline that has been seen in some other places. He has also brought new individuals and families into our existing warm fellowship. We know that He will continue to bless the Word as it is read and preached.”
Friends of the congregation at Kells & Eskylane are very welcome to come to the special service which will be attended by the three living former Ministers in addition to others who have been ‘sent out’ from Kells as PCI Ministers.
For more information on the work and witness of Kells Presbyterian Church, log on to www.kellschurch.com