Background in Brief
By Rev'd Robert A McKee BA.,MA.,MEd.
Killinchy Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church traces its origins to 1630 when the Revd John Livingstone was appointed minister While lie preached in the Episcopal Church, he had been ordained in Presbyterian fashion. It vas during the ministry of his successor, Revd Michael Bruce that the first Presbyterian Meeting House in Killinchy vas erected in 1670.The church in turn vas replaced in the time of Revd James Reid in 1814. This vas of a wooden construction and by 1739 it had fallen into a state of decay. At this time the cruciform church now occupied by the Presbyterian Church was built. The Revd George McEven's ministry saw the first split in the congregation, partly as a result of the 'New Light' controversy for in 1791 a portion of the congregation built a church at Lisbane known as the "New Erection"
When the Revd Samuel Watson became minister the congregation was reunited and the 'New Erection' was closed.
During this ministry the question of Subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith came to the fore again. In 1825 the Remonstrant Presbyterians (Non-Subscribers) separated from the Synod of Ulster. At this time Killinchy remained within the Synod of Ulster. By 1835 as a result of interference by this Synod the Revd Watson and many of his congregation felt obliged to withdraw and join the Remonstrants, for a time they remained in the Old Meeting House but as a result of a court case they had to relinquish the building and in 1846 the present Meeting House was opened and was known as Killinchy Remonstrant Presbyterian Church. It was during the ministry of Rev Williams that the congregation changed its name to Killinchy Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church when in 1910 the Remonstrants and the Presbytery Antrim amalgamated to form the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland
For the next 150 years 12 ministers served the congregation.(a full list of which can be found below.) During this period the bitterness experienced at the time of the split melted into history and today there has been good relation not only between the members of the two Presbyterian congregations but also with the Church of Ireland where the Revds Livingstone and Bruce first ministered in the district.
Rev. John Livingstone, M.A.
Born on 21st June, 1603 at Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, where his father the Rev. William Livingstone was minister. Graduated from Glasgow University in 1621. The Rev. John Livingstone's ministry in Killinchy was comparatively brief 1630-1633 deposed, reinstated, deposed, restored to Killinchy in 1634 finally deposed by Bishop Leslie in 1635. On the 5th July 1638 he became minister in Stranraer. In 1654 he preached before Cromwell in London. He died on the 9th August 1682 in Rotterdam to which he had been exiled on 9th April 1663 for his refusal to acknowledge the King as supreme in all matters civil and ecclesiastic.
Rev. Michael Bruce, M.A
In 1657 the Rev. Michael Bruce, M.A. was, on the recommendation of the Rev. John Livingstone, called to Killinchy and ordained here in October of that year by the Presbytery of Ulster. Born in 1634, he was educated at Edinburgh University from which he graduated M.A. in 1654. Deposed by Bishop Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down and Connor for non conformity. However he continued as opportunity offered to preach in barns, limekilns and woods but later fled to Scotland. In 1668 he was imprisoned first in Edinburgh and later transferred by sea to London. In 1670 he settled once more in Killinchy and the first Meeting House was built built with sods and thatched with straw and without pews. In 1689 he returned to Scotland. Died at Anwoth in 1693 and was buried there.
Rev. Archibald Hamilton M.A
He was educated at Edinburgh University from which he graduated M.A. in 1653. He was installed in Benburb in 1660. Installed on the 26th June, 1673 in Armagh, and was further installed in Killinchy in March 1693. He remained minister of Killinchy until his death which occurred suddenly on the 4th January, 1699. He was interred at Bangor.
Rev. James Reid
On the 28th April 1702 the Rev. James Reid was ordained by the Presbytery of Down in Killinchy. He remained in Killinchy until his death which occurred on 1st June, 1753. During his ministery the church hastily erected in 1670 was replaced in 1714. The new church, however,was a wooden very flimsy structure and in 1739 had fallen into such a state of decay that it was pulled down and the present Presbyterian church was built. Mr. Reid was one of those who favoured communion with non-subscribers. The Presbytery of Killyleagh was formed in 1725 to accommodate those who favoured such communion, and the congregation was annexed to this new Presbytery. He died in June 1753 and was interred in Killinchy Churchyard.
Rev. Joseph Kinkead
The Rev. Joseph Kinkead was born at Drumboy near Lifford, Co. Donegal, was licensed by the Presbytery of Letterkenny in 1743 and ordained by that Presbytery in Stranorlar on the 4th September 1745. He came to Killinchy in 1755. He has been described as "a tall fair haired handsome man of somewhat hasty temper".He refused to accept installation at the hands of the Presbytery of Killyleagh. In 1760 the congregation was annexed to the Presbytery of Bangor.On the 28th April 1763 the Rev. Kinkead was installed by the Presbytery of Bangor as minister of Killinchy. He died on 20th July 1782 aged 58 years.
Rev. George McEwen, M.A
Rev. George McEwen, M.A. was born at Carrowreagh, Newtownards in 1762. Licensed by the Belfast Presbytery 1781, and ordained by that Presbytery minister of Killinchy on 11th March 1783. His wife was Jane Dalzell, Ballyreagh, Newtownards. He was unpopular, the congregation dwindled and became divided. In 1791 part of the congregation withdrew and built a church for themselves at Lisbane (the "New Erection) After Mr. McEwen's death the members returned to the Presbyterian Church and the "New Erection" was closed. He died on the 20th March 1795 and was interred in the family vault in Killinchy Old Meeting House Green.
Samuel Watson, M.A (1774-1856)
Born 1774, son of Samuel Watson, farmer of Dromore, Co. Down. Educated Glasgow, M.A. 1794. Licensed by Presbytery of Dromore 1796, subscribed the Westminster Confession of Faith. Ordained at Killinchy By Presbytery of Belfast September 1797. Received with his congregation into the Remonstrant Synod of Ulster 9th September 1835, and thereafter connected with the Remonstrant Presbytery of Bangor. Forced by litigation to vacate meeting house 1843. A new meeting house was built 1846. Died 16th March 1856.
John McCaw ( -1884)
Educated Belfast Academical Institution, General Certificate 1835 Licensed by Remonstrant Presbytery of Armagh 2nd. September 1837. Ordained by Remonstrant Presbytery of Bangor as first minister of the new congregation of Ravara 12th December 1838. Resigned this charge as from 9th January 1855 and Installed on same day as Assistant and Successor to the Rev. Samuel Watson in the congregation of Killinchy. Moderator Remonstrant synod of Ulster 1867-1868, 1877-1878. Died, while still in his charge of Killinchy 1884.
Alfred Lancaster (1854-1932)
Born 26th July 1854 at Padiham, Lancashire. Sometime spinner. Educated for the ministry Home Missionary College and Owens College Manchester 1878-1881. Minister Whitchurch Salop 1881-1882; Missioner Belfast Domestic Mission, Stanhope Street, 1883-1885. Installed at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 12th May 1885. Resigned this charge on 1st. May 1886 and returned to England. Minister Bury, Chesham 1887-1889; Middleton 1890-1899; Bristol Domestic Mission 1900-1901; Moretonhampstend 1901-1913; Tavistock 1914-1918. Retired. Died 5th June 1932 at Padiham.
Alexander Wilson ( - )
Sometime minister of Lisburn Congregational Church. Received by Presbytery of Bangor 3rd August 1886 and Licensed by that Presbytery on same date. Ordained to the charge of Killinchy by same Presbytery 14th. May 1886. Resigned this charge as from end of November 1892.
William Weatherall (1840-1928)
Born 1840 at Liverpool. Ordained at Moira 30th September 1890 by Presbytery of Bangor. Resigned that charge and was installed at Killinchy by same Presbytery 2nd October 1893. Resigned charge of Killinchy as from 31st December 1896. Installed at Moira by same Presbytery 9th. August 1899. Resigned this charge and retired 1921. Died in London 27th March 1928. The Rev.William Alfred Weatherall, Cork (1913-1954) was a son.
Joseph Geary (1883- )
Born 1863 at Banbridge. Sometime Clerk. Educated for the ministry Home Missionary College Manchester 1888-1891. Minister at South Shields 1892-1897. Ordained and Installed at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 17th August 1897. Resigned this charge 1908.
David John Williams (1871-1947)
Born 1871. A native of Postgwyn near Lampeter. Educated Trecynon Seminary Aberdare and Home Missionary Board Manchester 1889-1892. Minister Newark 1892-1895; MerthyrTydfil 1895-1905, Belper 1905-1908. Ordained at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 7th. January 1909. Moderator Remonstrant Synod of Ulster 1913-1914, 1923-1924. Editor the 'Non-Subscribing Presbyterian' 1927-1929. Moderator of the General Synod of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland 1927-1928. Resigned his charge of Killinchy 1938. Died in London 9th January 1947.
Alexander Murdoch Bell BA. (1888-1972)
Born 1888. A native of Belfast. Educated Queen's University Belfast 1912-1915, B.A. 1915; Home Missionary College and Manchester University 1919-1921. A student for the ministry under the Presbytery of Antrim. Ordained and Installed at Ballyclare by same Presbytery 29th September 1921. Resigned that charge 28th June 1939 on receiving a call from Killinchy where he was Installed by Presbytery of Bangor 29th June 1939. Moderator Remonstrant Synod of Ulster 1940-1941. Resigned his charge of Killinchy 31st July 1952. Installed to the charges of Templepatrick and Crumlin by Presbytery of Templepatrick 2nd October 1954. Moderator Remonstrant Synod of Ulster 1961-1962. Retired from the active ministry 1961. Lived thereafter in Ballyclare. Died 11th September 1972.
John William Dyer (1893-1972)
Bom 27th October 1893. A native of Rutland. Educated at Cliff College. A conscientious objector during First World War, imprisoned. Post war on South Yorkshire Coalfield Commission staff. A Methodist local preacher. Trained for the ministry at Unitarian College Manchester and Manchester University 1927- 1930. Lay Charge Manchester Longsight 1926-1930, Minister of same 1930-1933. Minister Sheffield Unity 1933-1939; Great Hucklow and Bradwell 1939-1945; Buxton and Flagg 1945-1950; Platt and Sale 1950- 1953; Manchester District Minister 1950- 1953. Ordained and Installed at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 28th March 1953. Moderator Remonstrant Synod of Ulster 1954- 1955, 1958-1959.Moderator of General Synod of Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland 1958-1960. Resigned his charge of Killinchy 31st October 1961 and returned to England. Minister Tenterden and Northiam 1961-1964. Retired to live in Northern Ireland. 1968 undertook temporary pastoral oversight in Chatham. Died 17th December 1972. Cremated at Maidstone.
Scott Little Johnston (1902-1982)
Bom 24th September 1902 in Edinburgh. After leaving High School he worked as a technician in the University and, later, in the building trade. Educated for the ministry Unitarian College Manchester and Manchester University 1947-1950. Lay Charge Bury, Chesham 1947-1950, Minister 1950-1952. Minister Old Meeting House Dudley, Worcestershire 1952-1954. Ordained and Installed at Banbridge by Presbytery of Bangor 24th July 1954. Resigned that charge as from 31st October 1962. Minister Oldham and Manchester, Blackley 1962-1965. Installed at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 8th October 1965. Resigned that charge 1968 and retired, returning to live in Edinburgh. Died in Edinburgh 25th October 1982.
Philip Noble Tindall, M.A., B.D., Ph.D. (1910-2009 )
Born Pudsey, Leeds 31st December 1910. Sometime Sanitary and Heating Engineer . Educated for the ministry Unitarian College Manchester and Manchester University 1931-1937, B A. Manchester 1934, B.D.1937, M.A. 1939; Research Student Manchester 1946-1949, Ph.D. 1950. Minister Accrington 1937-1942; Sheffield, Stannington 1942-1952, with Fulwood 1942-1948. Tutor Manchester College Oxford 1949-1952. Minister Liverpool, Dingle 1953-1962 Ordained and Installed at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 9th June 1962. Resigned that charge 1964 and returned to England. Minister Sheffield Fulwood 1964-1972; Newcastle Upon Tyne 1972-1976. Retired to live at Pudsey.
Peter Edward Wright
Educated Glasgow University and Glasgow Baptist College 1962-1965; Unitarian College Manchester 1965-1966; Dip. Theol., London 1966. Lay Pastor Todmorden 1965-1966, Minister Todmorden 1966-1968. Ordained and Installed at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 13thDecember 1968. Resigned this charge as from end of June 1970.
Robert Alexander McKee B.A., M.A., M.Ed. (1948- )
Born 26th November 1948, son of John McKee of Ballycarry. Educated Larne Grammar School; Unitarian College Manchester 1968-1973; Manchester University 1970-1972; Stranmillis College Belfast 1973-1976, Certificate of Education 1976; Open University, B.A. 1980. Student for the ministry under the Presbytery of Antrim. Transferred to the Presbytery of Bangor January 1973. Ordained and Installed at Killinchy by Presbytery of Bangor 23rd July 1973. From 1976 followed a simultaneous career in teaching, chiefly at Lagan College, Belfast. Moderator of the General Synod of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland 1992-1994 and again 2008-2010. Chaplain Tutor at Manchester College Oxford 1995-1996 during leave of absence from Killinchy, M.A. Oxon 1996. Open University M.Ed. 2004. Resigned this charge at the end of October 2010.