Second Congregation of Protestant Dissenters, Belfast




1706 -- June 18. Mr M'Bride wrote to the Session of Belfast, "bearing date from Stranrawer, June 18th, 1706, in which Latter Mr M'Bride declares his Judgement, that if there be 3,000 Persons in Belfast Congregation, there must be 2 Meeting-houses & 2 distinct Congregations, that the two Ministers may know their several Charges." -- Minutes of General Synod.
1708 -- Mar. 2. The Session of Belfast petitioned the Presbytery of Belfast "that Mr Jas Kirkpatrick might be ascertain'd to the new Meeting-house now built, & Mr M'Bride might be ascertain'd to the old Meeting-house & the dwelling-house built for him." -- Minutes of General Synod.
1708 -- Mar. 3. "Agreement betwixt Mr Edwd Brice, Mr Isaac M'Cartney, Mr Robt Lennox on One Part, Mr Wm Crawford & Dr Ferguson on the other Part. The Particulars agreed on were, that the Stipend, being 160 P Annum, should be equally divided into two, but no steps at this Time to be made for dividing, before applying in an orderly Way to the Presby., in Aprile; that the old Meeting-house should be then ascertain'd, viz. on 3rd of March, to Mr M'Bride, & the new to Mr Kirkpatrick." -- Minutes of General Synod.
1708 -- April 12. The Session of Belfast further petitioned the Presbytery of Belfast "recommending & concurring in a Petition to the said Presby. for erecting a new Congregation in Belfast, to meet, & to be under the Particular pastoral Charge of Mr James Kirkpatrick." -- Minutes of General Synod.
1708 -- June 1. The General Synod met at Antrim, when "considering many weighty Reasons for dividing the numerous Congregation of Belfast, do hereby divide the same into two Congregations, & appoint Mr M'Bride & his Congregation to meet for publick Worship in the old Meeting-house, and Mr Jas Kirkpatrick with his Congregation to meet in the new, & that Mr Kirkpatrick shall henceforth preach in the new Meeting-house; that the Stipend shall be collected in common & paid in equal Portions to the two Minrs, & that the Poor's Money shall be kept all together and distributed as formerly, till the Committee to be appointed meet, & that Mr M'Bride shall enjoy the dwelling house now built."
The Moderator was "to commend the Gentlemen of the new Erection for their pious Zeal and Liberality." -- Minutes of General Synod.
1708 -- Sept. 8. "Overtures for regulating the Seats in the old Meeting-house, now vacant by the Removal of their Proprietor to the new House, was read. After very much Reasoning it was overtur'd, that the Commrs of both sides meet and try what they can do amoungh themselves, in order to an Amicable Composition of all their Differences as to this Matter."
"Also appear'd, Wm Crawford, Esqr, Jos Chalmers, Wm Rainey, Senr, James Arbucles, John Eccles, Bryce Blair, Davd Buttle, Dr Victor Ferguson, Edwd Wilson, Alexr Adair, Jos Rainey, Geo. M'Cartney, John Greg, Robt Wilson, Robt Andrews, Robt Millikin, Hugh Boyd, Hugh Dyatt, Wm Rogers, Jos Bell, Thos Lyle, Joseph Biggar, Jos Armstrong, Wm Rainey, Junr, Alexr Moor, Henry Chads, Junr, John Taylor, Wm Sharper, or any 7 of them, commissionate by the new Congregation, subscrib'd by Many Hands, to appear before this Synod in all things relating to them, to act & do as if they were personally present."
Overtured "that Both Congregations be settled and provided for by voluntary Subscriptions." -- Min. of Gen. Syn.
1712 -- June 17. Dr. James Kirkpatrick chosen Moderator of the General Synod at Belfast.
1713 -- June 16. Day of Thanksgiving appointed by Government.
-- June 23. Dr. Kirkpatrick, as Moderator of the General Synod, preached at Antrim on 1st Tim. v. 17.
1714 -- Oct. 20. Dr. Kirkpatrick preached a Thanksgiving Sermon on the Coronation Day of George I.
1719 -- Nov. 2. Royal Assent to Irish Toleration Act.
1720 -- June 21. The Pacific Act passed by the General Synod.
1721 -- June 20. "A motion was made that all the members of the Synod who are willing to Subscribe the Westminr Confession of Faith, according to the terms of the Pacific Act, be allowed by this Synod to do it." Dr. Kirkpatrick and others protested.
1725 -- June 15. The Non-Subscribers put together into the newly-erected Presbytery of Antrim.
Dr. Kirkpatrick and others protested against suspending such ministers as keep ministerial communion with Mr. Colville during his suspension, "as being in their opinion contrary to the great Protestant principle that in religious matters men may act agreeably to the dictates of their own consciences, to the Doctrine of the Westminster Confession, that all Councils and Synods may err, and are not to be made the rule of practice." -- Minutes of General Synod.
1726 -- June 21. Dr. Kirkpatrick submitted to the General Synod "Expedients for Peace" on behalf of the Non-Subscribers.
Presbytery of Antrim excluded from the Synod of Ulster.
"Mr Pat. Simpson told the Synod he had observed much partiality in them, and that he would have no more to do with them, but would take his lot with the Non-Subscribers, the Synod agreed to part with him, Capn. M'Neal joined with Mr Simpson." -- Minutes of Gen. Synod.
1726 -- July 6. Kirkpatrick and Haliday convenedthe whole town of Belfast" to relate to them the great injuries done to the Non-Subscribers, which causeth a great ferment in the place.
1745 -- Dec. 18. Rev. Gilbert Kennedy preached, being the day of the General Fast appointed by Government.
1749 -- April 25. Mr. Kennedy preached, being the day of Public Thanksgiving for the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.
1759 -- Nov. 29. Mr. Kennedy preached, being the day of Public Thanksgiving appointed by authority for the success of the preceding campaign.
1763 -- June 28. Mr. Kennedy chosen Moderator of the General Synod at Lurgan.
1764 -- June 26. Mr. Kennedy, as Moderator of the General Synod, preached at Lurgan on Gal. i. 10.
1767 -- Aug. 31. Lease of premises in Rosemary Lane.
1773-- May 23. Rev. James MacKay preached the Funeral Sermon of Gilbert Kennedy.
1775 -- Jan. 22. The people of the Established Church worshipped for the first time in the N. Meeting-house.
1778 -- June 30. Rev. James Bryson chosen Moderator of the General Synod at Lurgan.
1778 -- Nov. 22. Rev. James Bryson preached before the Belfast Union Volunteers.
1779 -- June 29. Mr. Bryson, as Moderator of the General Synod, preached at Lurgan on Joh v. 39.
1789 -- Building of the new Meeting House.
1789 -- Mar. 15. "This Day, at the request of Government, we returned publick thanks to Almighty God for his Majesty's happy recovery from a long mental indisposition." -- Bryson's MS. Sermons.
1791 -- The Congregation rejoined the Presbytery of Antrim.
1792 -- Dec. 26. General Meeting of the inhabitants of Belfast in the Meeting House for the "purpose of expressing their sentiments on the present state of public affairs, and to enter into such other measures as may be deemed expedient for the accomplishing that great object, an equal representation of the People in Parliament."
1800 -- Jan. 12. Rev. Dr. Bruce preached the Funeral Sermon of Patrick Vance.
1805 -- Sept. 7. Opening of Organ by Edward Bunting.
1816 -- June 24. Resolved -- "That the front Seat in the Gallery, on the left side of the Organ, be appropriated for the use of the students of the Belfast Academical Institution."
1816 -- Oct. 27. Resolved -- " That a sum of 50 be appropriated to the funds for the endowment of a Professorship of Divinity, by the Synod of Ulster, in the Belfast Academical Institution."
1816 -- Nov. 10. Use of the House granted to the Chapel-of-Ease during repairs to their church.
1817 -- June 1. Resolved -- "That a fund be now raised by subscription from the members of this Congregation, for the purpose of assisting the endowment of a Professorship of Divinity, proposed to be founded by the Synod of Ulster, in the Belfast Academical Institution, and likewise to pay such a sum to the Treasurer of the said Institution as will entitle the clergyman of this House, for the time being, to the rights of a proprietor thereof."
1817. Act to relieve persons who impugn the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity from certain penalties.
1822. Evening Services, during the Summer months, at 6 p.m.
1827 -- June. The General Synod, at a meeting held in Strabane, resolved, "We do hold it absolutely incumbent upon us, for the purpose of affording a public testimony to the Truth, as well as to vindicate our religious character as individuals, to declare that we do most firmly hold and believe the doctrine concerning the nature of God, contained in the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism." -- Minutes of General Synod.
1827 -- Aug. 26. Rev. Hugh Hutton, M.A., preached on "The Duty and Benefits of Co-operation among the Friends of Scriptural Christianity." (Published.)
1828 -- June. The General Synod, at a meeting held in Cookstown, resolved, "That if any person be found not to preach the doctrines of the Trinity, Original Sin, Justification by Faith, and Regeneration by the Holy Spirit, or to avow any principles in opposition to these doctrines, he shall not be continued in fellowship with the body."
21 ministers and 16 elders protested against the decision of the Synod, for the following, amongst many other reasons, "Because, if any creed, or test of religious belief, contains nothing but what is to be found in the Bible, it is superfluous; and, if it contains anything contrary to the Bible, it is pernicious -- calculated to mislead the understanding, to prevent the progress of truth, and to perpetuate error." Minutes of General Synod.
1828 -- July 23. Rev. Mr. Carley preached the Funeral Sermon of W. D. H. M'Ewen.
1829 -- Mar. 15. Use of the House granted to the Baptists for a sermon on behalf of free schools in Ireland.
1829 -- May 16. Use of the House granted to the Rev. H. Montgomery, to preach on 24th May on behalf of a number of persons wishing to emigrate to Canada.
1830 -- Feb. 28. The Committee recommend the Seat-holders to grant the use of the House to the Third Congregation for service on Sunday mornings, until they are able to return to their own House, provided they arrange to finish by 10-30 a.m. The Third Congregation declined the offer with thanks.
1830 -- May 25. First Meeting of the Remonstrant Synod of Ulster at Belfast. The Rev. Dr. Bruce, William Bruce, James Johnson, and John Porter, members of the Antrim Presbytery, were invited to sit and deliberate with this Synod.
1831 -- Jan. 10. Resolved to present an Address to the Lord Lieutenant "embodying a strong expression of our adherence to the connection with Great Britain: to the principles of the British Constitution: and also to the principles of Civil and Religious liberty."
1831 -- Feb. 13. Use of the House granted to the Third Congregation for the celebration of the Lord's Supper on the third Sunday in March and the other necessary days.
1831 -- April 9. Meeting held to organise the Unitarian Society for the Diffusion of Christian Knowledge -- John Holmes Houston, of Orangefield, in the chair. Resolved -- "That this Meeting, anxious to promote religious knowledge and the practice of virtue, considers the formation of a Unitarian Tract Society eminently calculated to advance these important objects."
1832 -- May 10. First Annual Meeting of the Unitarian Society, at which Rev. Dr. Montgomery preached on "My People are Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge."
1832 -- Nov. 4. Owing to the members of the First Congregation worshipping in this House during the alteration to their own, the Charity Sermon for the Poorhouse was postponed until the beginning of the following year.
1833 -- Feb. 24. Resolved -- "That it is the opinion of this meeting, that it would be highly desirable to establish a place of worship, where all those professing the Unitarian Faith might have an opportunity of attending Divine Service, which is now denied them by want of accommodation in the present houses."
1833 -- April 21. Use of the House granted to Mr. West for the purpose of preaching and taking a collection on behalf of the schools of the Baptist Society of Ireland in the West of Ireland.
1834 -- April 10. Petition adopted on behalf of the English Dissenters "to obtain relief from the several political grievances under which they suffer."
1834 -- Sept. 7. The Annual Report of the Belfast Charitable Society for 1833 having been submitted to the Committee, and it appearing that the only contributions of weekly collections in Presbyterian Houses of Worship have been from First and Second Congregations:--
Resolved -- "That notice be given to the Committee of said Society of the intention of this Committee to reserve the weekly collections made in this Congregation to be hereafter applied by themselves in aid of their own poor, and that in consequence they will only contribute to the Poorhouse after the 1st November next the amount of the Annual Collection in aid of its funds."
1834 -- Oct. 12. Resolved to have Evening Service during the winter months, and that "the necessary arrangements be made to light the house with candles for this season, and that the members be apprised thereof by circular, and cautioned to provide for the safety of their books."
1836 -- Jan. 24. Use of the House granted to Rev. Mr. Stannus, of Edinburgh, on behalf of debt on his own Congregation.
1837 -- Mar. 5. Resolved -- "That we recommend to the Annual Meeting to petition both Houses of Parliament in support of Mr. Sharman Crawford's Bill for the abolition of the Regium Donum.
1838 -- Jan. 21. Use of the House granted for a soiree of the First and Second Congregations.
1838 -- June 10. Use of the House granted to the Irish Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Association for their meeting on 10th July next.
1838 -- Dec. Purchase of "Beth Berei," York Street. Cost 250.
1839 -- June 2. Presentation to Rev. John Porter of a salver and a purse of 325.
1839 -- Sept. 2. Day School opened in Castle Street.
1839 -- Sept. 29. Resolved -- "To have the House fitted up with Gas Fittings forthwith." Cost, 102 12s 6d.
1839 -- Sept. 29. Use of the House granted to Rev. George Armstrong, of Bristol, to preach on behalf of the Unitarian Tract Society.
1840 -- Jan. 5. The new Meeting-House in York Street opened by Rev. Henry Montgomery, LL.D.
1841 -- Nov. 3. Anniversary Sermons of Unitarian Society by Rev. Charles Wickstead, of Leeds, "The Importance of Christian Unitarianism."
1842 -- Feb. 6. Petition presented to Parliament from the Congregation for the Amendment of the Marriage Laws in Ireland.
1842 -- Oct. 2. "Gymnasium " in Fountain Street purchased for Schools. Cost, 335.
1842 -- Oct. 4. Rev. Dr. W. H. Drummond preached on behalf of the Unitarian Society on "The Right and Duty of Free and Unshackled Inquiry in Religion." (Published.)
1842 -- Dec. 25. Sub-Committee appointed to watch the interests "under the present threats held out of process to deprive the members of this Congregation of their Meeting-house."
1843 -- Sept. 23. Use of the House granted to Dr. John Taylor, of Glasgow, to preach on 8th October the anniversary sermons of the Unitarian Society.
1844 -- July 19. Royal Assent to Dissenters' Chapels Bill.
1845 -- Mar. 31. Presentation to F. D. Finlay, in the Meeting-house of the Second Congregation, for his advocacy of the Dissenters' Chapels Bill.
1845 -- Nov. 30. Rev. Dr. Montgomery preached the Annual Sermon on behalf of the Unitarian Society on "We Persuade Men."
1845 -- Dec. 7. Use of the House granted to Mr. Frederick Douglas to lecture on behalf of the Anti-Slavery Society.
1852 -- Jan. 4. Sunday services changed to 12 and 7 p.m.
1852 -- Mar. 7. Petitions to both Houses of Parliament, praying for the abolition of all sectarian tests in the case of professorships of secular learning, and all other secular offices in the University of Scotland.
1859 -- May 29. Dr. W. H. Channing, of Liverpool, preached on behalf of the Unitarian Society.
1866 -- Jan. 28. Martineau's Hymns adopted.
1867 -- June 30. Permission granted to erect a Memorial Tablet in Meeting- house to H. K. Malcomson, Lieutenant in 46th Regiment.
1868 -- Jan. 19. Adoption of "Common Prayer for Christian Worship in Ten Services for Morning and Evening." London, 1864.
1858 -- April 18. Petition to Parliament in favour of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church.
1871 -- Oct. 24. Congregation left the Presbytery of Antrim.
1872 -- July 24. Stone-laying of the Rosemary Street Schools and Lecture Hall by Mrs. Dr. Ritchie.
1872 -- Nov. Mutual Improvement Association founded.
1873 -- Feb. 7. At the Annual Meeting of the Congregation, it was resolved, "That we highly approve of the suggestion of having a portrait in oil of the Rev. John Porter presented to Mrs. Porter; also to have a duplicate painted for the vestry-room of our church." Mr. E. A. Fuhr appointed secretary of the fund.
1873 -- Mar. 31. Opening of the Schools and Lecture Hall in Rosemary Street by Rev. G. Vance Smith, B.A , Ph.D., of York.
1873 -- Oct. 4. Morning Service changed from 12 o'clock to 11.30 a.m.
1874 -- Feb. 22. Rev. J. C. Street preached funeral sermon of John Porter.
1874 -- May 10. Annual Sermon on behalf of the Unitarian Society preached by Rev. Brooke Herford.
1874 -- June 1. Mrs. Porter presented to the Congregation the library of her late husband.
1877 -- Feb. 28. Congregation approves of the suggestion made by the Committee regarding the adoption of Martineau's new collection of hymns.
1880 -- April 7. Centenary celebration of birth of Dr. Channing in Music Hall; James M. Darbishire, Esq., in the chair. Proposed by the Rev. J. C. Street, "That in commemorating to-day the 100th birthday of William Elery Channing, we desire to pay a reverent tribute to the transcendent beauty and sweetness of his character, which shone through all his acts and all his writings, and constitutes for all time a living exemplification of manly dignity and Christian worth."
1881 -- Jan. 1. The Chronicle and Index of the Unitarian Society, Belfast, published, "which shall at once be a Chronicle of religious activities connected with the Society, and an Index to books." Rev. J. C. Street, Editor.
1881 -- April 24. Jubilee Service of the Unitarian Society, Belfast, held in the Meeting-house, Rosemary Street, at which Rev. H. W. Croskery, F.G.S., of Birmingham, preached.
1881 -- April 25. Welcome Breakfast under the Presidency of W. B. Ritchie, Esq., M.D., J.P.
1881 -- April 26. Conference under the Presidency of Rev. S. C. Nelson of Downpatrick.
Annual Meeting of the Unitarian Society, James M. Darbishire, Esq., in the chair.
1883 -- May 7. Annual Meeting of the Unitarian Society. Moved by Rev. J. C. Street, "That we renew our expression of allegiance to the great principle of religious liberty on which this Society is founded, and we rejoice at any effort on its behalf throughout the world." This resolution was the outcome of the rejection of Mr. Gladstone's Affirmation Bill in the House of Commons by 292 votes against 289, in favour of which bill the Society had forwarded a petition.
1883 -- July 22. Baboo Protap Chunder Mozoomdar preached in the Meeting-house on "Prayer." The preliminary portion of the service was conducted according to the ritual of the Brahmo Somaj, and passages from the works of the Hindu writers, and from the Bible, were read.
1893 -- Jan. 25. Adoption at the Annual Meeting of the Prayer Book compiled by Rev. E. I. Fripp.
1894-- Jan. 17. Resolved -- "That this meeting approve of the suggestion that a new House of Worship be built by the Second Congregation in the neighbourhood of the Lisburn Road or Malone Road."
1894 -- Oct. 3. Use of the house granted to the British and Foreign Unitarian Association.
Resolved -- "That this large and representative meeting hereby offers its hearty welcome to the delegates of the B. and F.U.A., and assures them of its warm interest in the progress of the great cause of Unitarian Christianity, and its appreciation of the services which the Association has rendered and is rendering to that cause, and expresses the hope that the near future may bear witness to increased activity among Unitarians in all parts of Great Britain and Ireland."
1894 -- Dec. 6, 7, 8. Bazaar held in the Ulster Hall, for the Building Fund. Nett amount realised, 833 10s 6d.
1895 -- Oct. 25. Laying of Foundation Stones of All Souls'.
1896 -- Oct. 11. Opening of All Souls' by Rev. Joseph Wood, of Birmingham, Tate Lecturer at Oxford.
1897 -- June 20. Sermon preached by Rev. E. I. Fripp, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the Throne.
1898 -- May 8. Rev. Stopford A. Brooke, M.A., LL.D., preached in All Souls' on "Joy."
1898 -- July 18. Division of the Rosemary Street property sanctioned by the Congregation.
1898 -- Dec. 9, 10, 11. "Grand Carnival" in aid of Building Fund. Nett amount realised, 183 9s 5d.
1899 -- Sept. 28. Rev. Dr. Hunter, of Glasgow, preached in All Souls' on "Public Worship."
1900 -- April 8. The Congregation joined in singing the "National Anthem," being the first Sunday after the Queen's visit to Ireland, and the attempted assassination of the Prince of Wales at Brussels.
1900 -- Oct. 11. Induction of Rev. W. H. Drummond as Minister of the Congregation.



JAMES KIRKPATRICK, M.D., D.D. -- Born (date unknown) -- Son of Rev. Hugh Kirkpatrick of Ballymoney -- Licensed by Presbytery of Route -- Templepatrick 1699- 1706 -- Belfast (First) 1706- 1708 -- Belfast (Second) 1708- 1743-- Died 1743.

GILBERT KENNEDY, M.A. -- Born 1706 -- Son of Rev. Gilbert Kennedy, of Tullylish-- Ordained Lisburn 7th June, 1732 -- Killyleagh 1733-1744 -- Belfast 1744-1773 -- Died 12th May, 1773 -- Buried Clifton Street Graveyard.

JAMES BRYSON, M.A. -- Born -- Ordained Lisburn 7th June, 1764 -- Belfast 1773-1791 -- Belfast (Fourth) 1792-1796 -- Died 3rd October, 1796.

PATRICK VANCE -- Born 1756-- Son of Rev. Thomas Vance, Dublin -- Licensed by Munster Presbytery -- Ordained Sommerhill, County Meath, and May, 1779 -- Belfast 1st August, 1791 -1800-- Died 2nd January, 1800.

WILLIAM HAMILTON DRUMMOND, D.D., M.R.I.A. -- Born at Larne, August, 1778 -- Son of Surgeon Drummond of the Royal Navy -- Licensed by Presbytery of Antrim 9th April, 1800 -- Belfast 26th August, 1800-1815 -- Strand Street, Dublin, 1815-1865-- Died 16th October, 1865 -- Buried Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

W. D. H. M'EWEN, M.A. -- Born 1787-- Son of Rev. George M'Ewen of Killinchy -- Usher's Quay, Dublin, 1808-1813 -- Killinchy 1813-1817 -- Belfast 1817-1828 -- Died 15th July, 1828 -- Buried Killinchy Graveyard.

JOHN PORTER -- Born August, 1800 -- Son of Mr. James Porter of Lough Muck, County Tyrone -- Liverpool (Toxteth Park) 1827-1829 -- Belfast 1829-1874 -- Died 12th February, 1874 -- Buried Shankhill Graveyard, Belfast.

JAMES CHRISTOPHER STREET -- Born January, 1832 -- Son of Mr. Christopher Street of Nottingham -- Ordained in Manchester, 20th March, i860 -- Manchester Superintendent Missionary 1860-1863 -- Newcastle-on-Tyne 1863-1870 - Belfast 1871-1890 -- Northampton 1890-1891 -- Birmingham (Church of Saviour) 1891-1895 -- Shrewsbury 1897.

EDGAR INNES FRIPP, B.A. (Lond.) -- Born November 1861 -- Son of Mr. George Arthur Fripp, R.W.S., of London -- Mansfield 1888-1891 -- Belfast 1891-1900 -- Mansfield 1900.

WILLIAM HAMILTON DRUMMOND, B.A. (Lond.) -- Born 1863 -- Son of James Drummond. M.A. (Oxon.), LL.D,, Hon. Lit D. (T.C.D.), Principal of Manchester College, Oxford, and grandson of the above William Hamilton Drummond, D.D. -- North-End Mission, Liverpool 1887-1889 -- Cross Street Chapel, Manchester, 1889-1893 -- Warrington 1893-1900 -- Belfast 1900.


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