We wish to acknowledge the help of the following:
Mr. D. W. Alexander for advice and reading the script and proofs. Rev.
W.H. Gray, Mr. A. MacLurg, and Rev. C.J.C. McMullen for their
Summit Printing for valued assistance.
Rev. David Knox, B. A., B. D.
Forty years is not a long time in the history of any church, but the first
forty years of Harmony Hill congregation provide us with an encouraging and
exciting story. From the earliest days in February 1954 (when, by the way, I
was only a toddler) until 1994 when I now have the privilege of being
minister of the congregation, the story is one of growth from infancy to
This short history will be of particular interest to those members who
remember those first years worshipping together in the Lambeg Hall. It will
also make fascinating reading for the many families who have joined Harmony
Hill in the years since.
Today over 500 families worship and relax in one of the finest suite of
buildings in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Most days of the week
groups of people are enjoying the facilities, morning, afternoon and
evening. Forty years on we must all be grateful to God for the people who
had the vision, the enthusiasm and the energy to establish a new Cause for
Christ at Lambeg, and to all who combine to serve Him in so many ways to
this present day.
It is my hope that many copies of "Forty Years On" will be sold and
distributed far and wide in 1994. Our very best thanks to Stanley and Beth
Wallace for undertaking this worthwhile project and to all who helped make
its production possible.
Glory be to God for all He has done and will do.
The History of Harmony Hill
This short history traces the life of the Presbyterian Church in Lambeg
from the founding of a Sunday School by First Lisburn Presbyterian Church in
1902 to the present day Harmony Hill Church in 1994.
Then in 1929 it was decided by First Lisburn Session to improve and
enlarge the facilities in Lambeg and a hall was bought from Mr. William
Belshaw for £500. An afternoon Sun day School was held there, Mr. R.S.
Fisher being Superintendent for 25 years. Mr. D. Kilpatrick and other
members of the Fisher Family of Ballyskeagh were prominent in running this
school. This building became the first Meeting House for the congregation
which was formed later. The Church Hall consisted of one large room upstairs
and two small rooms downstairs and became known as Lambeg Presbyterian
LAMBEG IN LATE 19th and EARLY 20th CENTURIES
The main employment in Lambeg district apart from farmingwas connected
with the manufacture of linen. There were two factories, the Lambeg Weaving
Company on the Ballyskeagh Road (now occupied by several firms) and the
Lambeg Bleaching, Dyeing and Finishing Company (now occupied by CocaCola).
Much of the land was occupied by the estates of the linen merchants,
Glenmore, Lambeg House, Aberdelghy, Derryvolgie and Chrome Hill. The
majority ofsmaller houseswere in Lambeg village, Station Road, Green Hill
and Nevin's Row (named after a former owner of the Lambeg Weaving Company).
There were a number of cottages at the corner of Harmony Hill and the Moss
Road which was a narrow country lane with a stream running beside it. After
the 1914-1918 war, ex-servicemens' houses were built on the Moss Road. The
Church of Ireland Parish Church was the only church in the district and
Presbyterians attended churches in Hillhall or Lisburn.
FIRST LISBURN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Lambeg was in the Parish of First Lisburn Presbyterian Church. In 1902
First Lisburn, under the leadership of their Minister, Rev. J J. Breakey,
B.A., rented a house in Lambeg village for the purpose of holding Prayer
Meetings and opening a Sunday School. In 1955 his son, the Very Rev. Dr. J.
C. Breakey, who was then Moderator of the General Assembly, conducted a
service for the new congregation and reflected that he remembered his father
cycling to Lambeg and that he himself as ayoung student started a Band of
The spread of Belfast in the 1950's resulted in many new houses being
built in the Lambeg area. In 1953 the Church Extension Committee of the
General Assembly decided to cater for the increasing number of Presbyterians
who were coming to reside in the district.
In the autumn of 1953, a meeting, held in Dunmurry Manse and called by the
then Convenor of Church Extension, Rev. John W. Orr, B.A., decided upon the
commencement of a new charge in the Lambeg area. The area then outlined for
this church extended from McMaster's Bridge to Hilden and approximated to
the Lambeg and Derriaghy Church of Ireland Parishes combined. Later, this
area was reduced to that from Mosside Road to Harmony Hill and from Belsize
Road to the Lagan.
The Rev. V.B. Molgaard, B.A., B.D., a native of Denmark, a minister of
the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, and one time missionary in China,
had been accepted as a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He
began ministry in Lambeg on 1st October, 1953. On 1st January 1954 he was
appointed "Minister in Charge" of the new congregation by the Church
The inaugural service took place in the Lambeg Presbyterian Church Hall
on Sunday, 21st February, 1954 at 7 p.m.
An interim Session, composed of the Ministers and Clerks of Session of
First Lisburn (The Very Rev. Dr. Boyd, M.A.), Railway Street (Rev. Dr. J.K.
Elliott, B.A.), Sloan Street (Rev. J. McAllister, B.A.), Hillhall (Rev. H.
Young, B.A.), and Anahilt (Rev. D .J. Irwin, B.A.) was formed at the same time to promote the new congregation. The
Moderator of the Dromore Presbytery was the Moderator of the Interim
It was not long before church activities connected with the congregation
began to take place. The Sunday School was taken over from First Lisburn in
May 1954 with Mrs. Molgaard (daughter of the Rev. J. McKeown, who had been
minister in First Comber & Ulsterville Presbyterian Churches) as
Superintendent. The leader of the Primary Department was Miss Iris McCluskey
who had been a teacher in the original First Lisburn Sunday School and who
remained to help with the new school. The Women's Missionary Association,
which later changed its name in Lambeg to the Women's Guild, held an opening
meeting with ten members on September 8th, 1954.
A Scout Troop (1st. Lambeg Troop) was formed under the leadership of Mr. W.
Johnston and a short time later a Cub Pack (1st. Lambeg Pack) commenced
under the leadership of Miss Catherine Campbell. A junior Girls' Auxiliary
was also started.
A Church Committee was formed, Mr. W. Johnston being
appointed as Secretary and Mr. G. Daley as Treasurer. Mr. Johnston resigned
on being transferred to Scotland and Mr. G.S. Wallace was appointed in his
place. The following members of Committee were also appointed: Mrs. M.
Black, Mr. A. Briggs, Mr. H. Forsythe, Mr. M. McCartney and Miss A. Willis. A
choir was formed under the leadership of Miss Kathleen McCord, a member of
Lowe Memorial Presbyterian Church, Finaghy. She was appointed to lead the
praise, at first accompanied by a piano but later by a pedal organ. She
remained as organist until her marriage in 1960, when Mr. Val Gough was
A house at 165 Moss Road was purchased by Church Extension for a manse late
in 1954. The first Annual General Meeting was held on 28th January 1955. The
church service was changed from 7 p.m. in the evening to 11.30 a.m.
morning service, starting on 20th February 1955.
In November 1955 Mr. Molgaard resigned his charge to become W.E.A.
Secretary. He was later appointed Minister of the joint congregations of
Newbliss, Smithborough and Stonebridge in Monaghan, from where he
subsequently moved to St. George's in Birmingham.
The Very Rev. Professor Wilson was appointed to take charge of the
congregation with the assistance, particularly in visitation, of Mr. J.
Nelson, lay agent and former Belfast City Missionary. They built on the
foundation laid by Mr. Molgaard and their work was very much appreciated by