In 1655, the Presbyterians of Ahoghill organised themselves into a congregation under the care of the Presbytery of Antrim.
It was placed as a vacant congregation and two years later in 1657, the first elders were appointed.
Mr John Shaw was ordained as the first minister in 1658 and the congregation continued to grow over the years.
During the ministry of the Rev. David Adams the congregation greatly increased in number so that they considered it necessary to pull down the old place of worship and build a new one more than twice its size.
At the time of the laying of the foundation stone the Rev. Adams said: “It is now nearly one hundred years since our house of worship was built before, and it is about two hundred years since the first existence here of a Presbyterian congregation.”
The foundation stone was laid on Monday April 23, 1857 to erect a building capable of accommodating upwards of 1,200 people as the congregation consisted of more than 550 families.
The church was re-opened at a cost of £1,600 on August 24, 1858 by the Rev. Dr. Henry Cooke, Moderator of the General Assembly.
The News Letter gave a report of the opening and a short history of the congregation.
The new meeting house was ready just in time for the 1859 Revival.
This was a time when there was a special visitation of the Spirit of God in Ahoghill and surrounding district.
At a service on March 14, 1859, the congregation in attendance was immense – hundreds were unable to gain admittance.
Owing to the vast number of people – there was not even standing room in the church – a decision was made to dismiss the meeting to prevent the possibility of a fatal accident from the galleries collapsing, which threatened to give way under the great pressure.
The congregation assembled outside, then numbering about 3,000.
In the rain and on streets covered with mud, new converts fell on their knees in the attitude of prayer.
It has to be recognised that the congregation, having a vision for future generations, built well and it has stood the test of time over the years. It has been the place where 10 ministers have preached God’s word to their people – the longest ministries being the Rev. H.W. Boyd for 42 years and the Rev. John Lyle for 40 years.
It is a place where families have worshipped for generations and God has richly blessed.
The experiences of those who have grown up from childhood to old age as they sat in the family pew are many and varied.
During the past 155 years, a number of renovations and changes have taken place to the church building to keep it in good repair.
However, several years ago it was decided to take a serious look at the condition of the building and the adjacent halls.
The congregation wrestled with the situation and every avenue was considered.
Finally, it was decided that just as our forefathers had taken the brave and forward looking decision in 1857 to build a new meeting house so we should take a similar brave and decisive step.
However, with the present church being a ‘listed building’, it meant building the
new church in a different location.
This new church building is now complete and is the fourth building the congregation will meet in for worship since it was founded almost 360 years ago.