Cairncastle Presbyterian Church Profile
Our Mission Statement agreed by Kirk Session along with input from the congregation is as follows:
‘Our purpose is to glorify God and show His love by worshipping together, telling others about Jesus, using and developing our gifts, encouraging each other in our everyday lives, becoming more like Him as we grow in faith, all through the power of the holy Spirit.’
As described on our website Cairncastle is a small County Antrim village situated about five miles north of Larne and just inland from Ballygally. There has been a Presbyterian Congregation in Cairncastle for over 350 years making it one of the oldest congregations in the Carrickfergus Presbytery with a membership of almost 200 families. Although Cairncastle is still very much a rural congregation, with some Ulster Scots influence, our membership blossomed due to a large housing development in Ballygally In fact at that time we were one of the few growing congregations in PCI. A number of our members live in the Larne area and beyond, while several, having moved away from Cairncastle, have retained their Church connections.
An extensive £500.000 building programme was completed some years ago which has provided not only extra and refurbished facilities but also much needed disabled access. Our whole community was involved in the various fund raising activities and the strong links, developed over many years, were evident in the support so willingly given. These facilities are now being well used not only for our own activities and organisations but also for various community events. Indeed a number of our organisations tend to be very much community based with many of the participants not being members of Cairncastle congregation. However, many of our members are also involved in a variety of ‘outside’ organisations such as the local community associations.
We have established a good working relationship with the Cairncastle LOL, mutually benefiting from the sharing of equipment and premises. We host on alternate years, along with St Patrick’s Church of Ireland, their annual Service of Divine Worship. Another valuable relationship has been formed between Cairncastle Presbyterian and the other three denominations in the area. Several events take place regularly involving the ‘Four Churches’, as the group has become known, organised by the clergy. These events include the Easter Dawn Service held at the Ballygally slipway and the Four Churches Walk, allowing the community to spend a short time of worship in one another’s Churches. The Churches also come together for a Christmas Eve midnight service in St Patrick’s.
We continue to have strong links with Cairncastle Primary School, formerly a ‘Church‘ School, which was based on our Church property before moving to a new location in Ballygally. Four transferor representatives from the congregation serve on the school’s Board of Governors and play an important role in the School’s development.
There is normally one service at 11.00am each Sunday although on occasions, such as at Easter, Harvest and Christmas there may be evening services. Worship is led by the Church Choir and on occasions by our Praise Group providing a balance between traditional and contemporary hymns. Singing has been enhanced by the provision of data projectors and occasional video clips and slides have become a useful and effective addition. Elders and members of the congregation are encouraged to be responsible for some of the Bible readings and prayers of intercession.
Sunday School takes place during the second part of the service each Sunday while Bible class for the young people of secondary school age is held on two Sunday’s each month at the same time with the leaders of both working on a rota system.
There has been recent evidence of an increase in numbers of children attending Church on Sunday mornings and we hope that this will continue and will feed into, not only Sunday School, but also BB, GB and Youth Club.
Further fellowship is enjoyed after the service with the provision of tea, coffee and biscuits in the vestibule area.
Listed below are the activities and organisations which take place under the auspices of Cairncastle Presbyterian Church.
Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade
Choir and Praise Group – practice as required
Presbyterian Women – meet with an interesting monthly programme organises occasional ventures which attract women from other churches in the community.
Evening Bible Study – a relaxed evening home group, meets weekly
Morning Bible Study – home study group which takes place on alternate weeks
Indoor Bowls – meets weekly catering for the whole community
Senior Bowls – fellowship through bowls for the older generation meets weekly
Friendship Club – a monthly meeting for the ‘older’ members with many from outside our congregation
Rainbow Club – Mums and Tots (dads and grand parents) from across the community meeting weekly
Youth Club – for children of primary school age throughout the community meets weekly on Saturday nights
Congregational Committee and Kirk Session meet monthly