Cullybackey (1859)

In his “Memories of ‘59” Rev. David McMeekin, minister of High Kirk Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, writes:

“None who were present will ever forget a meeting held there in the interest of the children in Wood’s Green in that memorable year. It was customary at this period to have anniversary sermons preached to the Sabbath School children belonging to a district. This custom prevailed in Ahoghill and also in Cullybackey up to a very recent date. These services were usually held in the open air. At one of these gatherings of the Cullybackey Union, held in what was known as Wood’s Green, Culleybackey, in this year, the attendance was unusually large and interesting. The late Rev. Dr. Hanna, Belfast, was the preacher. The field was simply crowded with children, parents, teachers and strangers from a distance. Earnestness was pictured on every countenance. At one period in the day’s proceedings nothing could be heard but the cry of the prostrate ones bemoaning their condition. In one place were to be seen converts ministering comfort to weeping penitents, while in another quarter were heard the voices of others beseeching sinners to repent and be converted, that their sins might be blotted out, the scene was truly Pentecostal. At this period the Rev. J. G. McVicker was the minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Cullybackey, and his statements from the pulpit and elsewhere began to create more than ordinary interest amongst not only the members of his own congregation, but amongst those also of neighbouring churches. Such was his extreme earnestness on one Sabbath, while in the pulpit, that a venerable and respected elder, Mr. Close, who was present, counselledMr. McVicker to calmness and moderation. The truth is, Mr McVickerhad been assisting a Mr Close at Loughmorne in dispensing the Communion, and in the course of his address Mr Close quoted Col. I. 19,referring specially to the fulness in Christ. It proved a word of quickening to Mr McVicker.”

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