First Presbyterian Church Ahoghill (1859)

David Adams became the minister here in 1841 and spent a lot of time preaching on revival and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He organised three district prayer meetings in 1855. The attendance at the 1856 Communion meetings were so large that they had to build a new church. This was opened in 1858, just in time for the revival; it held 1,200 people.

On the 14th March 1859 there was a Thanksgiving service, where there were some 3,000 people attending. James Bankhead, one of the converts from Connor, prayed in a very excited manner which got the congregtion worked up. Adams was concerned that the galleries might collapse, so he cleared them. This meeting was the trigger that had the revival sweep over the area.

Adam's wrote, "many souls were brought to Christ for salvation in such a sudden and wonderful manner as to impress the world and the Church with a sense of their need and the value of a living Christianity... Meetings for praise, prayer, reading the Scriptures, and exhortation, were being held every night, and frequently at mid-day in the busiest season, in kitchens, farms, schoolhouses, churches, fields, wayside and hedgeside, while secret and family prayer became very general. The spiritual impressed were multiplied daily - eight or nine of my hearers being changed in a day. In the end of April and the beginning of May the wind of the Spirit calmed, but about the middle of May it blew a spiritual hurricane..."


“Ballymena Observer” on the 26th March 1859: — (the meeting was held on 14th March)

“The congregation in attendance was immense—hundreds were unable to obtain admittance, and the new converts—the ‘confirmed’ from all parts of the neighbourhood, were present on the occasion. Soon after commencement of the services an impulse to address the audience fell suddenly, and apparently with all the power of prophetic inspiration, upon one of the ‘converted’ brethren. Every attempt to silence or restrain him was found utterly impossible. He declared that a revelation had been committed to him and that he spoke by the command of a power superior to any ministerial authority. Defying every effort at control he proceeded to vociferate religious phrases with a rapidity and fluency which excited the most intense astonishment and created a panic of very serious alarm among the audience. A rush was made towards the front of the galleries and under an apprehension that they might possibly break down; the presiding clergyman gave a peremptory order that the house should forthwith be vacated. A scene of terrible confusion immediately ensued. 

“When the premises were ultimately cleared, the streets of Ahoghill presented another scene which baffles all powers of description, and such as the oldest inhabitant had never witnessed. The leading ‘convert’—who is a comfortable farmer and a member of the congregation—assisted by several other speakers of the confirmed class, addressed the people, then numbering about 3,000 and comprising persons of every creed from the Episcopalian to the Roman Catholic. The chief speaker vehemently proclaimed pardon to all sinners, inviting them to come forward and receive the spirit of adoption, which he declared himself commissioned to impart— occasionally holding up his hands, and bidding the people to receive the Holy Ghost. The immense assemblage appeared to be thoroughly paralysed. Amid a chilling rain, and on streets covered with mud, fresh ‘converts,’ moved by the fervency and apostolic language of the speaker, fell upon their knees in the attitude of prayer; a spark of electricity appeared to have animated and impressed a large number of the audience and it is confidently affirmed that some who went there to mock, were heard to pray."

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