At 3.00pm on the first Sunday in December 1955, fourteen children along with the Rev Bill Boyd, assistant minister in Gardenmore Presbyterian Church, Larne, and a few other adults met in a builder’s hut at the north end of the developing Craigy Hill estate. From this small beginning emerged a new Presbyterian congregation which gathered, first in a wooden hall on Linn Road, then from 1961 in a permanent building on Churchill Road. With remarkable foresight, Church Extension chose a site which was almost exactly between the Northern Ireland Housing Trust estate of Craigy Hill and the Larne Borough Council estate of Antiville.
Uniquely, the church building was financed by the contributions of children belonging to the Sunday Schools, Bible Classes and Youth Organisations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. This initiative was the brainchild of the Rev Donald Fraser, Sabbath School Organiser. As it happened, the Sabbath School Society for Ireland, founded in 1862, was arranging to celebrate its centenary. A new church in Larne was to be the expression of that celebration Craigy Hill benefited by almost £20,000.
If you belong to a Presbyterian congregation which is older than Craigy Hill, its name is probably inscribed in a Memorial Volume kept in the Church.
The Craigy Hill congregation is indebted to the wider Presbyterian family in another way. Away back in 1874 the General Assembly learnt of the will of the well known benefactor, John Getty in which he left certain valuable legacies … to the missions and College of the Church. Some of the money went to building a Mission Hall in Larne. By the early 1960s the Mill Street area, in which this hall was located, was scheduled for demolition. The compensation went to Craigy Hill which used it as part of the payment for the construction of a hall. Appropriately, when it was opened in 1967 this building was named the Getty Memorial Hall.
Since then the church and the hall have witnessed renovation, repair and extension.
Starting as a Church Extension Charge Craigy Hill reached its peak numerically about 1980. At present, the congregation consists of approximately 240 families. Our ministry ethos is Biblically based with an outreach to world-wide mission and, as the logo on the Getty Hall indicates, a commitment to serving Christ in the community.
Craigy Hill has had seven ministers. Their names (with academic qualifications) are: Rev. Dr. William D. Boyd, B.Comm., B.D., B.A. (1956-1963); Rev. William Brown, B.A., B.D. (1963-1968); Rev. James Fullerton M.A. (1968-1970); Rev. Dr. Jackson C Buick, M.B.E. (1970-1982); Rev. W. James Johnstone, M.A., B.D. (1983-2009); Rev. John R. Gilkinson, B.Sc., M.Div. (2010-2014); Rev. Benjamin S. Preston, B.Sc., M.Div., Dip.Min. (2015-present);