A PRESBYTERIAN Minister has said that a planned exhibition will be the first step in reintroducing the Church to the Falls Road.
Rev David Moore of West Kirk Presbyterian Church on the Shankill Road has partnered with the Falls Residents' Association to research the history of the former Albert Street Presbyterian Church.
The Maureen Sheehan Centre sits on the site of the former church and four sculptures from the original building can still be seen in its façade today.
“In the middle of last year I was appointed to serve the people of West Belfast,” David said. “The last Presbyterian Church would have been at Suffolk which closed in 1993, Broadway closed in 1982 and Albert Street closed in 1971.
“Albert Street amalgamated with Argyle Place on the Shankill Road to form West Kirk which is where my wife and I worship.
“As we were talking to people there, those who remember Albert Street said they didn’t want to leave, and the people of the area didn’t want them to go but the circumstances at the time meant that they had no alternative.
“For 50 years they have been hoping and praying that they could return to serving this community in the way they had.”
. @jggb1 @NIWarMemorial @WarMemorials Albert Street Presbyterian Church plaque, having been 'missing' for 49 years was today handed over by Mark Ramsey (right) and Nigel Henderson, @HistoryUlster researcher (left) to the Reverend David Clawson (centre with plaque), West Kirk. pic.twitter.com/SEMk3W3czG— History Hub Ulster (@HistoryUlster) October 26, 2020
David said that he hopes to have an exhibition in this August’s Féile an Phobail which focuses on the history of Albert Street Church.
“Part of that is emerging from Tom Hartley’s talk in the Cultúrlann in September when he said that we need Presbyterians back on the Falls Road because they are so much a part of us.
“That working title of ‘so much a part of us’ has inspired this idea to tell the story of Albert Street as a congregation and one of the things I would love to do is bring some of the former members who are now mainly in their 80s, with some of the people who lived in the area at the time, to share their stories and reminisce.
“We would love people who remember the church to come and meet with our members, if you have any photographs of your own or memorabilia that would be an added bonus.”
For more information or to share your memories of the church, contact Robert McClenaghan at Falls Residents' Association or Rev Moore at West Kirk Presbyterian Church.