17 December 2017




Rev Norman Brown

The minister of Wellington Presbyterian Church is the Rev Norman Brown. He came to Wellington in 1995 with his wife Lorna and three children. Norman’s ministry has been characterised by great energy, not least in sowing the vision and then leading the congregation through the process of building the new church at Galgorm, Ballymena. In leading a congregation of over 700 families Norman has been ably assisted by a team, in particular, deaconess Eleanor Drysdale, who has been there throughout his ministry.

A “Moving”  Experience 

Presbyterians have a bit of a reputation for being hard to budge – resisting change. So it may have surprised some that after 180 years in Wellington Street, Ballymena, the congregation known as Wellington Street Presbyterian uprooted and headed out of town. Now 3 years in the new building, the church is buzzing and there are few regrets about moving.

As the town centre population dwindled and parking was increasingly restricted, the congregation was drawn to a greenfield site near Galgorm, amongst a growing residential community. The building design would reflect the priorities of the congregation – the worship area at the heart of the building with added facilities of café and sports hall making it a hub for community life.

So what happens when we “move house” with a long-established, traditional congregation? Here are a few snap shots of church life in Wellington.

Sunday worship:

We meet twice – at 11am and 6.30pm. The main elements for us haven’t changed; singing praise, praying, reading and teaching the Bible – we’ve lost the “pulpit” but God’s Word is still an indispensable part of our worship services. Members of the congregation take part in most services making their unique contribution.

Care and Share:

Since moving we seem to be more aware of practical needs in the community. We have been discovering those whose living conditions are shocking and have been led into a ministry of providing food and furniture.

Coffee and chat:

We are learning to take time for one another. Café Aroma provides homemade treats and great coffee in an atmosphere where friendship and fellowship is fostered. The café is open to the public 3 evenings and 2 mornings each week and used widely by church groups at other times.

Brushing leaves:

Suddenly we need lots of volunteers; we have car parks, grass, shrub beds, we have a bigger and busier church to clean, we need scones for the café and carers for the children. As we see God’s people give themselves in service we see friendships growing. And we realise that we can’t do this without one another.

Youth stuff:

At the younger end our Tots & Co draws in many on a Wednesday morning. Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade are going strongly, no doubt partly because we are located close to where the families live. Our Saturday night youth club and Big Feed on a Sunday night likewise attract youth from the locality. We now have a part-time youth worker, committed as we are to connecting with our young people and seeing them come to faith and grow to Christian maturity.

Further afield:

It would be wrong if all our resources were focussed at home. We have strong links with God’s work in other places and continue in exciting partnerships in the UK and overseas. We have both old and young who are willing to go to the ends of the earth – which of course is how it should be!

All ages and stages:

We are a diverse bunch of people – a body with many parts. We don’t always get it right but we long that every member feels valued and has opportunity for fellowship and service. So we have small groups which meet for study and fellowship. We have ladies who meet together and men who meet. Some folk meet to pray – others may paint and some keep fit. We have opportunities for our elderly to meet, and also provide DVDs and CDs of our church services for those at home. It’s a mixture. Sometimes it’s messy, but then we’re still a work in progress.