Congregational History

The congregation of Terrace Row traces its history back to 1796, when Seceders one of several strands of Irish Presbyterianism, formed a congregation meeting for worship on a site now occupied by the current Coleraine Health Centre, Castlerock Road. The present building at Terrace Row was opened in 1834, but has undergone significant alteration since that date.

The first minister was a Mr James Hunter, who ministered from 1796 until his retirement in 1840. The ministry of his successor the Rev William Magill was brief (1840-47) and he spent most of his ministry in the city of Cork, serving as Moderator of the General Assembly in 1874.

The famous Revival of 1859 took place during the ministry of the Rev Joseph McDonnell (1848-1870) and he was succeeded by the Rev (later Dr.) R.B. Wylie who exercised the longest ministry in the congregation (1871-1913) and who wrote a history of the Church’s first 100 years.

Dr Wylie’s long ministry was followed by one of short duration. The first World War broke out in 1914, not long after the installation of the Rev Gilbert Paton. Mr Paton volunteered for chaplaincy duties, in which he distinguished himself, being named in despatches and winning the Military Cross with two bars. A drum from the band of the Royal Enniskilling Fusiliers was left by him in the care of the congregation and is presently displayed in the Church vestibule. Shortly after his return to Terrace Row he received a call to Malone congregation in Belfast in 1920 where he ministered until his early death, but not until becoming one of the youngest Moderators of the General Assembly in 1931.

The Rev Edwin George Torrie, son of a prominent Waterford business family was the next minister.   Noted for his eloquent pulpit prayers, Mr Torrie ministered to the congregation for over 34 years, from 1920 until 1954.

In the vacancy which resulted on Mr Torrie’s retirement, the congregation called the Rev J Edgar P Boyd, minister of Harryville, Ballymena to become the new minister in 1954. This ministry of 25 years ended in 1979, when he and Mrs Boyd retired to Ballyrobert near Ballyclare where they still reside.

Dr David Clarke, was installed in September 1980, having previously served as minister of Templepatrick congregation. Dr Clarke retired in January 2012 after over 31 years of active ministry in Terrace Row.

In January 2013 the congregation called Rev Andrew W. T. Brown, minister of Churchtown (Tamlagh O'Crilly) to be our new minister. Rev Brown was ordained in 1993 and served in Churchtown for over 17 years.