Church History

2nd & 3rd Rathfriland have a long history in the town of Rathfriland. They began way back in the 19th Century as two different congregations, with separate ministers, but today are essentially one congregation. Second was the earlier of the two to be formed. It began in 1802 as a Seceder church. (Seceder churches were breakaways from the established Presbyterian Church). Third’s roots though were in the established church, being formed by the Synod of Ulster in 1836, as a result of the rapid growth of 1st Rathfriland, (also still in the town today).

An unsuccessful attempt was made to unite Second and Third in 1884. However in in 1927 they did unite. Forming what is known in Presbyterian circles as a “Joint Charge”, (independent congregations, separate leadership, but one minister). This relationship worked well for over eighty years. But in recent years the bond between Second and Third has become even stronger. Today its one eldership that governs the two; one committee that manages the property, and one congregation that worships alternately in their two locations. One week you’ll get us in Second building, the next we’ll be in Third. We’re not far apart either, just a few hundred meters in fact. Second’s on Loughbrickland Road, and Third’s just up the hill on Newry St. You’ll find a warm welcome in either location.

To any visitors coming our way, we often tell them of an interesting event in our history. In 1843 Rev Joseph Dickie of Third Church was shot while conducting worship. Local legend has it that it was actually a neighboring minister who wielded the gun. He was quite upset over some of his members leaving his church and joining Third. I’m sure the aggrieved minister’s preaching was much better than his aim for Rev Dickie made a full recovery.

Today, I’m pleased to say, its much safer to visit us, and indeed less threatening to join us, if you are looking for a spiritual home.

2nd & 3rd Rathfriland

Loughbrickland Rd. / Newry St.
Co. Down
P: +44 28 4063 0312