Cairnshill Methodist Church follows in a tradition of distinguished forbears - tracing to origins back to Donegall Square Church, which was instrumental in founding Ormeau Road Church, which in turn was responsible for establishing over one hundred years ago the Ballynafeigh Church. After the second world war, Ballynafeigh developed Knockbreda Church in the 1950's and subsequently these churches established Belvoir church in the 1960's.
In the 1990's, the Ballynafeigh circuit conscious of the rapid housing development further out of the city of Belfast on and near to the Saintfield Road, saw the need to plant a church 'up the road'. It so happened at that time planning permission was granted for a further major housing development and the generous offer of a gift of a prime site on the front of the Saintfield Road to the Church was gratefully accepted - the opening of a door. A committee, representing the three churches on the circuit and chaired by the
Rev. Winston Good the superintendent, was established to co-ordinate the planning, building and the opening of the church.
The stone laying ceremony was carried out by the Rev. Christopher Walpole, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland on 26th April 1996. For several weeks in the spring and summer a house (kindly given) within the development was used as a base for local outreach. Each Tuesday evening a team from the circuit had a time of praise and then while some stayed to pray, others went out to knock doors in about a thousand houses in the immediate area. In July in a room within the partially completed premises the first service was conducted by the Rev. David Clements (newly appointed to the circuit) and attended by about 50 people.
On 19th October 1996 the completed church was opened and dedicated to the Glory of God by the Rev. Kenneth Best, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland. About fifteen families from within the Ballynafeigh circuit, together with a few Methodists from further a field and local people from other backgrounds formed the initial nucleus of the new church.
The church has been designed to be multi-functional with ease of access. The main hall is an extension of the worship centre - they are separated by a 'moving wall' which readily allows either area to be reduced or increased as need arises. The building cost almost half a million pounds and such was the generosity of those within and outside the circuit, including the Home Missions and church extension funds of the connexion and the rank trust, that a debt of about £70,000 remained at the time of opening.
The aforementioned relationship between Cairnshill and its antecedent churches is reflected physically in the Kennedy window - this was originally housed in the Ormeau Road Church (now closed) and also in items of furniture such as the vestibule table and reading desk which came from the former Donegall Square Church (site now occupied by the Ulster Bank headquarters).
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