The Moravian Church British Province

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Cliftonville Moravian Church, Belfast

424 Oldpark Road, Belfast BT14 6QF

The congregation has witnessed in the Oldpark and Cliftonville area for the past 100 years. Its roots are in a Home Mission to Moravians from country congregations, who had moved to the Shankill Road to find work and some attended the newly-built University Road Church. In 1890, after a period of cottage meetings a room was hired in the Orange Hall in Huss Street and a Home Missionary, J.E. Zippel, was appointed.

By 1891 it became clear that a Moravian building was required and was erected in Perth Street in 1893, with accommodation for a day and Sunday school on the ground floor and a meeting room above.

In 1905 the Irish District Conference decided to look for an opening for work in another residential area; by September 1909 a fine new church was completed and occupied on the Oldpark Road, near the junction with Cliftonville Road. The day school at Perth Street remained in the care of the congregation and was used for some evening meetings. The work progressed steadily.

1920/21 brought civil unrest to Ireland, and though the church was in a peaceful locality a neighbouring community tended to be unfriendly. Since many members lived beyond this district, they had to make a detour to attend church. A curfew was introduced and there were many outbreaks of violence.

In 1926, a wooden building was erected behind the church for Sunday school and week-night activities, and Perth Street School was transferred to the Education Authority. Cliftonville Home Mission was recognised as a Moravian congregation in 1930.

World War 2 brought air-raids in April and May 1941, when over 1000 people died in Belfast. Members were evacuated to country areas, but those remaining in Belfast supported the church loyally and faced their hardships with courage. The manse and church were damaged and the hall completely destroyed, but by 1942 the work began to recover. The majority of the members returned to the city, though some were unable to return to their old homes and now lived at a distance from the congregation. The church was repaired and St.Silas Parish Church allowed the use of their hall for social events until a church hall was erected in 1951.

The work at Cliftonville again progressed successfully. Moravian Women’s Auxiliary (1950) and a Girls’ Brigade company (1958) were formed. Family Services were organised on the first Sunday in the month; a bowling club; men’s discussion group and annual Sportsmen’s Services were held. A ladies’ keep-fit class was a cross-community venture and later a handicraft group also provided a meeting place for Protestant and Roman Catholic neighbours. In 1966 a football team was formed; the players attended evening services and a club with Bible study and discussion. The hall was in use every night.

1969 again brought political unrest, with explosions, violence and deaths, but Church life and most activities went on and good relationships continued in the community around the church. Hospital and other visiting was difficult when roads were closed to traffic and internment, introduced on 9th August 1971, led to rioting and many houses were burned nearby

In September 1971 Cliftonville and Ballinderry congregations were linked as a unit. The Girls’ Brigade had to be closed, as travel was dangerous for the girls who lived at a distance from the church, but a junior club was then held on Tuesday afternoons and the children were encouraged to bring a friend.

Thankfully, the Oldpark area is peaceful once more but, as in other denominations, our membership has declined. With the recent closure of two more churches, the Moravian is the only remaining Protestant Church in the Cliftonville/Oldpark area. The congregation is linked with University Road since 2007, under the care of Rev. Paul Holdsworth, and looks forward to the future with hope.

Worship Times

Services: 11.00am Worship and Sunday School.
Holy Communion, second Sunday each month after Family Worship.
All age Family Service, fourth Sunday each month.

Choir: 8 pm every Thursday

Contacts

Minister:
Rev Paul Holdsworth
5 Locksley Park, Belfast BT10 0AR
Tel: 028 90 61 9755
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Treasurer: Mr John Cooper
23 Mill Grange, Hydepark Road, Mallusk, Northern Ireland.
Tel: 02890 837857
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Secretary: Sr. Marianne Maginnes, 02890 588578  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Location

424 Oldpark Road, Belfast BT14 6QF

Cliftonville Moravian Church is to be found on the Old Park Road, between Cliftonville Circus and the Police Station.

 

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