Bethany celebrates 50 years of church in town

The Rev Darren Abernethy, left, with the Rev Kenneth Elliott. INPT24
The Rev Darren Abernethy, left, with the Rev Kenneth Elliott. INPT24

This Sunday night Bethany Free Presbyterian Church is preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of its constitution.

The evening service will take the form of a special reunion night at which the minister, the Rev Darryl Abernethy, will preside.

The first minister, the Rev Fred Greenfield, will be the soloist and Minister Emeritus, the Rev Kenneth Elliott, will preach the gospel.

Anyone who has attended the church over the last 50 years is invited to attend.

The anniversary services will be followed with a gospel tent mission on the Armagh Road which will run from June 19-30, at which the Rev William McCrea will be the evangelist. Again, everyone is welcome.

The Free Presbyterian church was constituted in Portadown in 1967 after three local Christians had a desire for the gospel to be proclaimed in a simple, plain and uncompromising manner.

The first service was held on July 9 in Portadown Town Hall where the preacher was Dr Ian Paisley.

In 1975, Dr Paisley performed the official opening of the new church building, and two years later, a new suite of rooms was officially opened.

In 1988 an Independent Christian School was launched, and 12 years ago the church completed another major refurbishment project.

The Rev Elliott now (minister emeritus) retired this year after 43 years of service, and the Rev Darryl Abernethy is the present minister, having been installed as co-minister in September 2013.

The Rev Abernethy said, “Although much has changed over the last 50 years, the gospel remains the same and the desire of the minister oversight and congregation is to remain faithful and true to the unchanging Gospel of Christ.”