Donaghey Congregational Church
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr. Hugh Kelso was the local publican. Coming under the influence of the Revival of 1859, he found peace with God through personal trust in Christ Jesus as his Saviour. He sold his business and became involved in Christian work in the local area, encouraging those who had also professed faith in Christ as Saviour to meet regularly for worship on Sundays and for prayer and Bible study during the week.                                                                   The Rev. Kelso aged 32 The public house in Tullyhogue near Donaghey, that Hugh Kelso owned before his conversion during the 1859 Revival, can be seen on the extreme left of the picture. A church fellowship was organised and, eventually, Donaghey Church was erected and opened on 11th May, 1862 with Mr. Kelso as the first pastor, his salary being guaranteed by six local farmers who were the first deacons. THE STORY IN MORE DETAIL-TAKEN FROM THE RECORDS OF 1859 The house at Spamount near Donaghey where the church was formed Then....                                          ...And Now!                     Extract from The Independents in Ireland by Alexander Cairns: Mr. Hugh Kelso writes: "Well do I remember that first Sabbath evening when I met on my way to a Sabbath School some distance from Donaghey one of the teachers to whom I in part opened my mind and talked about the propriety of a prayer meeting, when, to my surprise, he told me one had been for some time in existence, but had well-nigh gone down for want of leaders. After obtaining my consent to address the meeting that evening, he said the thing was of the Lord's appointment. The meeting was very small and the people cold and without life. Our next meeting was larger but I was told I must take some other place for my services. I went to another part of the country, a door was opened for me, I found a number of friends anxious to hear and, the house being too small, I proclaimed the Gospel in the open air. The evening was beautiful- the people felt the presence of the spirit - many were converted and continue faithful until now-walking in the fear of the Lord." Of these converts Mr. Bain writes: "The people seemed knit to Christ and to one another in the Lord". DONAGHEY INDEPENDENT CHURCH (copied from the earliest church records) This church which may properly be termed the fruit of the Revival of 1859 had its origin in the effort of its present Pastor, Revd. Hugh Kelso, who was himself brought to the Saviour in the February of that year. His steps being directed to this neighbourhood in the month of June where he first preached Christ to a goodly number of the present Congregation-when the foundation of our present church was laid. From that time onwards he continued both on the week as well as on the Sabbath evenings to hold such meetings from house to house till at length a plot of ground was obtained whereon the present Chapel and Manse were erected in 1861 by his own effort. On 3rd March, 1861, the Church was formed in the house of Mr. James Little of Spamount (link to Home page -picture of house and see below) by Rev. James Bain of Straid Congregational Church, County Antrim when fifteen souls were united in fellowship and on 19th April our temporary place of worship was opened by Rev. J. Bain. Our second communion was observed in June when eight were admitted to our membership. THE DAY OF THE FORMATION OF THE CHURCH IN MR. LITTLE'S HOUSE AT SPAMOUNT (near Donaghey) Sunday, 3rd March, 1861 Mr. Bain writes: "On the morning of The Lord's Day, March 3rd, 1861 I went in company with *Mr.Gibson and other friends to the house of Mr. Little of Spamount, Donaghey for the purpose of the formation of a Christian Church on the recognition of some professing faith in Jesus, being united together in the bond of the Gospel. Prior to the time of our meeting I conversed with the proposing members individually. All seemed warm, earnest and prayerful in the object of their desire and seemed to rejoice in their anticipated pleasure, while they were full of earnest hope for the progress of the Saviour's kingdom in the neighbourhood. The scene will long be remembered with deep and holy interest by all who were then present and who, for the first time, enjoyed the privilege of Christian fellowship. The parlour and kitchen made up our assembly rooms (another room is mentioned later in the report), a table and chair our desk.In the morning I preached from Psalm 119, verse 105. The audience was deeply affected Sermon over, the proposing folk were individually asked to state their reason for thus seeking union as a Christian Church for the satisfaction and confidence of all present. The people retired for a few moments and then returned, the intending members of the church taking the forms in the middle of the parlour while the others occupied the rooms on either side, filling every place while many stood at the door. After singing the 133rd psalm, and an address on the church polity and doctrines of the Independents, I gave to each the right hand of fellowship and then commended them unto God in prayer after which all shook hands together. We then sat down to partake of the ordinance of The Lord's Supper, twenty five in number. Thus has been constituted this little hill of Zion which may the Lord bless and sanctify and enlarge with all the graces of His Holy Spirit. It was a season of deep and holy interest-of pleasurable enjoyment and one which will be long remembered as a time of Divine manifestations."(*great grandfather of the late Rev. W.A. Kennedy of Larne and Ballycraigy Congregational Churches) The services, so far as ministers could be obtained, were held in Mr. Little's until a house was fitted up in Donaghey. 9th July, 1861 - Laying the foundation stone of the new churchMr. Bain writes: "The morning was fine......The meeting was opened with prayer, then the laying of the stone by the lady of Thomas Greer Esq., Tullylaggan House. The ground was Mr. Greer's. Mr. Lord's address- on the principles of Independents and their place in Ireland. Mr. Bain followed on the doctrines and privileges of the church and its members. In the stone a bottle was put with the date and sketch of the origins of the church and coins. Another very large and important meeting was held in the evening at which Messrs. Lord and Bain addressed the people and good was done....." OPENING OF NEW CHURCH BUILDING 11th May, 1862 The church was opened by Rev. T.G. Manley of Dublin, then secretary of The Irish Evangelical Society. The newly formed church invited Mr. Kelso to accept the pastorate of the church. Upon his acceptance, he was ordained in the presence of a very large congregation on Tuesday, 12th May, 1863. Rev. Kelso continued at Donaghey for 10 years, until January, 1872. He records that during his ministry 65 people were admitted into fellowship of the church. 7 of these had died, 4 went to America, 2 to Australia and 16 had been dismissed!                                                                        Rev. Kelso's grave at Clonoe, Co. Tyrone                                                                                                                                                                                             SOME MORE INTERESTING OBSERVATIONS from                   old records Financial matters: The average Sunday offering in 1862 (the year the church was opened) averaged between 1 shilling (now 5p) to 7 shillings and 2and a half pence on a Sacrament Sunday . A note inserted beside several 'low' offerings indicates 'wet Sunday'. The offering at the opening ceremony, after expenses were deducted, was a hefty £16, 17shillings and 6 pence. Offerings for the year 1863 totalled £6, 1 shilling and 7 pence and included a donation of £1 and 3 shillings from an outside source. Light for the year cost 8 shillings (48p) and coal 5shillings and 6 pence. When the minister, Rev. Kelso went to London in 1864 to collect money for the church his travelling expenses amounted to £8, 7 shillings and 6 pence. Cost of building the church and manse in 1862 was £700. A wall cost £3 and 15shillings.                                                                                                                                  For the year 1872 offerings were less - £3 and 10 pence for the year!In that year                                                                                                                       the minister's salary was £11, 3 shillings and 4pence - his income for the                                                                                                                                        year!Postage and writing materials for the same year (1872) amounted to the grand                                        sum of 2 shillings (10p). DONAGHEY NATIONAL SCHOOL Records of a church - related Primary School ('Day School') commence on 1st August, 1874. "Expenditure incurred by fitting up school room and commencing school" (which included 9 months of the teacher's salary) amounted to £20, 8 shillings and 6 pence. That also included all the school fittings at £6 and 3 shillings.Two pairs of clogs were purchased at 6shillings (30p). Fuel for the school year came to 10 shillings (50p). The teacher's name was D.H. Kelly. THE CHURCH CARETAKER of 1903 A solemn undertaking by the newly appointed caretaker, Thomas Spratt, was recorded: "I, Thomas Spratt, do hereby accept the post of sexton in connection with Donaghey Congregational Church at the rate of two pounds per annum to be paid quarterly and promise to faithfully perform the duties connected with the office's said duties as follows:1. To sweep out and dust the church each week2. To set, light and attend to the fires in church every Sunday and in the school room every Thursday from October to April3. To file, trim and light lamps in church as often as desired4. To thoroughly clean and scrub the church and school room once every six months5. To clean windows when needed6. Attendance at church and lectures or tea meetings outside of these duties enumerated above to be paid for extra out of expenses of said lecture or tea meeting.7. Three months' notice on either side to terminate the agreement. References are made to two Congregational churches which are now closed. On 8thMay, 1910 Rev. James Gray, who had been minister of Donaghey for six years, accepted a call to Richill Congregational Church, Co. Armagh and on 29th March, 1932 friends and members of Donaghmore and Donaghey Congregational Churches met in the manse at Donaghey to make a presentation to the minister of the two churches, Rev. Norman Burns, on the occasion of his leaving to take up the charge of a larger church in England.
The Story Of Donaghey Congregational Church Born in Revival