Our History Chapter 5 2017-03-21T13:45:24+00:00



Loughaghery Presbyterian Church


If there was any question at all on the character of parents applying to have their children baptized, they had to appear before the Session.
For example in 1807, quoting from minutes – “three men Alex J-, William R- and Thomas R- were dealt with by the Session for bad attendance at public worship, also because of their ignorance of the principles of the Gospels necessary for parents to know. Thirdly on account of some irregularity of conduct on the Lords’ Day returning from a funeral at a public house at Bailliesmills. They were rebuked and their case published to the congregation. But showing repentance their infants were baptized.”
On 15th March 1829 Robert R- applying for baptism of his child, which was born eight months after their marriage caused some fuss. Robert said his wife had had a fall, which had brought on a premature birth. This didn’t sat isfy and Dr. Rutherford (who lived in Woodvale, which later became the home of Jim Eddie), was called in to give his opinion.
He said he believed the child to be premature, and because of the standing and character of Dr. Rutherford, his word was accepted and the child was duly baptized.
Very interesting is the number of baptisms each year. In 1804 there were 34. The boom year was 1806 when there were 40. These figures kept faily steady until 1860 when there were still 35. In the 1870’s numbers showed a very slow decrease, and by 1880 only 14 and 1900 – 12, less than half of what there had been a hundred years earlier. This decrease is thought to have been the result of the potato famine in the mid 1840’s when a million people in Ireland died, and as many more, especially young folk, emigrated, and even after the famine, continued to emigrate. By 1920 there were only seven baptisms decreasing to today’s annual average of three or four.
Parents, in the old days had to pay 6.4d to have a child baptised. If not paid at time of baptism the elder in charge of the district called at the house for it.
In 1830 parents seemed unwilling to have Baptisms publicly administered, as they should be. This was probably due to the distances which had to be walked. At any rate it was resolved that Baptism must be administered in the Meeting House, except the child or father (mother not mentioned) through sickness be unable to attend public worship or they live two miles or more from the Meeting House.This rule seems to have disappeared in Rev. J.N. Moorhead’s time. he was quite agreeable to administer the Sacrament in the home.
In Rev. Creelman’s ministry Church Baptisms were revived again, but not insisted upon.Our Baptismal font was presented by the P.W.A. in 1962, and at the same time the Reading Desk and Bible was given by Mary Reid in memory of her parents.It was in 1957 that Elders first accompanied parents during baptism. The only other time this was done was when Baby Shannon Watson, grand-daughter of Rev. Tommy Watson, all the way from Canada, was baptised in the mid 1950’s. Two senior Elders John Scott and William Irvine accompanied the parents. Shannon was brought especially to Loughaghery for her Baptism.
08Elders {The first time Elders accompanied parents at the font for Baptism. From left: Rev. J.H. Rankin, Rev. Tommy and Mrs. Watson, John Scott, Elder; Wendell & Mrs. Watson with baby Shannon, William Irvine, Elder.}