In 1969 a young man came to Mullaghboy Hill, Magherafelt and erected a tent for a Gospel Mission. Rev William McCrea was then Assistant Student Minister to Dr Ian RK Paisley in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The tent was an army reject tent, and when the rain fell heavily the umbrellas had to be put up inside the tent. This was the first introduction of the Free Presbyterian Church to Magherafelt.
The ecumenical churches strongly opposed the Mission but the Lord richly blessed the preaching of the old fashioned Gospel. Precious souls were saved including the giver of the ground for the Mission and members of his family. There followed a mission in the neighbouring village of Desertmartin, and again the Lord saved souls and blessed the hearts of His people. There were those in the area who no longer wanted to be associated with the great Apostasy and were willing to separate and establish in South Londonderry a faithful witness for the preaching of the Word of God.
The first meetings were held in the tent and the numbers were few. Rev McCrea became ill and the Rev Gordon Cooke was requested to lead the work. There was no heating in the tent and bales of straw had to be used to sap up the dampness of the ground. Rev McCrea came back to Magherafelt as a Student Minister in June 1969 and the services moved temporarily into a wooden hall. Work commenced on the construction of a building known as the ‘tin hut’. Much excitement reigned as Mrs William Lees declared open the new Meetinghouse. Through the blessing of the Lord and souls getting saved the ‘tin hut’ was to be extended twice, and then preparation was made to erect a permanent building.
The sod was cut in 1973 and because most of the work was done voluntarily the new Church building did not open until 1978. The Lord continued to richly bless the preaching of His word and a new Sabbath School Complex was added in 1992.
Dr McCrea is still the Pastor of the flock at Calvary Free Presbyterian Church, Magherafelt and declares, “We have been so richly blessed over these years as a separate testimony in Magherafelt, but realize all the glory and honour must be given to our wonderful Lord. It is our earnest prayer that God will graciously send a mighty revival to our land and that His people will have a greater love for the lost souls of men. May the Lord keep us faithful as a witness for Him and may we never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
Our statement of Faith is as follows:
|1.||The Absolute Authority and Divine Verbal Inspiration of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God.|
|2.||There is but one living and true God, and in the Godhead, there are three Persons, equal in power and glory, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.|
|3.||The Eternal Sonship, Virgin Birth, and Deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.|
|4.||The personality of God the Holy Spirit, and the absolute necessity of His work in Regeneration and Sanctification, and His Infilling of the Indwelt Believer for power to live and witness for Christ.|
|5.||The Substitutionary Death of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Resurrection as the only way of Salvation through Faith.|
|6.||God has appointed besides the Word and Prayer the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.|
|6a.||Baptism — The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, under Christ the Great King and Head of the Church, Realizing that bitter controversy raging around the mode and proper subjects of the ordinance of Christian baptism has divided the Body of Christ when that Body should have been united in Christian love and Holy Ghost power to stem the onslaughts and hell-inspired assaults of modernism, hereby affirms that each member of the Free Presbyterian Church shall have liberty to decide for himself which course to adopt on these controverted issues, each member giving due honor in love to the views held by differing brethren, but none espousing the error of baptismal regeneration.|
|6b.||The Lord’s Supper — The Lord’s Supper has been appointed by our Lord for Remembrance of Him in His work as Saviour. Its purpose to the child of God is for strengthening, and putting a visible difference between the redeemed and the unregenerate. This Sacrament will be observed once each month in every Free Presbyterian Congregation, or more frequently as each local congregation shall decide.|
|7.||The visible and personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ.|
|8.||These Articles, together with the Larger Catechism, , the Shorter Catechism,, and The Westminster Confession of Faith, form the Subordinate Standards of the Free Presbyterian Church.|