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Church History

At the close of the 19th century the streets at the lower part of the Newtownards Road (Ballymacarrett) were thickly populated by working class families. Into this area the Post Office sent a young postman named J. F. Pepper “on a temporary basis”. But the Lord had other ideas and Mr. Pepper was to remain in the area until his death in the late 1950’s.
Although himself a young convert, Mr. Pepper saw the needs of the area and felt a spiritual burden for the people of Ballymacarrett. In May 1899 he and a few other Christians commenced open air meetings in Gertrude Street, as a result of which there was many conversions. A small house was subsequently rented in Foundry Street and converted into a small hall in which meetings were conducted, which became known as East End Mission. In November 1903 a decision was taken to constitute themselves into a Baptist Church. The first Lord’s Day service of the newly constituted Church was held on Sunday, 3rd January 1904. Eighteen members “formed” this new fellowship. In 1907 the erection of a new church building in Templemore Avenue commenced, the opening ceremony of which took place towards the end of 1908. Mr. Isaac Bell, one of the Elders, accepted the invitation to become the church’s first Pastor.
In the years following Pastor Bell’s resignation in 1913, the Church was pastored by Pastor S. Madden (1919-1921 and Pastor S. Ruddock (1922-1929). It was during Pastor Ruddock’s time that there was a real spiritual awakening throughout the city. The Lord poured a flood tide of blessing on East End Baptist Church. Night after night in crowded meetings when Mr. Pepper, Mr. Spence and Pastor Ruddock preached successively, souls were saved. During that time the number who professed salvation was no less than 700. In the ensuing years, following Pastor Ruddock’s departure, the Church was pastored by Pastor C. Robbins (1933-1937), and Pastor G.H. Weir (1938-1945). In 1941 the church building suffered severe damage in a heavy raid on the city, rendering it incapable of use. The Lord’s people at Strandtown Baptist Church offered their facilities to East End until all repairs could be completed. This offer was gratefully accepted and it meant a sojourn to Strandtown for almost 2 years, during which time a wonderful spirit of unity and harmony existed between the two churches.
Pastor H.H. Orr commenced his ministry at East End in 1946 and remained as Pastor until 1957. The Lord greatly blessed Pastor Orr’s ministry. The church accommodation was taxed almost to capacity, membership increased, and many souls, after hearing the preaching of God’s Word, came to a saving faith and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the following years the Church was pastored by Pastors H.C. Lutton (1959-1963), E. Topping (1964-1967), R. McCullough (1973-1974), Pastor J. Galbraith (1974-1993).
For many years the church had considered building a Church Hall. In the mid-eighties this thought became a reality. The new premises were built in Westbourne Street and officially opened in June 1988. In June 1994 Pastor Richard Rennie was inducted into the pastorate and continued thus for the next twenty-one years. He was the longest serving Pastor in the history of the Church, a ministry for which we praise and thank God. In January 2016 Pastor Rennie retired from the pastorate.
Mr. Ivor Thompson, an Elder in the church since 2011, was inducted into full-time Pastorate of the Church on Saturday, 30th January 2016.
We trust in God’s promise “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". Philippians ch.1 v.6.