On a Lighter Note

Looking back on some of the events of the past through 21st century eyes can cause a smile…


A fascinating feature of early congregational life was the arrangements made in relation to pew sittings.  A few extracts from the minutes of the church Committee illustrate the trouble taken over the matter:

On 8th September 1892, the Committee agreed that, “Mr. Martin and Mrs. McKee may exchange pews if they so desire.” 

On 7th October 1910, the Committee received a complaint from Mrs. Warnock that unauthorized persons had been occupying her pew.  In reply she was informed that her pew had not been assigned by the pew committee to any other but that pending an assignment to the persons whom she saw in her pew the committee had sanctioned their use of the seat “as it was for the most part unoccupied by Mrs. Warnock”. 

In February 1912, permission was given to Mr. Thomas Martin “to have his pew upholstered to his own satisfaction, he defraying the cost”.


Evidence of the problem of a mysterious draught in the church building is found in a letter from Mr. Cunningham on 13th November 1891, “complaining of the current of air passing through the church and requesting that steps be taken to prevent it.”  The minutes continue, “The secretary was instructed to acknowledge receipt of same and to arrange with the church officer to have the church well aired and the windows closed before the congregation assembled and also to try a smaller fire in the furnace with a view to more gradually heating the house.”

Obviously the problem was not solved as the following letter to the congregational secretary, dated October 1917, shows:

Perhaps you may have noticed the draught which we feel in our seat in meeting, altho’ you are a little behind it.  I have felt it very much and have often wished for a change but nothing suitable seemed to become vacant until now that Mrs. McDowell’s seat is vacant. I would be very glad if you would kindly have us changed to it.  Will you please give this your attention and it necessary place it before the next meeting of Committee.

Dublin Road. Belfast. 7/10/1942