The Presbyterian Church had an interest in Monkstown since at least 1855 when a school was erected for religious and secular education, and both Carnmoney and Whiteabbey churches were involved. With huge changes particularly the building of a large housing estate, new things began to be explored in 1966, including a joint venture with the Church of Ireland and Methodist churches.The first service of the Monkstown Church extension took place in April that year in what became known as the Upper room – above shops on the Jordanstown road. By June growth resulted in moving to Monkstown Primary school. By 1967 a house on bridge road was rented for some activities, by 1968 a wooden hall was erected on land which had been bequeathed to the congregation, and by 1969 another house which became known as Abbey house was left to the congregation. By 1970 the new church building was erected including the new concept of the moving wall. Much later some land, including the site of the wooden hall and Abbey house were sold for development and the new halls were built connected to the Church.
Of course the Church is people, not buildings; ministry and mission, not activities. Under the ministries of Rev Alick Cromie (1966-71), Ernie Brown (1971-86), John Seawright (1987-2013) and Alan Carson (2015 – present) and the congregation, Abbey has sought to be faithful in sharing and showing the good news of Jesus in Monkstown through changing times.
Our Key People
Alan grew up in north Belfast, studied at Queen’s, worked in Antrim and then was called to be a minister. After training he started ministry in Donegal, before periods in Orangefield in East Belfast and Newtownards, before coming back to his roots receiving a call to Abbey in January 2015. His passion as a minister is be a relevant teacher, a caring pastor, and a leader who enables people to find and use their gifts, and the Church to change to meet the challenges and opportunities of today. He is married to Gillian with two children, Joshua and Leah and one rabbit. He has an interest in all things to do with cars, and claims to own a bike – but is rarely seen on the many local bike paths.
Deborah was brought up in North Belfast attending Seaview Presbyterian Church with her family right up until her mid 20s. It was then that she joined Abbey and has remained there for the last number of years firstly serving as Sunday School superintendent and since August 2021 as Clerk of Kirk Session, a role which she has been humbled to be called to fulfil . Deborah works in Belfast City Hospital, is a registered nurse and currently manages the clinical haematology service; a job which she loves and feels privileged to do. Her hobbies include reading and visiting Europe for city breaks where she can use the languages she studied during school years and has tried to maintain.
Michaela has returned to Newtownabbey area after working in Limerick for 14 years as a missionary. She was involved in community outreach and worked alongside a couple of different churches in the time she was there. Together with her husband, Berny, she was involved in activities such as kids and youth clubs, Bible Studies, and social action works. having felt the need to move on the family returned to Northern Ireland and settled the children, Hannah and Joel, into school. The post in Abbey came up and she is delighted to have been appointed and looks forward to working with the Church.
Jill is married to Jonny. They live locally with 2 girls at Primary School – Izzy and Rose, and the best dog in the world, Bailey. Jill previously worked in IT and web design, and held an admin and co-ordination role in a charity and is hoping to bring some of what she has learned to this role. Jill is very excited to be taking up this post and is looking forward to becoming even more involved in the life of the Church that already plays a big part in her life and the life of her family. Jill is a GB Officer and is on the Board of the Monkstown Village Initiatives, and is looking forward to furthering those links with the local community.