God is at work throughout history. Ireland has been called the land of “Saints and Scholars”, with Christian missionaries coming to Irish shores by the late 5th century, and the Good news spreading through the work of Palladius and Saint Patrick, amongst many others.
There has been a Presbyterian congregation in Galway city since the 1600’s, and in 1698 when this group invited the minister of the congregation of Limerick to come administer Holy Communion, it is reported that the minister William Biggar on arriving in Galway, was put in prison and sent to Dublin for “dividing the Protestant interest”. He was later released – for his only crime was to arrive in Galway to preach and lead a service – but he was warned not to return to Galway! On 25th October 1835, the Presbyterian meeting house on Nun’s Island was opened for worship.
In May 1748, John Wesley came to Co. Galway to preach and in 1756 came to Galway city for the first time. In 1760 a small Methodist society formed in Galway. John Wesley returned many times and in 1839, a Methodist Chapel was opened just off Eyre Square at Victoria Place.
Many Presbyterian and Methodist ministers followed over the years, and there were many smaller congregational meetings outside of Galway city that met also.
In 1980, the two congregations, Presbyterian and Methodist, were united and began worshipping together in the Methodist Chapel at Victoria Place.
Over the past 20 years the church has been blessed by an influx of people from all different countries and denominations and so the worship and style of the service has been blessed by this – becoming a greater reflection of God’s kingdom, where every tribe and tongue and nation worship the Lord Jesus together. The Church Council are the spiritual leaders of the congregation, and there is an alternating ministry scheme, so that after a Methodist minister than there is a Presbyterian and so forth. To find out more, please get in contact or visit us at Victoria Place, we’d love to meet you. To conclude, a quotation from a history of the “Methodists and Presbyterians in Galway”, by Dudley Levistone Cooney;
“The church has much for which to be grateful to God in it’s experiences. With faith in the unchanging love and grace of God it may look to the future with confidence, seeking new ways to meet new challenges, but with the over-riding purpose of thankfully serving the Lord Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit” (page 108).
Rev. Helen Freeburn