Presbyterianism had its origins in Scottish migrations to Ulster in the
early seventeenth century. The first presbytery was formed in 1642 by
chaplains of a Scottish army which had come to Ireland because of an Irish
Catholic rebellion. In spite of this and later Catholic uprisings and the
hostility of the established Anglican Church, Presbyterianism put down
strong roots in Ireland before the end of the seventeenth century.
In the eighteenth century it was weakened by emigration to colonial
America and by division over subscription to the Westminster formularies,
which encouraged Scottish Convenanters and Seceders to form congregations
and presbyteries in Ulster. The restoration of subscription in 1835 led to
union with the Seceders to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church in Ireland.
Today the Irish Presbyterian Church, which is a founder member of the
World Alliance of Reformed Churches, has over 560 congregations in 21
presbyteries throughout Ireland with over 300,000 members. The Church has
been much involved in education, evangelism, social service and world
mission in India, China, the Middle East, Jamaica, Africa, Indonesia,
Nepal and Brazil.
In our Christian worship, the preaching of the Word of God is central, in
a setting of prayer and praise. There is no fixed liturgy. Prayers and
hymns, psalms and paraphrases, scripture reading and sermon are adapted to
the needs of the occasion.
The word 'Presbyterian' describes the form of our Church government which
emphasises the individual and corporate responsibility of members.
Ministers and members must share in the organising and running of every
aspect of the Church's work. Locally this means the provision of worship
and teaching along with pastoral care while the corporate work of the
Church involves social action, evangelism, mission at home and overseas,
training of ministers and working with young people and children.
The best test of our Church and its members lies in what their faith
compels them to do for others, not just what has been done for them as
individuals. The King and Head of the Church loved us and gave Himself for
us so that we should no longer live for ourselves. We are called to
The Church's administrative centre is in Church House, Fisherwick Place,