Planting a new church in Cookstown?

by Gillian McDade

WORSHIPPERS may soon have the opportunity to become part of a Reformed Presbyterian congregation in Cookstown if enough interest is shown in planting a church.

The denomination is no stranger to the Mid-Ulster area as the church, often known as the ‘Covenanters’, had a congregation which worshipped in Grange for almost 150 years. And now it is hoped that plans to open a church will come to fruition, as a few families in the Cookstown area had expressed an interest in planting a congregation.

Professor Robert McCollum, from Lisburn, has been leading a Bible Study with this group in Cookstown Leisure Centre each Thursday evening and he is delighted that interest has been shown in re-igniting the faith in the area.

He told the MAIL that plans to get a church up and running are in the very early stages but they hope to start worship services in the town very soon.

To gauge interest in establishing a church, a public meeting is to be held in the Burnavon next Thursday (May 30) at 8pm. Everyone is invited to attend and Professor McCollum plans to deal with the subject ‘A broken world: where is God when things go wrong?’

“We hope to use this as a public platform to raise awareness of our presence in Cookstown and we hope as many people as possible will come along to this meeting,” he said.

“Many people are perplexed by the extent of human suffering in our world. They find this difficult to reconcile with a God of love,” he added.

Due to emigration and other factors, the Grange congregation, which was led for 50 years by William Staveley Ferguson, ceased to exist in 1944.

Although the church building was demolished, the graveyard still continues to be used and is well maintained by Cookstown District Council.

If anyone wants more information about this venture, they can email Professor McCollum at: or contact 07814 402451.