Enniskillen is a medium sized town in the western area of Northern Ireland with a current population of around 14,000 people. The county of Fermanagh remains a largely agricultural based economy with Enniskillen being somewhat of an exception in that it is located close to the Irish border and attracts shoppers from the South.
The Enniskillen Reformed Presbyterian Church began with a group of 3 families, who initially met in a home for Bible studies. In time, they asked if the denomination would support their desire to form a new congregation in Enniskillen.
In March of 2009, Rev. Robert Robb was called by the Western Presbytery to be a Church Planter in the town, and it was agreed at the time that a second Church Planter would be necessary. In due course, Rev. Bill Matthess was called in 2016 to work alongside Robert Robb. Currently there is an interim session, with elders drawn from other RP congregations in the Presbytery.
Initially, meetings were held in a community centre in the town, then a suitable house was found on the southern edge of the town which was purchased and converted into the current Church building.
The area around the Church building includes an estate of housing executive dwellings, as well as private housing, schools and businesses. Being on the Southern extremity of Enniskillen, the building is very accessible to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and has attracted over the years a number of visitors from the South.
Each alternate year, the Fellowship holds the ‘Lough Erne Conference’ which attracts many from both North and South. The goal of the conference has been to promote Reformed Christian thinking in areas of worship, and family. This has been held at the Killyhevlin Hotel, which can cater for large numbers.
In addition to the regular preaching and teaching and prayer ministry, the Fellowship have also embarked upon open air work in the town centre, door to door evangelism, leaflet drops, a series of monthly theological lectures, and a regular ‘Coffee Stop’ where the church building is open for locals to drop by and chat with members over a cup of coffee.
A great deal of pastoral care has been given to people struggling with addictions. Some come along to the worship services for a time, disappear and then reappear. We have been blessed to see two men brought to faith and added to the membership which has been a great encouragement to the work. Overall attendance has fluctuated over the years, with numbers being higher during the summer holiday period.
Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Rev Bill Matthess