Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland | Galway (Connacht, Ireland)
- Organised: 2013
- Elders: Rev. Peter Jemphrey, Billy Hamilton & Frank McMurray
- Members: 27 Communicant, 8 Baptised
In 1966, James and Eileen Anderson, working for the Irish Mission, began pioneer Gospel outreach in Galway. The west of Ireland, as all of the Republic of Ireland, has been predominantly Roman Catholic in religion and culture. Over the decades, the country has become increasingly secular but the vast majority of Irish people still continue to identify as Catholic. Our church’s greatest burden has been (and remains!) to bring the Gospel of grace to our fellow countrymen who have never heard it.
By 1984, a Sabbath morning worship service and evening bible study had been established, and the Irish Mission called Trevor McCauley, pastor of Dervock RP Church, to take on the leadership of the work in Galway alongside James Anderson.
In 1987, the Andersons moved from Galway to engage in evangelistic work in Belfast. In 1990 Raymond Blair was ordained to the ministry and commissioned to work with Trevor McCauley in Galway. In May 1991 the work was further strengthened when Billy Hamilton was commissioned by the Irish Mission as a mission worker in Galway. In November 1991 the Fellowship in Galway suffered a great loss when Trevor McCauley died after a short illness. Raymond Blair and Billy Hamilton worked together for 20 years until Raymond was called to Limavady RP Church in 2011.
In 2012, the Fellowship called Peter Jemphrey, pastor of Cloughmills RP Church, to work with Billy Hamilton. Billy served as a mission worker until his retirement at the end of 2019, after almost 30 years serving in Gospel ministry here. We are delighted greatly that he and Mary have stayed in Galway and that Billy continues to serve as an elder in the Fellowship and as manager of our bookshop.
Organization & A Building of Our Own
For many years, the Fellowship met in a small hall at the back of the house belonging to the Irish Mission and then in a larger rented room in a Bridge Club. In 2013, the Fellowship was organised as a congregation and purchased new premises with the support of the wider church. After extensive renovations, we were able to use the downstairs of the new church building from February 2016 for our services and then, when the upstairs was completed, we had the official opening in November 2017.
We praise God for how He has graciously kept and provided for us as a Fellowship through the different stages of our development. Throughout the years our church life has been enriched greatly with believers from different parts of the world joining us for worship and fellowship. As Galway has become increasingly cosmopolitan, so has our church family. Many of our members face very challenging circumstances in their lives and we rejoice in how the Lord has upheld them in the midst of their trials and made their witness shine even more brightly.
Worship and Fellowship
Our worship services and evening meetings each Lord’s Day, along with our monthly celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and our weekly home-group bible studies and monthly men’s and women’s groups, have all played a key role in the discipleship of our members and in the building-up of the Fellowship. The Sunday School and Youth Group have been important in the nurturing and encouragement of our children and young people.
Our bookshop ministry in its prime location in the city centre has given us many opportunities over the years for sharing the Gospel The elders are very grateful for the members who help us man the bookshop week by week.
As a Gospel congregation, we are committed to spreading the Gospel in a variety of ways. We recognise the importance of the daily personal witness of all our members to their own families and friends and in their communities, workplaces and places of education. We commend our members for every way they’ve stood for Christ in our increasingly secular age. We also seek to spread the Gospel during our annual summer GO week with the help of a GO team. We distribute Gospel booklets, engage in open-air preaching and evangelism in the city centre and in door to door work in certain areas of the city. We hold public meetings on various topics.
In 2019-2020 we were blessed when Stephen Fallows from Gateway Christian Fellowship did a year of short-term service with our Fellowship. In December 2019, we were very pleased to be involved with fellow believers from other evangelical churches in manning a cabin at the Christmas market at which we offered free Gospel booklets. Each December, we also distribute Gospel Calendars of scenes in Ireland with the bible verses in English and Irish.
We are also delighted with the work and witness of Galway University Christian Union (called Dóchas which means hope) and with the witness of the Christian Union (Dóchas) at St Enda’s College (a secondary school in Galway and the first school in the city to ever have a Christian Union). Some of our members are involved in these two groups.
As a congregation, we are a member of Aontas (an association of Irish Evangelical Churches) and we also enjoy fellowship with believers from other Gospel churches in Galway. We are involved in monthly prayer meetings with church-in-chains, an Irish ministry which seeks to support our persecuted brothers and sisters in different nations.
Christ Builds His Church
Looking back over the different stages of the development of Covenant Christian Fellowship, we have so much to be thankful for concerning God’s gracious provision in the life and witness of our Fellowship. Our prayer is that we will continue to grow spiritually and numerically as we reach out to our fellow countrymen who do not know the Gospel. As Christ builds His church here and across our land and throughout the nations, may He revive us, that we may rejoice in Him more and more (Ps. 85v6). May our covenant community life together be marked increasingly by spiritual vitality, unity, diversity and maturity, for His glory alone and for the advance of His unshakable kingdom.
- Pray for the Lord to raise up elders and deacons to serve in the Fellowship.
- Pray for the body life and ministry of the Fellowship to continue to develop.
- Pray for the Lord to protect His people and to keep changing us individually and together to be more Christ-like.
- Pray for the Lord to use our personal and congregational witness (including our bookshop ministry) to bring people to Christ.
- Pray for our young people to be equipped to stand for Christ with wisdom and boldness in an increasingly secular society.
- Pray for the Irish Mission committee as they prayerfully consider the possible development of Gospel outreach and ministry in another location in the Republic of Ireland.
Special thanks to Rev. Peter Jemphrey for compiling this information for the RP family around the world. Peter is married to Jenny and they have four children, Thomas, Rachel, Christopher and Timothy. His favourite sports are squash, tennis and table-tennis and he is a life-long fan of Leeds United Football (aka, “soccer”) Club. If you want to see your congregation featured here, get in touch through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you!