History of Malone

Malone Presbyterian Church Opens

4th September 1836

When the first building of Malone Presbyterian Church was opened by Rev Dr Henry Cooke on 4 September 1836 it was surrounded by open fields and was the only Presbyterian church between the centre of Belfast and Dunmurry, where the Minister, Cooke’s great rival Rev Dr Henry Montgomery, had recently led his and sixteen other congregations into what was to become eventually the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church.

Malone's First Minister - Rev Joseph Mackenzie


Malone was therefore designated by a stone set into the front wall as “The Orthodox Presbyterian Church”. Malone’s first minister was a Ramelton man, Rev Joseph Mackenzie, who served until his death in 1883. Under his stewardship a National School was built beside the church, and on the other side of the Lisburn Road and beyond the railway line he established the Balmoral Cemetery, where he himself was to lie buried, along with Cooke and many other Presbyterian notables.

Rev Andrew J. Wilson

During the ministry of his successor, Rev Andrew J. Wilson, hymns were introduced to church services, and an afternoon Sunday School began. The South Belfast suburbs grew rapidly, and with it the congregation, and the culmination of his work was the opening of our present building on 18 June 1899. Since then it has undergone many renovations, most recently in 2009. Its most striking recent addition is the backlit Millennium window, which faces the Lisburn Road.

Rev James Haire

1912 - 1919

1912 saw the installation of Rev James Haire, who resigned in 1919 after being appointed Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Assembly’s College. He became Moderator of the General Assembly in 1939, the first in a distinguished family line of theologians and Moderators.

Rev Gilbert Paton & Rev Stuart Cameron


In World War 1 Rev Gilbert Paton served as an Army Chaplain and was awarded the Military Cross with two Bars. In 1920 he became the fourth Minister of Malone. In that year the 44th Troop Boy Scouts was formed, followed by the 34th Company Girl Guides in 1921. Dr Paton was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1931-2, when he and Mrs Paton undertook a strenuous tour of the Indian Mission stations. He died in 1936.Our church halls were built during the ministry of Rev Stuart Cameron, who was with us during the Second World War, until he returned to Scotland in 1946. A few months later the halls were opened and dedicated to the memory of Dr Paton. They were modernised in 1967, and their latest refurbishment was in 2009.

Rev David Esler & Rev William Boland

1953 - 1979

Our next minister was Rev David Esler, who resigned in 1953, having accepted a call to the Chair of Homiletics at San Anselmo Theological Seminary, California. He was succeeded by Rev William Boland, a native of Co Mayo, who had earlier ministered in Ballynahinch and Limerick. In 1979, shortly before his retirement, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) at Union Theological College. Rev William Boland is fondly remembered for his attentive pastoral care.

Rev Derek Boden

1981 - 2012

Our eighth Minister, Rev Derek Boden, was installed on 1 May 1981. His ministry extended beyond Malone, for example through his BBC broadcasts, especially for Radio Ulster. He retired in October 2012.

Current Minister: Rev Kathryn Viner

2014 - present

The current minister is Rev Kathryn Viner and she was installed on 7 March 2014. Kathryn was previously Assistant Minister at Fisherwick.