Our roots stem from a small prayer meeting which began in the 1970’s in a period of conflict known as the ‘Troubles’. During this time a group of local university students felt burdened to pray for the situation. They prayed together day and at night. It was a time of significant outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit through the charismatic renewal and the young adults were deeply impacted by this. Alongside prayer for Ireland there was a longing for a revival in the church.
The group grew and started to meet in Bangor for teaching, praise and prayer. Worship was a key aspect of these gatherings and alongside contemporary music there was also a love of old hymns, sung wholeheartedly. There was a strong emphasis on quality Bible teaching which included input from bible teachers such as the Rev William Still from Aberdeen, Derek Prince and others. Links were also forged through the church reconciliation movement led by Rev. Cecil Kerr of Rostrevor.
Numbers continued to grow and eventually more space was needed. A local Methodist church provided meeting rooms and enabled use of their main sanctuary for Saturday night ‘Praise Services’. These were packed out with young people and some not so young, from both cultural traditions.
This fledgling Christian community led to the formation in 1983 of Kings Fellowship, now known as Kings Church. In 1985 the church bought its current building on Bangor Seafront. Originally built as a dance hall called ‘Milano’s’, it was then used a roller-disco for a few years before Kings took ownership.
Our current building on Seacliff Road when we first took ownership in 1985
Alongside worship, prayer and bible teaching – the church was passionate about making a difference in the local community. In addition to regular worship, youth and children’s ministry, the building housed a community playgroup for 22 years and Christian school for 18 years. The church also ran a community employment scheme, a night time street ministry, a ‘Care and Counsel’ drop-in centre and partnered with other churches in pregnancy crisis support.
Kings Church has had an interest in overseas mission since its earliest days. This began with Dr Ian Clarke, who was moved by the plight of people in Luwero, the heart of Uganda’s killing fields. In 1987 he moved there with his family and after initially treating patients under a tree, he went on to found Kiwoko Hospital. Its Christian ethos is summed up in its motto, ‘We treat, Jesus heals’. Since then, Kings has grown in supporting overseas workers in Africa, Eastern Europe, Nepal, Japan, and Papua New Guinea, with whom we have longstanding relationships. We are also a partner in Bangor Worldwide, an annual conference devoted to world mission, unique in the UK.
We have aimed to be relationally linked with other churches. For many years we were part of the Salt and Light family of churches and looked to them for apostolic input. More recently we have become part of the Tobar family of churches in Ireland and are excited about partnering with others to encourage God’s work across the whole island of Ireland.
Our vision as a church is, ‘To follow Jesus, make a difference and grow new disciples in Bangor, our land and across the world’.
Today we want to build on this heritage with renewed passion and vision to see the life-giving truth and message of Jesus transform lives.
L-R: St Columbanus – went from Bangor with 12 men and founded several monastic communities in Europe, Bangor bell from 9th Century – rung to call Saints to prayer, Bangor Antiphonary – translation of part of hymn from Bangor Antiphonary – A collection of late 7th century canticles and hymns from Bangor monastic community. It is today held in Milan.
Bangor has a very rich Christian heritage. In 558AD, St Comgall founded a monastic school in Bangor, which became renowned throughout Europe for its 24/7 prayer, worship and learning. Bangor was known as, ‘the Light of the World’, and missionaries went from here to all parts of Ireland, Britain and Europe.
In May 2022 Bangor become a city, in recognition of its significant monastic and Christian heritage, industrial innovation and naval tradition. Bangor city strapline is, ‘City of Heritage, Heart and Hope’.
We want to play our part in the new city of Bangor, drawing on the deep wells of our past, showing radical love to others, and carrying the message and hope of Christ to Bangor, Ireland and across the world.