In the book “The Pilgrims Progress” Christian and Hopeful were having a discussion and Christian said “Where shall we begin”. Hopeful replied “Where God began with us”. To trace our beginnings we need to go back to the years following the rediscovery of the simple truths of the gospel around 1859. At that time in the Keady area many responded to the gospel and accepted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. In 1876, after carefully studying the Holy Scriptures, a group of local Christians established an assembly of believers gathered unto the name of the Lord Jesus Christ without any man to preside but Christ. The Lord blessed them and in a short period their number increased to almost one hundred.
Amongst the company was Thomas John Robinson, who about that time came to Newry and started a grocery and egg exporting business in Monaghan Street. Sadly he died shortly afterwards and his brother, Robert, came to carry on the business. After some time and exercise Robert and his wife with a number of local believers commenced meeting in their drawing room on Lord’s Day to remember the Lord in the breaking of bread. In this simple way the testimony to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ began and in His goodness continues to this day. As the numbers increased the meetings were held in the egg store. About that time, possibly in 1880, Henry Ambrose Mandeville and Lord Congleton, took the Newry Town Hall for gospel meetings and met with the small company of believers. In the year 1904 a site was bought in Canal Street and a hall built which accommodated the assembly until 1961 when it moved to premises on Downshire Road.
Over the years the believers were very active in preaching the gospel. Many series of gospel meetings were held in their hall and in other locations in the surrounding areas. At many of these meetings blessing was experienced in souls being saved and added to the assembly. However a feature of the assembly has been that the number in fellowship remained small due to the fact that many of the families and young people moved away from Newry mainly for employment reasons.
The assembly has also been very active in work amongst children being responsible for a Sunday School and for weekly children’s meetings during the autumn and winter months. Currently there is no Sunday School but weekly children’s meetings are held in the Newry and Bessbrook halls from September to March.
In 1987 the assembly moved to premises at 66 Damolly Road which continue to serve the needs of the believers to the present day.
“We praise Him for all that is past and trust Him for all that is to come”
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctorine and fellowship, and in breaking of the bread, and in prayers”. Acts 2.41 & 42.