At the heart of the village lies Gracehill Moravian Church which was erected in the late 18th Century. By browsing this website you can find out more about Moravians and the village of Gracehill, near the town of Ballymena in Northern Ireland.
The Moravian Church is an old established Protestant Church,founded in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) in 1457. In the early 18th Century, Moravians came to England and took an active part in the Evangelical Revival, having a great influence on John Wesley. They were pioneers in overseas missionary activity.
The Moravian Church, ecumencial in outlook, allows freedom in doctrinal thinking, though emphasising the centrality of Jesus Christ in all things. Christian Fellowship and Christian Service are considered to be vital features of the Church. These values are reflected in the motto of the Church “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things charity”.
The beginnings of Gracehill Settlement were early in 1759 when some land at Ballykennedy, just off the main road between Ballymena and Ahoghill, was leased and later purchased outright from Lord O’Neill. The Moravians had earlier established a small congregation and preaching place at Gloonen, a mile or so from Ballykennedy, but in the years 1759-1765, when the present Church was opened for worship the work at Gloonen was scaled down and that of Gracehill was extended.
When the settlement was complete, it comprised a single Church and Manse, members houses, communal houses for the single sisters, single brethren and widows, day and boarding schools for boys and girls, a farm, a shop, an Inn (to provide accommodation) and a burial ground. The Gracehill settlement, with its neat layout and attractive Georgian architecture was the first place in Northern Ireland to be declared a conservation area, and since then further steps have been taken to preserve its character and charm. A warm welcome is offered to all who care to join us in worship and Christian Service.
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