Brief history The roots of the Free Presbyterian witness in Gilford came into being through the grace and mercy of God in the vision of the Reverend Fred Buick, the then resident minister of Banbridge Free Presbyterian Church along with his church session to raise a separatist standard in the town. After a very successful tent mission held on the Stramore Road, Gilford taken by the Reverend Fred Buick and Reverend Jackson McVicker, it was the mind of the leaders to seek out a building where the gospel could continue to be preached. This led to enquiries relating to the church which was formally in the hands of the “Elim Corporation Trust” who purchased it originally from the Methodist Church in Ireland. The church building was purchased and opened as an extension work of the Banbridge Free Presbyterian Church on Saturday 7th May 1977 by the late Dr. Ian R. K Paisley. The building sadly closed for a few years to carry out necessary restoration work but was reopened again on Saturday 24th January 1987 by the Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley and was followed by a week-long gospel mission which saw the conversion of a number of souls.
Gilford Free Presbyterian Church has been blessed with its proximity to the Whitfield College of the Bible Ministerial Training College when it was situated in the neighbouring Tullylish. The church has been the training ground to a number of now established ministers including the Dr. Ian R. K Paisley’s son, Mr Kyle Paisley who spent two years as the first student minister, he is now an ordained minister of Olton Broad Free Presbyterian Church, Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.
The first ordained minister was the late Reverend David Sinton who along with the elected committee had a vision to totally renovate both the inside and out and bring the building into the twenty first century. This extensive renovation commenced in 2002 and ended in 2003, with an extension added to the rear of the building incorporating: a new gallery, toilets, kitchen, prayer room, minister’s study, and beautiful entrance hall. The window above the entrance door has the engraved inscription “Ebenezer” taken from 1 Samuel 7 v 12 meaning “hitherto hath the Lord helped us” and which sums up the goodness of God to the Gilford congregation. The focal point in the building is to be found on the stairs to the gallery where a striking stained-glass window of John Bunyan is installed; this was gifted to the church by Mrs Ruth Sinton and her two sons Richard and Andrew in memory her late husband and father the Reverend David Sinton. The Church continues today to take its separated stand in a day of religious apostacy under the ministry of the Reverend Gregory McCammon who was installed in January 2008.