History of May Street Church

May Street Presbyterian Church is well on its way to celebrating 200 years of continuous worship and prayer. The church was opened on the site of a former millpond used by Cromac Paper Mill at Joy’s Dam in 1829 on the periphery of Georgian Belfast. Over the years, the city has grown up around the church which now finds itself in a pivotal position in the city centre.

henry cooke statue_2

The church was a building of its time, a hall church built in the Greek revival style with its distinctive Ionic columns at the top of stone steps. It is recognised for its architectural excellence and is a Grade II listing building. It is one of the few Georgian buildings in Belfast still being used for its original purpose.

When it was opened May Street’s sanctuary was packed to the doors Sunday by Sunday as crowds of worshippers thronged in to hear Dr Henry Cooke, the legendary Presbyterian reforming preacher. He is the subject of the famous Black Man statue in College Square East in the city centre.

Generations change but the church’s vision is the same today as it was in 1829 – to reach out to the wider community and to act as a catalyst in the economic, spiritual, social and cultural renewal of Belfast by supporting and engaging with people in community, commerce and crisis.


Short Info

About us in a nutshell
We hold a traditional Sunday service each week, starting at 11am, and a lunchtime service on Thursdays, starting at 1.05am. On Mondays and Fridays, our Urban Soul Venue plays host to Teen Challenge, which runs a lunch and coffee bar for those dealing with the challenges of addiction. t weekends, May Street’s Urban Soul Venue acts as an operational base for Street Pastors, who go out to various nightspots to help keep young people out of harm’s way at weekends.

Meet the team

  • Rev Wilfred Orr
    The Rev Wilfred Orr was appointed as the new vacancy convenor...
  • Arthur Acheson
    Arthur Acheson is clerk of session at May Street. A chartered...
  • Robin Morton
    Robin Morton is congregational secretary at May Street. A journalist by...