The Rev’d Hugh Barkley Wallace, M.A., following a unanimous call, was installed at Bushmills on 19th February 1970. He was born in 1933 and brought up at Drumbo, Co. Down, where his father, the Rev. J.B. Wallace was minister. Mr. Wallace was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Magee University College, Derry and Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated Master of Arts. Licensed by the Dromore Presbytery in 1958, Mr. Wallace was ordained at Drumhillery and Middleton on 20th April 1960, (where he had also succeeded the Rev’d Pat Lowry).
Mr. Wallace continued the high quality of pulpit ministry with which the congregation had become accustomed. A deep sense of the beauty of the English language ensured that Mr. Wallace’s sermons were admired by many members and visitors. Always striving to express the appropriate word for the occasion, it was unsurprising that Mr. Wallace was called upon to serve the wider Church as Convener of the General Assembly’s Public Worship Committee from 1982 to 1989. He was also Convener of the General Assembly’s Memorial Record from 1991 to 1997. Since 1986 Mr. Wallace has served as the Clerk of the Route Presbytery, a position of considerable responsibility, where his succinct statements and wise judgments continue to be highly regarded by fellow presbyters.
Numerous enhancements were made to the church property during Mr. Wallace’s ministry. In 1977 considerable renovations took place involving the Hamill Hall, including the provision of a platform. In 1979 the Manse was extensively refurbished. In 1988 a new church kitchen was installed, provided by the ladies of the P.W.A. and in 1993 the Minor Hall was constructed, incorporating some of the buildings from the old stables adjoining the church.
During Mr. Wallace’s ministry, a number of special services were initiated which celebrated the Christian Year, all of which have continued to flourish. In 1971 a Good Friday service took place for the first time, which subsequently became a service incorporating the Lord’s Supper. In 1979 an early morning service was held for the first time at the Giant’s Causeway on Easter Sunday, followed by breakfast in the Hamill Hall. In 1991 the first Christmas Eve service took place. Evening communions, held in February and September, have been celebrated since 1977 and are appreciated by many who benefit from the quiet reverence of such occasions.
In 1996 the congregation celebrated its Three Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary, with special services to mark the occasion. Mr. Wallace wrote a short history of the congregation, entitled Bushmills Presbyterian Church 1646-1996. It is a fine piece of work, to which the writer of this present concise history is greatly indebted. On 30th June 2000, the Rev’d Barkley Wallace retired as minister of Bushmills after thirty years of dedicated service.