The origins of the congregation of Gardenmore are obscure. No records remain to identify any of its founders, nor can we trace the places of meeting during its early years as a congregation when it had neither minister nor church building.
The original church building was in Pound Street, now the site of the Larne library. The actual lease of the site is the earliest extant record of the Larne congregation and was dated 1st September 1769. For a number of years after that the congregation still had no minister of its own, but on 10th August 1785, Rev John Nicholson was ordained in the open air at the fields between the Roddens and Old Cairncastle Road. Thus began the history of Gardenmore, though at this time the congregation was called Second Larne, and would remain so until 1885. In 1879, due to the increased numbers attending, the original building was extended, with further accommodation being added in 1886 with the erection of a gallery, and for the first time a choir was introduced to lead the singing.
Outreach work was as important then as now, and from 1898 the Factory Hall on Old Glenarm Road, with the agreement of the Directors of the Larne Weaving Company, was used for congregational purposes.
In 1892 Reverend David H Hanson was installed as minister of the church, and remained so until 1939. During his ministry a large debt owed by the congregation was cleared, an organ was installed in the church building in 1897, and a decision was taken to build a new church to replace the original building which could not cope with the numbers wishing to attend.