It's understood arsonists broke into the Whiteabbey Methodist Church on the Shore Road through the front door on Saturday night.
They then tried to start three fires inside the building.
A blaze took hold at the back of the church - which caused extensive damage.
Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.
Rev Pauline Lorimer said the building had been left badly smoke damaged.
"I don't see how anybody can get any kind of kick out of destroying something that's good," she said.
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