Page 12 - Moravian Messenger Nov 2021
P. 12

Dukinfield Moravian Church
In the 1740s Old Road, Dukinfield was a centre for evangelism. Encouraged by visits from the United Brethren the converts became a Society and then a Church. In 1755 it was recognised as a Moravian congregation with
plans to become a settlement. Soon a Burial Ground, Choir Houses
and schools followed.
By 1780 it
was obvious
that more land
was needed but
this wasn't to be.
Sadly in 1785 the
congregation moved to Fairfield
leaving a few faithful members behind. You might think that this would be the end, but by 1788 they were again given their own minister and gradually worked to become independent of Fairfield.
Over the next hundred years as the congregation grew, bigger churches were built, the first in 1826, the second in 1860 (seating 800 and costing £1,120) with a Sisters' House and Ladies' Boarding School. Thanks to the generosity of the Hindley family a Day School was added.
Congregation life had its highs and lows. Reading through church records, there is evidence of problems with finance, buildings, church heating and lighting, the organ, dry/wet rot and attendance figures and yet the congregation was never afraid to embark on new enterprises.
It is interesting to see the change in church activities over the years. Initially, the focus was on spiritual and educational matters. As the Church influenced working conditions so suitable leisure activities became a part of church life.
By the 20th century bazaars, dramatic societies, Unitas concert parties, sports teams, choir outings and concerts, Brownies and Guides, youth clubs, Bicentenary celebrations and two Synods,
as well as the trauma of two world wars and a
depression went alongside regular
worship and continual new challenges.
A big challenge
came in the shape of an outreach church
to serve the new Yew Tree housing estate. With Br Tom McQuillan
in the lead, we accepted a three-year lease on a farmhouse on Yew Tree Lane. After much cleaning and house-to-house visiting, the 17th February 1957 saw 119 people squashed into the farmhouse for Sunday School. A temporary army hut followed with the promise of a permanent building to follow as soon as possible.
Meanwhile worship continued at Old Road but faced with yet more major, costly repairs and three neighbouring churches, it faced an uphill battle.
After much discussion and prayer, the decision was taken in March 1967 to move to Yew Tree Lane and build a new church there, with our minister and members doing the bulk of the building. It was amazing how members' skills developed, digging foundations, brick laying, concrete mixing, joinery, plumbing ... the list goes on. For every need someone could either turn their hand to it or knew someone who could! It took six years of hard labour, supported by endless cups of tea, sandwiches and cakes. Right up to the last few months
Yew Tree continued their worship as the new building took shape around them and so with Old Road who met in the old school building as the church became the building workshop. In his book Br McQuillan describes himself as the 'old man' and 'the slave driver' but without his drive and determination the new church would barely have reached the planning stage.
The carved Lamb and Flag plaque at the back of the church acts as a memorial to all those who put their lives on hold whist the church was built.
So, 48 years on we haven't been idle. The pews are gone to make a more versatile worship space, new windows and front door, improved insulation and heating, a new kitchen and a lovely new garden have been added. Alongside our regular worship of family church and youth services we have held flower festivals, fairs, coffee mornings and hosted Synod. Our uniformed movements thrive, Friday club, Messy Church, Mums and Tots, Bible study, MWA, Thursday Group and a variety of local groups use our premises for their meetings. Our most recent developments are the Food Hamper Project and the Dementia Warriors group.
The pandemic has seriously curtailed our activities. Services and meetings have been held by Zoom but, in spite of everything, our Food Hamper Project has continued to provide food boxes for local families in need all through lockdown.
Thankfully, now fully masked, sanitised and suitably spaced, we are worshipping together again. Some groups are returning, others still feel too vulnerable for the present but with Our Lord's strength and support we are moving on.
We pray that 2022 will enable us to reach out again to our neighbours as we get back to our normal church activities.
Sr Glenys Marshall
  The Moravian Messenger
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