Visitors flock to celebration weekend to mark 200th anniversary of Pendle church

Mount Zion Church treasurer Helen Keegan with her wedding dress she wore when  when she tied the knot at the church. She is pictured with one of her bridesmaids.
Mount Zion Church treasurer Helen Keegan with her wedding dress she wore when when she tied the knot at the church. She is pictured with one of her bridesmaids.
Share this article

A church has marked a very special anniversary with a celebration weekend.

Earby Mount Zion Baptist Church celebrated its 200th anniversary by welcoming old and new friends to the event.

The Border Harmony choir entertain visitors to Mount Zion's celebration weekend to mark its 200th anniversary.

The Border Harmony choir entertain visitors to Mount Zion's celebration weekend to mark its 200th anniversary.

An open day took place on Saturday and was full of activity as Nick Mitchell, a member of the congregation, dressed up as William Wilkinson, the first minister of the church.

He took visitors on on guided tours of the site of the original chapel on Red Lion Street.

Pupils of Earby Springfield School have been learning about the history of the church and visitors were very impressed by their display of work.

The church has a rich musical heritage and Border Harmony Choir and Earby Ukulele Group both provided entertainment.

Church member Nick Mitchell dressed as first minister William Wilkinson.

Church member Nick Mitchell dressed as first minister William Wilkinson.

A celebration service on the Sunday morning welcomed past ministers, the Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle Coun. James Starkie and his wife Janet, and friends from other churches in Earby.

The Mayor said: “The history of the church was fascinating and an accompanying exhibition showed

facets of the past.”

The church began in 1819 as members met in one another’s homes. The first pastor, William Wilkinson, walked to London and back, calling at baptist churches on the way to raise funds to build the first chapel, off Red Lion Street.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle Coun. James Starkie and his wife Janet admire some of the work on display.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle Coun. James Starkie and his wife Janet admire some of the work on display.

Several decades later, a larger church building was needed so a piece of land was bought on Water Street and work on Mount Zion chapel began.

This larger chapel was demolished in the early 1980s and the church is now part of the West Craven Baptist Fellowship and meets in the old Sunday School building.

Two announcements were made during the weekend, the first one being that church member Julie Bryan has been accepted by Northern Baptist College for ministerial training.

Her training starts in September when she will combine college work with being a pioneer minister in West Craven.

The congregation was also given some sad news that the next minister who was due to take up his post at Earby, the Rev Stephen Keyworth, collapsed at work.

He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for emergency surgery where he remains in a critical condition.

Stephen currently works as team leader at Baptist House in Didcot for the Baptist Faith and Society specialist team. Church members have send their prayers and best wishes to Stephen for a speedy recovery.