2018 - and we're celebrating 50 years

St John's congregation get ready to celebrate 50 years. BELOW RIGHT: The church under construction in 1967, and as we are today

IT’S 50 years since the new St John’s Church was built in Flixton, so 2018 is a very special year here.

We’re having a series of celebration events, and Holy Week has been shared with our ‘parent’ church of St Michael’s, Flixton, with the Bishop of Middleton, the Rt Rev Mark Davies, joining us for the entire week.

Other visitors include the Rev Barry Hobson, from Hornchurch in Essex, who first came to faith at St John’s, the Rev Cat Thatcher, who grew up in our congregation, and the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, who will be in Flixton in July to celebrate with us and St Michael’s and to give the ‘Flixton Lecture’, this year at St John’s.

We have also welcomed the Rev Huw Thomas, vicar of St Michael’s Flixton, to St John’s, as our first guest preacher of the year. Other events include visits from Urmston Choral Society, a service for Ascension Day shared with other Christians from the Urmston area,  and a Pentecost Sunday visit from the Bishop of Middleton to celebrate not just the 50th birthday of St John’s but also the birthday of the Christian church.

Our intention is that this is not only about the anniversary of a building but of all that God has done over 50 years, and an invitation to our neighbours in Flixton to find the reality behind our celebration—that Jesus has changed lives, and that He’s still doing it today.

Our plans are also part of a national pattern of Christian action in the community in 2018, under the banner of  ‘HOPE 2018’. We and other churches are sharing in this.

HIGHLIGHTS OF A SPECIAL YEAR AT ST JOHN'S

Sunday 11th February: Guest preacher the Rev Huw Thomas, vicar of St Michael’s Flixton.

Sunday 25th February: Guest preacher the Rev Barry Hobson, from St Andrew’s, Hornchurch, Essex.

Sunday 25th March: Palm Sunday, with the Bishop of Middleton, the Rt Rev Mark Davies.

Holy Week, 26th to 30th March: Bishop Mark Davies shares in worship and witness at St Michael’s and St John’s through the week.

Maundy Thursday, 29th March, 7pm: A united Christian Celebration of Passover at St John’s.

Good Friday, 30th March: United Walk of Witness, from St John’s to St Michael’s.

Good Friday, 30th March: 7.30pm: United audio-visual meditation on the Cross, St John’s.

Easter Sunday, 1st April: 10.30am and 6.30pm: Easter Communion and Celebration.

Sunday, 29th April: Guest preacher the Rev Cat Thatcher, from St Mary’s, Oxenhope, in Yorkshire.

Ascension Day, 10th May, 7.30pm: United Eucharist, St John’s.

Wednesday 16th May, 7.30pm: Urmston Choral Society concert at St John’s.

Pentecost, 20th May: With Bishop Mark Davies.

Friday 13th July, 7.30pm: Special visit from the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker.

Sunday 15th July, 10.30am: United Eucharist, St Michael’s Flixton.

Sunday 15th July, 3pm: United Songs of Praise with the Bishop of Manchester.

(Details correct at the time of publication)

HOW FLIXTON GOT ITS NEW CHURCH

In 1925, the Rector of St Michael’s Flixton, the Rev John Jolly, and his PCC decided to build a ‘Mission Church’ for the Woodsend part of the parish of Flixton. It cost £4,850, and was opened for regular services on 8th February, 1931. New housing was built around the mission in the 1950s, and St Michael’s raised money for a new building.   Contributions of 6d (2½p) a week were sought. The ‘Mission’ was given the name of St John’s in 1956.

The church formed its first Parochial Church Council on 26th January, 1964. Building the new church was on its agendas from the start. Manchester University architecture lecturer Dr Raymond B Wood-Jones undertook to produce plans for ‘a good church that could be built in an economic manner for £8,000 or £9,000’ (it turned out to be twice as much, but St John’s raised £12,000 and got some help from the diocese of Manchester).

‘Cutting of the Turf’ took place on Whit Sunday, 14th May, 1967, with the Bishop of Hulme, Kenneth Ramsey. Work began the following month, and a ‘Buy a Brick’ (for 6d) scheme was launched. The cross at the roof apex was in position by 8th December. A service was held in snowy weather in the part-built church on 9th December, to dedicate four special stones on the interior—still visible today.

The church was consecrated on 30th March, 1968, by Dr William Greer, Bishop of Manchester, with over 600 people present. First vicar of St John’s, the Rev Fred Cooke, said: ‘We build today a meeting place, both homely and holy, where Christians can meet to seek their common inspiration…’

 

View an illustrated version of Rev Fred Cooke's sermon about the beginnings of St John's: