Jesse Riley, the Charity Steward for Cromwell with Papyrean Lodge, returned to his Christian roots recently when he put in a bid for ELMC funding for St John’s with Trinity Church on Kirklees Street, Tottington. Jesse had been married there, his children had been baptised there, and he actually preached from the pulpit in the church as long ago as 1970.

St John’s is a part of the Free Church of England which broke away from the established Church of England in 1844.  It is one of the oldest congregations, being formed in 1853 and the church being built in 1867.  Along with seven other church communities, it is a part of the Northern Diocese.

The building – which is Grade II listed – has been undergoing a lot of restoration and renovation over recent years to enable the building to be used by the wider community as well as the worshipping congregation. The Church Council applied for funding for some kitchen equipment to enable meals to prepared.  A bid was prepared for funding for a cooker, a cooker hood and a fridge freezer and following due consideration by the Grant Making Committee, the bid was approved.

The ideal opportunity to present the cheque from the ELMC was the occasion when St John’s celebrated the 150thanniversary of the consecration of the Church by the Right Revd Benjamin Price, the first Bishop Primus of the Free Church of England. There were several events over a few days, including hosting the Diocesan Synod.  District Charity Steward Steve Clark and Jesse Riley presented the cheque to the church fund raiser, Neil Turner and Senior Assistant Minister, the Revd Arthur Kay, under the watchful eye of Tottington’s Councillor Yvonne Wright.  There was a display of some of the history of St John’s church on display, and Jesse was able to demonstrate his local knowledge by enhancing some of the information that was contained in the displays.

The items have now been bought and although the cooker hood has yet to be fitted, they are adding to the opportunity for the church to make good use of the St John’s building.

Neil Turner said “We are so grateful for the funds.  Without your gift we would not have been able to structure the 150th anniversary celebrations or the Northern Diocese Ladies Rally as we needed to prepare food for over 70 people.  The funds that the ELMC provided have bought a cooker, backplate and over hob fan/filter, fridge freezer and a water heater to allow the premises to comply with the current regulations.”