History of ECC

50years; A short history of Heaton Moor Evangelical Church, now Emmanuel Community Church

When exactly does a local church begin? Did it begin when Sunday services started on October 19, 1969? But prayer and practical moves towards its formation came earlier at informal meetings of local Christians in 1967 and in 1968.

But what about the unseen beginnings, maybe going back to the 1930s? Before WW2, an evangelical cause was a witness to God in Heaton Moor through the ‘Bible Christian Institute’.

Or going back even further, to 1884, when an evangelist from the newly formed Scripture Union was invited to conduct a mission at St Thomas’s Church, Heaton Chapel. Through this work, adults and children, in some cases whole families, became Christians. One of those young people was Amy Smith, who lived on Parsonage Road (now Granville House).

In her early 20s, Amy rented the upper floor over a shop in Portland Grove, off Shaw Road and called it the Mission Room. Young Christians were taught there, prayed together, and worshipped while seeking to reach others in gospel meetings on Sunday evenings. Despite early opposition, the work flourished. Every few years, Amy and her helpers organised missions in the Conservative Club, which were well attended.

In 1913 Amy’s father died and the family home had to be sold. Amy moved the Portland Grove venture, a short distance to 26 Shaw Road. She lived on the top floor, the mission hall was on the middle floor and downstairs were the teaching and prayer rooms.

Another venture was a girl’s Crusaders class, which began to meet in the home of Mrs Jackson in Lea Road in 1921, and a boy’s class started in the early 30s. A member of the Manchester City Mission, bought two large houses on the corner of Heaton Moor Road and Clifton Road (with the help of money coming from Amy Smith).

The Bible Christian Institute, briefly referred to above, was opened in 1935. This work flourished until the start of the war, when many of the men were conscripted. Sadly, some did not return. The work now became largely a lady’s place of worship until it wound up in the early 60s. For a time, the Boys Crusaders met in the basement and the Girls Crusaders on the ground floor. Interestingly, the funds from the sale of the premises were held in trust for some years, to support any new evangelical work in Heaton Moor, but they were dispersed to missionary work, just a few years before HMEC began. So, any new venture would be a walk of faith. But some of the women previously associated with the ‘Institute’ continued to pray for a renewed local evangelical work in the Heatons.

A few believers were meeting privately for prayer, while going out of the district to worship at evangelical churches elsewhere. That some of these older Christians were praying for a local evangelical church was not generally known until after the new fellowship had come into being, when one of the ladies said to the early elders: ‘This is just what we have been praying for, all these years – now God has answered our prayers!’

By the mid 60’s Heaton Moor Crusader leaders sensed a frustration because many of their children were becoming Christians but there was no evangelical church to which they could go when they reached the time to leave Crusaders.

So, the first real moves towards a church in Heaton Moor came in 1966/7. At that time, some twenty Heaton Moor folk including most of the Crusaders leaders were worshipping at Ivy Cottage Evangelical Church in Didsbury and the pastor, Frank Larkin was considering that this group could form the nucleus of a ‘daughter church’ in the Heaton Moor area. He sounded out these members and was ‘surprised by their enthusiasm’.

For a year, prayer meetings and bible studies were held to get to know each other, and to find out what the Bible had to say about church organisation.

At the same time a small group led by Dr Derek Copley, was meeting in Heaton Moor to read the Bible and with the aim of reaching non-Christians, though it also welcomed some local Christians.

Then, early in 1968, a group of local ‘brethren believers from Cromwell Hall, Levenshulme began an outreach work as the ‘Heaton Moor Evangelical Centre’ in a local Gospel Hall on Shaw Road. While the initiative lasted only about a year, the Ivy Cottage plan was paused, and the group continued to pray concerning the future.

Yet another group, this time of Christian students (mainly from Manchester Christian Union were meeting through links with Cromwell Hall, in the home of Dr Shepherd, a local doctor on Wellington Road. Some of these students were ‘in lodgings’ in houses near the station and they would become enthusiastic supporters of the plan to start a local church. They were also going to churches outside of Heaton Moor on a Sunday.


Church needed

It was becoming clearer that what was needed in the Heatons was a new, independent evangelical church and various interested parties came together initially at the home of Stuart and Marian Forbes to see if such an initiative would be viable. The seventeen people who came agreed that another meeting was needed, and that took place at the Robertson’s home on Parsonage Road in April 1969 to pray with the specific intention of establishing such a local church.

Twenty-eight people were present, and Frank Larkin gave the group an overview of what had been happening. He covered the form of Church worship, the suggested place of meeting – renting the Crusader Hall on Heaton Moor Road, the links with Ivy Cottage, and ended with a challenge – that people give an indication that night if they were prepared to leave their present place of worship and start a new church.

Some decided to stay at their existing churches, but seventeen indicated they were prepared to go forward, with four more who intended to join later. There would also be fifteen children, and so there was a base for a viable children’s work.

Things then moved quickly, with an attitude of “let’s get started as a church and work out the organisation later”. A Steering Committee was formed. The steering group were assisted by Rev Frank Larkin and the elders at Ivy Cottage Evangelical Church, Didsbury. Different ways forward had been explored, initially with the work in the Heatons being seen as a ‘daughter church’ of Ivy.

But independently of each other, and God’s leading, the Ivy Cottage elders and the Heaton Moor Steering Committee, had come to the conclusion that this was not the right way forward, and that the work in the Heatons would be an independent evangelical church associated with the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (FIEC) from the beginning.

With this agreed, the pioneers stepped out in faith to begin the work, with the ongoing support, in terms of ministry and practical needs of Ivy Cottage.

From those earliest days the church drew folk from a wide variety of backgrounds including Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Brethren, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, and independents. Their common desire was to see an evangelical work established in the Heatons. The possibility also attracted some of the Manchester University and UMIST students as the new church offered them a welcome into a fellowship across all age groups.

The idea of a local church was not only seen as biblical but also very appealing. It could provide spiritual food for those who up to then had lacked it; it would be a local fellowship for those who had hitherto been church-commuters to other churches and more importantly, it would be a witness in the locality to the one gospel.

On October 12th 1969 a Dedication Service was held at Ivy Cottage for those Ivy members who were leaving to start HMEC and for those who were joining them from other churches. A week later ……


October 19th 1969

The first Sunday services were held in the Crusader Hall, with a Breaking of Bread (communion) service at 10.15am and the morning service was held at 11am, and the newly elected President of FIEC preached. Frank Larkin was the preacher at the evening service, and at both services the room was crowded. A couple of other families came that day to support the beginning of the work, and immediately became part of a ‘growing’ church from day one.

The Steering committee became the Executive committee in November, and in February 1970, the church appointed its first part-time pastor.

The Crusader Hall was adequate in size and suitable enough inside, but its situation seemed to some, to be rather less than promising! It was upstairs in a row of Victorian shops, and could be reached only by going down a rather dingy alley, in through the back gate, past the shop’s dustbins and up a steep flight of stairs.

Surely a setting that seemed designed to keep anyone away from church, but the opposite proved the case. Some people were in fact prepared to come just because it did not look or feel like ‘going to church.’

In the providence of God, the ‘Upper Room’ became something of an attraction, especially to groups of younger people, coming from secondary schools in Reddish and Bredbury, and from non-church backgrounds. So, more of a benefit than a hindrance (apart from the stairs for our oldest attenders!). While the first notice board was designed to catch the eye of passers-by, the majority of attenders who joined, came by invitation.

All the early developments, as indeed, all the ongoing growth came as God worked through the fellowship of believers. What struck those who came into the church, and regularly commented on, was the particularly warm and vibrant sense of belonging together in the Lord.

The existence of the church was not due to any one man, though the presence of Dr Derek Copley, (seen here with Nancy), in the early days was a great help. He was then a university lecturer at Manchester and in his spare time gave the fellowship all the pastoral care he could.

In 1970 Derek moved to Moorlands Bible College as Principal. He was the first of four men who became part-time pastors while engaged in research at Manchester University, all who then moved on to significant lecturing and teaching ministries elsewhere.

Wayne Detzler (associated with an American Mission in Europe) settled in Heaton Moor and Wayne became the next pastor. Before and during his time in 1970-71 the church was considering the need for a basis of faith and a constitution.

The church took on a more formal structure in November 1971, when a Cuban/American, Moises Silva, became pastor. He was a graduate of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. A church constitution and formal membership procedure were agreed, and 42 people became members.

A student colleague of Moises Silva’s began to attend the church when he came to Manchester in 1972. Sydney Page had heard what had happened when his two predecessors had started coming to the church. He came ‘determined to give myself wholly to my studies’ and not to become over-involved in church work.’ After all, he had come to Britain to study in preparation for a ministry in the field of theological education and had already taken preliminary steps towards missionary service in Bolivia. However, the Lord had other plans and when in October 1972 the church approached him to become full time pastor, he accepted the call and served the church for four years.

From the beginning, the fellowship took seriously the fact that the Holy Spirit gives different gifts to believers. The church prayed earnestly for the ability to discern these and encourage each member to put them to use.

The church has greatly valued pastoral gifts and believed that God has given precedence to preaching the Word of God for the building up of His people. Sydney Page’s biblical preaching was both thorough and practical, but other members with the appropriate gifts shared the pulpit ministry from time to time. They also worked together in the visitation of members.

The church also appreciated other gifts such as teaching, administration, caring, giving and hospitality. Indeed, hospitality has been a feature of the church. It was not a case of folk inviting just those who would invite them back. Some members made a real effort to invite those who are lonely or in any kind of spiritual, physical or other need. For the student attenders, the meals were not only appreciated but also modelled to them, what was a Christian home.

Under the leadership of Sydney Page, the church moved from an Executive Committee to appointing elders and deacons, and the deacons oversaw a series of subcommittees to take care of various aspects of the work of the church. The sub-committees were all working groups with responsibilities allocated to them by the church and its leaders.

While these sub committees were the subject of much humour on many occasions, this structure meant that most of the members of the church were actively involved in some way in the day-to-day work of the church. This was felt to be important as from its commencement the church had desired that those who lead, should seek out and encourage the use of those gifts. The sub-committees gave expression to that aim and many God-given abilities came to light by their means.

A growing youth group and thriving children’s work was putting pressure on the facilities and accommodation, an encouraging sign, but what was to be done? The elders at the time were concerned that the church should not be a ‘just a happy fellowship of Christians’ but a living centre for evangelism, with a concern for the nurture and growth of young Christians to an active spiritual life.

It was clear that the time had come to really look for alternative premises. This became a challenge to the church to take another step of faith in committing to look for a site on which we could build something more suitable.

Over a few years, possible sites were examined but none proved feasible until a vacant plot on Green Lane became available – the 21st possibility that the church leaders had looked at. A local builder owned it, and had obtained permission for development, but for personal reasons he had not wanted either to build or sell. The church prayed and made the builder an offer which was accepted.

The challenge now was to raise the money and God was gracious and encouraging to the church. When an envelope was pushed through the letter box of the Forbes home one evening, and the notes were added up, they totalled £800 – ‘more £5 notes than we had ever seen’ – said Marian Forbes. [Equivalent to around £10,000 today], it was seen as a confirmation of God’s leading. With the gifts and the sale of half of the site to build the neighbouring flats, these enabled the construction to go ahead, and the new building, opened on schedule on October 12 1974.


October 12 1974 – Green Lane, Heaton Moor

Now the church could develop its activities, expanding the children’s work and developing a systematic programme of visitation.

John Wyatt had been involved in Hospital Radio work for some years and at Christmas 1976, through John’s contacts we were invited to ‘go live’ on Radio Manchester with our Christmas Family Service, with Syd leading the service.

Syd and Faith, returned to Canada in 1977, Syd being appointed as a lecturer at the Baptist College at Edmonton, Alberta.

The leadership of the church then rested in the hands of two elders – Sydney Diamond (left) and Hugh Cantley (right) . For over a year the church depended on ministry from its own members and with the help of men from other fellowships, especially Manchester City Mission. Meanwhile the elders guided the church in its search for a new Pastor.

Brian Maiden became the pastor in January 1979. He had previously worked with the IVF Students ministry in the north-west. His biblical expository ministry built on the foundations previously laid and the church continued to grow.

Under his leadership, the church put down firmer roots in the Heatons. In its outreach work, called Operation Evangel, the church sought to make Christ known through door-to-door visitation, using pamphlets written by the Pastor. In this and in other ways, the church members were encouraged to communicate the gospel to friends, neighbours, and relatives.  Evangelistic initiatives over the years included ‘meals evangelism’. Roger Carswell was invited to speak at the ‘Break Free’ mission. ‘Carols at Christmas’ quickly outgrew the church facilities and for a few years was held in the Savoy, the local cinema.

1988 saw another step of faith, when the church repeated the earlier action of Ivy Cottage Evangelical Church, by releasing a group of members to form a church plant in Heaton Chapel. For a number of years, the members of this church planting group remained members of HMEC, but at the AGM of 1994/5, the formal links were cut and the ‘plant’ became an independent church. This continued until 2020 as the Heaton Chapel Christian Community Church.

After eighteen years, Brian Maiden left HMEC in 1997 to take up the pastorate of Parr St. Evangelical Church in Kendal.

After another short period when the church depended on its members and visiting preachers, the church appointed Martin Rutty to join its leadership team as Pastor.

Martin and Joy had returned to the UK after serving in the Philippines with the Overseas Missionary Fellowship. They had a heart for evangelism and discipleship, particularly for those on the fringe of the church. Martin was attracted by the elder’s desire to develop team ministry, and the first decade of the 21stC, saw changes in the way the elders and deacons worked.

It was becoming increasingly clear that there was a real lack of Bible understanding in people showing interest in the Christian faith. With this in mind, we had introduced the Discipleship programme, whereby church members were encouraged to consider acting as 1:1 mentors, with enquirers or new Christians. The materials were written by church members, and gave anyone who completed them a good grounding in the basics of the Christian faith.

Another initiative that began during Martin’s time at HMEC were the fun days at Thornfield Park. The events were a good opportunity to bless the community and make the local community more aware of our activities.

This annual event was later shared with other local churches until they ended due to lack of support linked to increased requirements concerning health and safety issues, and a lack of an agreed vision of what the event was about.

In 2010 Martin shared the news that he had received a call to move to the south of England to pastor a Baptist church on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth.

Another year of ministerial support from older friends and some of our younger people coming back to preach ended in 2011 when Matt Thompson was invited to be Pastor.

Matt moved to Heaton Moor from Christ Church Central in Sheffield. At the time the church leadership was increasingly concerned about the lack of certain age groups at HMEC, and consequently began looking for someone to lead us with a focus towards reaching out to 20–35-year-olds, which had become a missing age group at the church.

John Cawsey was called to assist Matt in 2012 as an Associate Pastor. As a result of Matt’s contacts in the USA, for a few years we maintained a connection with a church in Charlottesville, and welcomed a couple of teams from the church to come to the UK to serve the church through short term placements while these students became more aware of church life and cultural changes in the UK.

Some early initiatives included an outreach focus with meetings at the Sports Club on Green Lane, and starting a second service on Sunday afternoons at 4pm.

This proved to be a very suitable time for families on the fringe of the church, and numbers began to grow. The disadvantage, was the pressure it put on church members to facilitate both morning and afternoon services.

So, yet another search began to look for an alternative place to meet. Jo Ball was appointed as a ministry apprentice, with a focus on assisting with church administration.

After much prayer, the church committed to seriously consider the possibility of a new build combined sports centre and church on the Peel Moat school site, then the cinema in Heaton Moor and when both options were closed to our further interest, our attention eventually turned to consider a move to Reddish. It would be to a unit in Houldsworth Mill, which could be rented, initially for five years. The owner was prepared to refurbish the facility to make it suitable for Sunday services and with more space for children’s activities than existed at Green Lane.


Emmanuel Community Church

The move to Houldsworth Mill meant we were no longer in Heaton Moor and our name, Heaton Moor Evangelical Church no longer seemed  appropriate. So, after inviting the church members to submit names, and reducing the choices to a short list ‘Emmanuel Community Church’ was chosen by the members.

While we maintained the church building on Green Lane for our community activities and occasional Sunday evening activities, our morning service was moved to the more spacious facilities in Reddish.


14th May 2015 Houldsworth Mill, Reddish

The first service held there in May, with Joyce Preston, our oldest member cutting the ribbon. The Lord was answering our prayers and the church under Matt’s ministry continued to grow, especially among younger adults and families.

But church growth as ever, brings its blessings and challenges. and in October 2016 Matt had concluded that he ‘was not the right man to lead ECC into its next stage of life’. Through ministering at ECC Matt had come to understand that his skill set is ‘far closer to that of a church pioneer than a stable church builder.’ The growing variety of Christians from different roots was a challenge and he concluded it was right to resign as he sought what was to be the next stage in ministry for him. John Cawsey continued in his role until summer 2017.

Again, an interregnum saw members of the church stepping up in all the areas of the work as well as the support by old and new friends to preach for us. This was a blessing as some of our ex ‘young people’ who were themselves now in the ministry came to preach, including Chris Tapp and David Crofts.

It was a year of mixed feelings. We were disappointed as some members left and we were blessed as other people visited and stayed. A young couple who came and stayed, began to serve the church and when Sam Pilgrim and Anna shared their thoughts for the future – that Sam sensed a call to full time church ministry, the elders accepted the responsibility to work with Sam to help him train and fully experience church work, so Sam and Anna would know that this was the direction for them and ECC would be able to confirm that decision and send them with our blessing. Sam was appointed as a Trainee Pastor.

In the meantime, the elders search for a new pastor, concluded with a call to Jamie Kidd, then ministering in Pinner Baptist Church. Jamie, Amy and family moved to Stockport in 2018.

Jamie, spent time getting to know us and had begun to share his thoughts with the elders and develop some of these ideas, when, towards the end of 2019 a new virus – covid had its impact on ECC, the country and the world.

Forward planning was put on hold as week-by-week planning in terms of what was permitted by the government became the norm. But more about this at the end.

Through 2021 and 2022 the restrictions on church life were eased and by early summer things were back to normal but with some big issues to be resolved. The congregation at the Mill had grown and was often full, but with a backdrop of a familiar story, the number of children were growing and again we faced the challenge on how to cope with this growth. The leadership were conscious that one of our aims was to plant another fellowship. Was now the time to address this question as well?

A questionnaire was produced for the members, and the most significant question was to ascertain how many members would be interested in returning to a ‘church plant’ back in the Heatons. The building at Green Lane was still heavily used throughout the week but with the noticeable reality that the doors were shut on Sundays. The result of the questionnaire indicated that there were sufficient numbers for the elders to give serious thought and prayer, to begin regular services at Green Lane. But what were the implications for such a reality? Evening services, with communion had commenced earlier in the year once a month, but a monthly evening service did not put too much of a strain on facilitating this. What about once a week and when?

The implications of such a decision were now unexpectantly further complicated when Jamie shared with the elders that he was considering a move. The summer holiday season was upon us and the elders believed he was going to continue at ECC, with the One Church on two sites moving towards two church fellowships but working together to share facilities and ministries. But even this was not to be when Jamie indicated to the elders and by a letter to the church that he and his family would be leaving at a date during the coming months as he was considering a move which was to be to a church in Honolulu, in Hawaii.

So, the immediate reality facing the elders was a decision regarding a church plant and with no senior pastor to guide the church. Approaching Christmas, a date was shared with the church as to when Jamie and the family would leave.

Chris Johnson, ECC’s evangelist was able to lay aside some of his work and took on the task of being an ‘interim’ pastor This was a blessing to the church as it brought stability to what can be a very unsettling period.

The church continued to grow and rather than shut down the planning that was going on regarding the development of a Green Lane congregation, Chris and the elders prayerfully came to a decision to go forward carefully, with a morning service once a month. A wise decision that would allow a new pastor (depending when they would arrive) to work with what was the aspiration of the vision statement to plant a church, but working with the elders, being able to take time to work out the best way to achieve this.

In the meantime, the elders and Trustee deacons set about the process of seeking a new pastor, and God answered our prayers. We received an expression of interest from Adam Bradley, currently ministering in Great Yarmouth. A visit from Adam and his family to the church was followed by his willingness to accept the call to Emmanuel Community Church.

Adam and family joined us in September, and was formally welcomed into his new calling at a service at the Mill on 8th October 2023

While the focus so far has been on growth, buildings, pastors and staff changes, a glimpse into some aspects of the work of the church over the years will help to present a fuller picture.


Missionary activity, later Global Vision

From its beginning, the church took a decision to allocate 10% of giving to mission activities, and encouraging prayer for the work among Chinese residents in the UK through the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission (COCM) and work in the Muslim world. After some visits to the church a decision was taken to support Pauline Wainwright, who was serving with the European Christian Mission (ECM) in Austria.

In October 1974, Liz Wyatt became the first missionary supported by the church to work with AIM. Since then, she has been followed by others, including Doug and Carolyn Jones working in Algeria, Jim and Megan Patterson with Tear Fund and later with AIM in Benin, Miriam Webb in Tanzania, Andrew Street in Kenya, Pauline McKendrick, in the UK (with Covenanters) and later at Chengelo School in Zambia, Terry and Wilma Flannigan (CEF) and Trevor and Cheryl Howard (AJCM).

Some of the young people went on varying lengths of short-term placements, including Rachel Stout to Pokhara in Nepal, Beth Stout (with Careforce and British Youth for Christ at Kenilworth), Liz Tapp (UCCF) and Kathy Hilditch and Ellen Watkins served on the Operation Mobilisation ships. Neil Cowen went with OM to Nepal, Euan Cowen with OM to Greece and David Cowen on placements with Christians in Sport.

The importance of mission remained and the missionary committee set about two years of preliminary work, which led to the church accepting a document setting out guidelines to lead the church into more active involvement in the call, training, sending out and support of missionaries. The approach of many mission organisations was changing and this led the church to re-look at our understanding of mission in the early 21st century, and among the more recent changes, our approach to mission now has a greater emphasis on the calling that each one of us has to be ‘missionaries’ wherever God has put us.

Missions were also changing in line with the changes in cultures and with guidance from Martin Rutty the Mission Committee relooked at our planning of mission programmes, moving away from talks from retired or missionaries on furlough and moving to a model based on short term, medium term, and long-term support. This meant we would choose some missions to support for a project for a fixed time while long-term support would go to members of the church or friends of the church. We recognised that we had a significant responsibility as a sending church to support them on the mission field and when returning.


Children’s Church and Youth Work

Children’s church was the name given to the children’s work in the church.

It was started when the church began and was led for many years by Stuart Forbes. The numbers of children have ebbed and flowed over the years rising again from 2012, to become a major feature of ECC.

The youth work had often been conflicted between two emphases – towards outreach through the Crusaders and towards support and ministry to the young people of the church.

The national Crusaders work was re-branded as Urban Saints, at a time when the church was seeking to integrate the young people of the church together with the young people who attended the Urban Saints activities.

In 2008 the church appointed Carron Hopwood as Children’s & Youth Worker. Since Carron left, this responsibility was carried on by Ron Stout and a team.


Parents and toddlers 

The present parents and toddlers work, itself a long-established outreach to the community has long roots, going back to a ‘pram club’ started by some mini-Crusader mothers before the church began. For some thirty years it was run by teams of mums and took a major step forward when the church members invited Sue Stout, who has been involved in the Mums and Toddlers work for many years to be a part time Family worker, to develop the links with fringe families. After many years leading this work Sue handed over the responsibility, in September 2019 to Katie Howson.

Simply Men

The men’s activity has had a varied programme over the years. Meals and the annual 10 pin bowling being the most popular.

But other events have included speakers from football, and rugby league, cricket matches, a climbing wall and golf and walks.



During Martin’s time as Pastor, some moves were initiated to develop a work with our senior members, and Trevor Howard and Barry Clark were the pioneers of this work. It became a wider work as regular attenders joined from other churches in the Heatons. It has continued to the present under the leadership of Andy Brown. This group at Heaton Chapel Station are wondering who was leading, where they were going and what time is the meal!


Building changes

There were very few years when building issues didn’t force themselves on to the leadership agenda. The Green Lane building that seemed so fit-for-purpose when designed and built has since seen its fair share of changes. It was designed as a dual-purpose building for a fellowship of about 100, but the rear section was soon in use as the congregation grew, and classroom space was soon lacking.

Classrooms and a storeroom have been added to the original building as have a toilet for the disabled and a refurbished kitchen. But even with these improvements the limitations of the existing building became increasingly obvious, and led to the leadership considering a variety of alternative building plans mentioned earlier.

By 2015 a decision could not be put off any longer, and the move to Houldsworth Mill, on the border between Heaton Chapel and Reddish, while maintaining the site at Green Lane became a reality.

The refurbishment of a unit in Houldsworth Mill allowed us to widen our facilities. A worship area accommodating around 200 people, four classrooms and a corporate area for the children were a real bonus as the numbers of children were growing and have continued to grow to the present. A creche room and well-equipped kitchen enables the church to serve refreshments after the services and for other functions.


House-parties and socials                

Another group of memories of HMEC and ECC have been socials at Green Lane and at house parties, at Heightside, Kimnel Hall, Cloverley Hall, and most recently, in 2019 at Swanwick, Derbyshire.

These times have always been great opportunities to get to know other members of the church, and reveal the creativity of the planning teams and the gifts of church members!

With the arrival of Jamie Kidd, and a step of faith by the church to direct more of our budget towards outreach we began what has become a regular event – so far! – a Fun Day on Houldsworth Park. An afternoon of inflatables, donkey rides, ice creams and drinks as a gift to the local community. Church planting into a new area that has had little evangelical witness for many decades is a challenging task. ‘Who are we?’  as far as Reddish folk are concerned. But as each year and event passes more people indicate on the day that they came last year, that they very much appreciate what we do, that they have visited the church or come to the Little Seeds group or to the monthly Dads and kids on Saturdays.

And then what a time the two years between 2020-22 would be!  Just four months after the 50th Anniversary service Oct 2019, churches across the UK were coming to terms with the unthinkable – being closed due to the Covid lockdown.

At ECC, the elders and deacons worked hard to enable the church to continue its work under the government restrictions. Sunday morning services continued, on-line at first and later meeting at safe distances

together with live streaming of the services for those who could not attend.

Other initiatives included the calling of Chris Johnson to the role of an evangelist. This was a remarkable blessing as the elders had been prayerfully considering this possibility when some church members approached Jamie and indicated that they believed they should gift the church financially for four years, to call an evangelist.

Then at an FIEC Conference it was announced that monies were being made available to help churches develop their women’s work and an application was accepted and provided finance for a part-time role for Dot Ingram to develop this role over two years.

This brief history of the life of the church was intended to inform members of the story of HMEC bringing us up to the service in October 2019 to celebrate the beginning of our 50th year, and the Power Point Presentation ended with a reminder that we face a task unfinished …

Well, the consequent impact of covid and more staff changes are also part of the ongoing story which is updated to Autumn 2023.

That the future is known only to God is unarguable, but in the mean-time, our task is to faithfully continue, building on the foundations that have been laid, adapting to meet the needs of a fast-changing world but where one thing does not change – the necessity for people to be ‘born again’.

To share this message on the ‘Moor’, and in the ‘Heatons’ was the vision of the pioneers back in 1969. That still stands as our present aim, although now enlarged to include the forgotten ‘Heaton Reddish’, and beyond – to know Jesus and make Him known, and we do this in faith.


For the Anniversary,

Sydney and Faith wrote – “We have many fond memories of our time in Heaton Moor.  One of the things we appreciated about the congregation in those early days was how warmly we were received.  I hope and pray that the wonderful hospitality shown to us will continue to characterize the church.  In Romans 12:10-13, Paul writes, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. That was a lived reality back in the 1970s, and I pray that it will continue to be so as the church moves forward.”

And Martin & Joy sent their greetings – Mark 1:17-18 “Come follow me”, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. As you look back and rejoice over what God has done in and through you, we pray that the faithful foundation will continue to be built on as you look to follow Jesus and reach out to those around you.             

With those that come, there are those that go and in August 2021 Sam Pilgrim and family left us after five years at ECC, called to join the leadership team ministering to Woodlands Church, Derby.

In the meantime, the church ‘Fundays’, in the summer and at Christmas are our gift to the local community. Thanks to social media, the message gets around and people have expressed their thanks and amazement at the selection of activities, refreshments which are part of these events.

The contribution social media can make was really brought home at the recent ‘Light Party,’ our alternative to Halloween, when catering for about 50 children, 90 children came and with adults the numbers there were around 150, many coming into the building for the first time.

To God be the glory,

Great things He has done



And, as Jamie Kidd would say towards the end of his sermons, we’re coming in to land now. For me coming in to land on this task is a time to say thanks. Much of the early information came from notes and pictures left by Stuart Forbes, and passed to me by Marian. Thanks to Graham and Judith Crofts for their help with proof reading, ideas, and layout advice, especially at times when I was coming to a stop! There are thanks too, to many people who have passed pictures to me over the years which have come in very useful, and finally thanks to everybody who have contributed in any way at HMEC / ECC, especially those who have been faithful in prayer and the quiet encouragers, who have been there through the highs and lows. To have been part of a church that came together and stepped out in faith just at the time that I was going to return to South Wales, and to have been part of the journey ever since has been a great privilege.

WRE June 2022