Welcome to Christ Church Longridge!
Christ Church is a properly constituted ‘Local Ecumenical Partnership’ and is the only Free Church in the town. The former Methodist and United Reformed chapels are located within a few yards of each other facing on to the main street (Berry Lane). Approximately 20 years ago the two churches had very similar membership numbers and attendance and neither had a minister resident in the town, each sharing their minister with small churches in Preston. During holiday periods we began to share services using the premises alternately.
The Methodist chapel was small and had a growing congregation. There was a building fund but no space to expand on the same site. The URC premises was large but required a new roof and had substantial dilapidated premises to the rear.
A small working group was established to discuss the possibilities of coming together in one suite of premises. The plan involved selling the Methodist chapel and the dilapidated Congregational school premises for building land and using the money to completely refurbish the remaining URC premises. A Constitution was adopted combining features of both denominations and Christ Church came into being in 1989.
The Church Council members are recognized as Elders. A combined Church Council/Church Meeting takes place every two months and takes the place of URC Elders Meeting, Church Meeting and Methodist Church Council with voting limited to Council members if this is legally required (eg for certain Methodist purposes).
Pastoral matters are dealt with by a Pastoral Committee comprising a team of Pastoral Visitors, most but not all of whom are Council Members/Elders. The Pastoral Secretary acts as pastoral visitor to the Pastoral Visitors. The pastoral lists comprise both members and adherents and are fully integrated. The church is also a constituent part of the Preston Methodist Circuit and the Lancashire URC District Council.
The constitution requires an alternating ministry with each denomination taking responsibility for approximately 8 years. The first minister came from the URC and the second from the Methodist Church and each was ‘Recognised and Regarded’ by the other denomination.