This was Tockholes near Blackburn but set in a village surrounded by moorland. Tockholes is a 1662 church and this was the beginning of their 350th anniversary celebrations for which they have a number of things planned over the next twelve months.
On the wall at the back of the church there is a complete list of ministers from 1662 onwards. But more than that the history of Christianity in that area can be traced back to the 8th century – there is an ancient preaching cross (the Tochus Stone) in the graveyard of the Parish Church. I led worship and the choir from the Darwen Churches Partnership took part. The congregation was made up of members of the United Reformed Church but there were also a good number of people from other churches in the Darwen Partnership.
The service was followed by tea at the local pub. The Church Secretary commented how her mother would have been horrified to find her entering the pub but this was the venue for a very successful Carol Service last Christmas and the links are being seen as a way of building relationships with the local business and the local community, surely a creative step forward and one which reflects Jesus’ way of meeting people where they feel at home.