Brackenhall United Reformed Church (URC) is located inside the community centre and run weekly services as well as help run some of the groups and activities the community centre offers.
Services are held every sunday between 2.00pm and 4.00pm.
At the end of each service coffee and biscuits are available in the schoolroom.
|Secretary:||Mr. Barry Simmons|
|Treasurer:||Miss Joan Mallison|
|Pulpit Supply Secretary:||Miss Margaret Lees|
To visit Brackenhall URC’s website, click here.
Our Church was opened in August 1939 on a newly built council estate on green fields just out of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, England. The estate was built to alleviate overcrowding in other parts of Huddersfield. The church was built from funds generated from the sale of the Ramsden Street Congregational Church to the council which used the land for the present library building. From the beginning the church had a struggle to establish itself even though it was, as now, the only non-conformist church on the estate. Because the church had been planted and its initial years were during the war and the immediate post war period, it was difficult for it to get on a strong financial footing to enable it to establish itself. Despite this, there has always been a nucleus of willing workers who have worked hard to keep the church going and, what is more, were determined to serve the community through the church.
In the early 1980′s the church members were finding it hard to keep up with the demands that the building was making on them and which took up time that would have been better used in mission to the community. At that time the church was fortunate in that the local council was looking for somewhere on the estate to run as a community centre and our building was the obvious alternative to building a new purpose-built community centre. An agreement was therefore reached whereby the church building became the community centre, with the church having their own sanctuary, use of the other rooms as and when needed and retaining ownership of the building.
Since then, the church has been fortunate to have ministry and a Church Related Community Worker whose work on the estate, especially among the children, young people and older residents, has proved to have been an important and inspired move both for the church and the council.
Throughout its short history, the church has been weakened at times due to the movement of residents from the estate, but in time, has always been able to reclaim numbers from those coming into the empty houses on the estate. In the early/mid nineties, however, the council started moving people out of the estate and leaving the vacated houses boarded up and empty. This was not only devastating and demoralising for the church, but also the community, especially when it was announced that most of the estate was to be demolished and a developer was to come in and build new houses. All this was to be around the area of our church and, as the agreement with the council for the community centre was soon to come to an end, we would be left with a tired looking 1930′s brick building among an estate of new houses.
As the new houses are being built and new people moving in, the church is now reaching out to this new community using the strong and firm base established in the past. We are working with the Huddersfield and Halifax District and the Yorkshire Synod of the United Reformed Church, and other agencies, to see if the present building can be replaced by a new community building which would be more suited to present day requirements, in which our church would still have a presence and could continue to worship and serve God and the community. The people of Brackenhall have a lot to offer. They have traditionally had a strong bond between each other, much care, and a willingness to help themselves and this is being built on together with the new people joining the estate. There are regular activities organised by local people to improve local life and a number of partnerships with agencies working in the area. The church is at the moment, and is determined to remain, actively involved with many of these activities.
Our church has ten members, three of whom are serving elders. All the members live within one mile of the church, three are in the age range 25-45, two are in the age range 46-65, and five are over 65. We also have a number of adherents. Although we are few in number, our weekly services attract a number of young people and their needs are catered for in our Junior Church except on the third Sunday of each month when we normally hold a Family Service in which the young people take part. For special services which involve the Pilots or Boys’ Brigade a good number of parents and friends support them which means that sometimes we have to hold those services in the main hall of the building.
Young Peoples Activities
Although our church has a small membership, high on its list of priorities has been its involvement with young people. A Boys’ Brigade Company was started as early as 1947 and has continued to be a part of the church to the present day. There is a Pilot Company which works mainly with girls and attracts a good number. We also have a Sunday evening Youth Group. These groups cater for approximately 45 young people aged between 5 and 19 years of age. All the groups involved, with the exception of the Sunday Evening Youth Group, attend some form of worship throughout the week. The Youth Group was set up to attract young people with little or no church connection and this it has done, giving the young people on the estate somewhere to go on Sunday evenings. Activities throughout the year consist of: the Annual Church Camp, Weekend Holidays, Annual Show, helping with the Christmas dinner for the disabled, F.U.R.Y events, Boys’ Brigade training weekends and a Playscheme.
Our services are held weekly in the afternoon with the children going out to their own age classes. Communion is celebrated once a month (normally the first Sunday) and every third Sunday in the month our service is normally taken by our Interim Moderator and is a full family service with the children staying in and being involved in the service. This service always follows the Roots theme which is the scheme followed in Junior Church. Half of all services are lay-led. The hymn books we use are Rejoice & Sing and Mission Praise. Special services are held throughout the year and these include N.C.E.C. presentations, Boys’ Brigade and Pilots’ dedication and enrolment service, Harvest Festival, Sunday School Prize giving, as well as the traditional Christian celebrations.
Since the partnership with Kirklees Metropolitan Council, (sharing the church building) the church has worked continuously within the community. The church has five members on the Community Centre Management Committee. Members have been responsible for the setting up of a disabled people’s project, with Disability Services and Community Development Officers. Members of the church, as part of the residents association, are in consultation and discussion with the Council youth workers looking at setting up activities for young people within the estate. We help to run a Stay and Play group for the under 5′s, a fruit and vegetable co-operative and are also hoping to be involved in setting up a community cafe.