Birchwood Community Church

Birchwood Community Church began as a church plant in 1983 to serve the new town district in Warrington. It was launched under the umbrella of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) and led by pastor Huw Williams. It started by meeting in homes and within a short time moved on to the "Upper Room" (!) in the community building at Parkers Farm. It grew from a small fellowship into Birchwood Evangelical Church.

 In 1987 Huw Williams left Birchwood and for one year the Church was without a pastor. At this point the Church made contact with a mission organisation from North America, the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). Agreement was reached that the C&MA would provide a North American pastor for seven years, with the Church contributing monthly to the work of the C&MA in Britain but not giving financial support to the pastor.

John Croston was the first American pastor under this arrangement. He pastored the Church for one year from 1989 to 1990. Mitch Schultz, also American, took over the leadership in 1992 and remained for six years. During Mitch's time the Church relocated in a single room community building belonging to Birchwood Community High School. Within a year the Church had grown to such a point that meeting here was no longer practical. Since then the main Church has been meeting in the main building of the high school, which has given sufficient space for worship services as well as children's activities.

For a short period after Mitch's departure, an Associate Pastor, Andrew Bird, led the Church. Then Terry Martin became pastor in November 2000, moving on in 2004. During Terry's pastorate the Church celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Since that time the Church has been operating on the basis of "all member ministry", in which everyone has the opportunity to use their own skills in service to the Lord, each other and the community.

In 2006 the Church set up Gorse Covert Community Church, offering a slightly different style of worship for Sunday evenings. This ministry closed in December 2010 in order to allow us to focus on the Encounter Centre (see below).

The church became a registered charity in 2008 and became known as Birchwood Community Church in October 2008. In November of the same year we moved our morning worship service to a new temporary location, Spencer House.

In April 2009, following the signing of a lease on the premises formerly occupied by the Silver Birch pub and significant refurbishment, we were able to move into a permanent home which we have called the Encounter Centre. This represents a big step of faith on the part of the members and is now rapidly creating stronger links with the community of Birchwood and the surrounding area. The opening of Cafe Encounter in June 2010 marked the centrepiece of the Encounter facilities and has helped to link ministries together.

 

Cafe Encountercustomers queuing at the Cafe Encounter