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St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall
Acre Mill Baptist Church, Stacksteads
Acre Mill Baptist Church
Hammond Avenue, Stacksteads

Some members of Zion Baptist Chapel, Bacup had raised concern that there was no Baptist church between Bacup and Waterbarn, a distance of about two miles and populated by several thousand people. A few of the members of Zion decided to pioneer the opening of a Sunday School and a site was chosen, money raised and in December 1870 the corner stone of the new chapel was laid by Samuel Howarth of Rook Hill.

A series of services were started on Wednesday 18th October 1871 at Zion Baptist Chapel, Bacup in connection with the opening of the Acre Mill School Chapel. These service continued until Saturday 29th October with the official opening service taking place on Sunday 22nd October. The building cost about £1,000, of which £400 had been raised by the opening service and another £40 was raised at the opening.

The chapel continued under the guidance of Zion church until in January 1889 when the members of Acre Mill sent a letter to the mother church requesting they be formed into an independent and separate church. Zion chapel agreed to this request and the first meeting of the independent church was held on 30th March 1889 and the first pastor, the Reverend C. Roberts to up his duties in May 1889.

The Reverend Roberts stayed as pastor three years. Then over the next two and half years the church was without a minister and the pulpit was occupied by laymen and students from Manchester and Rawdon. The Reverend G. Charlesworth of Masham, Yorkshire was appointed in September 1894 and took up his duties on 6th January 1895. With the arrival of Reverend Charlesworth the spiritual well being of the church and it's finances were greatly improved to such an extent that by April 1896 it was decided to provide a separate building for the Sunday School and to renovate the chapel and to furnish it with pews. The "Iron School" which was constructed of corrugated iron sheeting on an iron framework cost of £573, leaving a grand surplus on the £674 which had been raised through various functions. The school was opened on Saturday 18th December 1897. The surplus money from the school was put towards the renovation costs of the chapel, which appear to have been about twice the original estimate of £567. The re-opening service took place on 24th January 1899.

In 1904 the Reverend Charlesworth left Acre Mill and between 1905 and 1913 the church was once again without a pastor. In April 1913 the Reverend S. J. Wilson took up his duties as pastor but only stayed until 1915. Once again the church was without a pastor for a long period until the Reverend R. V. Tate was appointed and stayed until March 1926. Three more years passed without a pastor and the Reverend Tate was invited to rejoin the church in 1929 but it appears he was unable to accept the offer, for in November of that year the Reverend D. G. Owen of Millom in Cumberland became the minister and he stayed until 1935. Again the church was without a permanent pastor, this time until 1944 and like previous vacancies the church relied on layer preachers and students from local Colleges and for for a period of ten months in 1937-38 a temporary minister, Sister Nellie Lewis.

In 1943 it was decided to approach Ebenezer Baptist Church with the object of arranging a joint pastorate. As a result the Reverend J. A. Jones of Cardiff was appointed pastor of both church and he remained from September 1944 until December 1947. After the departure of Reverend Jones the church was without a pastor until 1958 when the Reverend O. T. Morgan became joint pastor with Sion Baptist Church, Higher Cloughfold and he remained until 1961. In May 1962 the Reverend T. W. Stobart was inducted as jointed minister of Acre Mill and Sion Baptist churches. The Sunday School went through a major rebuild in 1964 with the corrugate iron panels being replace with rustless materials on the outside and extensively modernised on the inside at a cost of almost £5,000. The building was re-opened in May 1964. The Reverend Stobart left Acre Mill in 1969 to take up a post in Essex.

The above information was obtained from the 1871 - 1971 Centenary handbook.

Main photograph courtesy of Acre Mill Baptist Church.

Click on image to enlarge

Acre Mill Baptist Church - War Memorial