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St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall
Weir Baptist Church
Weir Baptist Church formerly Ebenezer
Baptist (Doals) Burnley Road, Weir

The Baptist church at Doals came about because Ebenezer, Bacup started holding meetings in the district as a convenience to it's members and in 1860 the leaders at Ebenezer decided to ask the people of Deerplay Baptist church to join them in building a meeting house in the neighbourhood. When no reply was received from Deerplay responsibility was borne entirely by Ebenezer and work commenced on the building on 11th April 1861.

The new chapel was opened on the 18th and 20th of April 1862. with seating for 300 in the main room and another 50 in the gallery. The total cost of the chapel was about £1,100 and the whole amount had been repaid by March 1873. The first minister was Mr Isaac Brown from Salterforth near Colne. Addition were made in 1881 with a new meeting room, classroom, tearoom and a new heating system at a cost of £486.

The church became independent from the mother church at Bacup on the 30th November 1867, when forty-eight of it's members requested in a letter to be dismissed from Bacup so that they could achieve their objective of acquiring their minister.

By 1911 the church had 125 members but like a lot of churches, two World Wars took their toll on the congregation and by 1962 the number was down to 62.

In the late 1980's there was a revival in the fortunes of the church. With the departure of the Rev. David Jackson to do missionary work in Brazil, Mr Keith Nixon, a local man was asked to take over as pastor. He was a popular minister and attracted a lot of newcomers but this caused the church to split into two congregations who did not mix. With the newer and younger people becoming a majority the old trustees were asked to stand down and make way for the young ones. At a meeting of the new members it was decided to take out all the pews, remove the pulpit and box in the old organ. However the opposition this change made Mr Nixon unhappy and he left to take up a pastorate in Scotland, and about this time other members left as well. By 1993 the attendance at morning service was just 5 people, and 12 in the afternoon. It was also at this time that the building was declared unsafe and with all the trustees having left it was handed over to the Baptist Association and then demolished.

For a short while the church met in the former Heald Methodist Church which was nearby, but the stay did not last long as this buildings was to be converted into a retirement home. Interest in the church was kept going with the help of local Baptist churches, and open air services were being held on the old church site. By 1998 ninety people were attending these services.

With such interest and commitment being shown the Reverend Neil Hepworth, a student pastor at Acre Mill Baptist Church, Stacksteads was called to the village. After his induction, services were held in Weir Hotel, the only public building in the available. As numbers increased alternative premises were sought and the main hall at Northern School was hired. Efforts were made to raise funds for a new building, and in 2007 work began on a church and community centre. After a few false starts the new Centre was officially opened on the 13th September 2008 by Janet Anderson MP. and Clr. Christine Gill, Mayor of Rossendale. The following day Reverend Hepworth held his last service when the Centre was consecrated. The Centre was commissioned on the 21st September 2008 and Steve Cobbin took over the Ministry.

Special thanks to the Reverend John Hargreaves for the photographs

Click on image to enlarge