St John the Evangelist, Crawshawbooth - Centenary Booklet 1892 - 1992


In 1979, the Rev. Richard Watson-Williams was appointed to jointly oversee the church and the Conference House. A new vicarage was built on the site of the stable block. He and his successor, the Rev. Ronald Watson, in 1983, were technically Vicars in charge of St. John's, the benefice actually being transferred to Goodshaw in 1984. At the time of writing, the Rev. Ralph Mallinson of Goodshaw, Area Dean of Rossendale, is officially Vicar of St. John's, its day to day running being in the hands of Rev. Gillian Swallow.

St. John's has therefore been able to celebrate its 90th and 100th anniversaries still as a Parish in its own right. In 1982, events included special services and an exhibition of memorabilia at the church, with a 'Lancashire Neet' at the Conservative Club, bringing interest from the last of the older families and many newcomers.

Crawshawbooth's links with Rawtenstall become physically more complete as the farmland to the east of Burnley Road gives way to new housing, bringing new families to the district. The old village at Goodshaw, too, has all but vanished; victim of a clearance scheme in the late 1960s, but the church and the old Baptist Chapel there are among the few survivors. With its foundations in an impressive past, the tower of St. John's presides over a vastly changed scene, but one that should be significant for its future.

The Church Ladies' Group meets regularly, although the Mothers' Union has joined with that of Goodshaw, yet there are flourishing groups of Venture Scouts, Ranger Scouts, Cubs and Beavers, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows.

On its 100th anniversary, St. John's can look back with pride at all aspects of its life. For the greater part of its existence, it has been attended, supported and loved by people who had a direct involvement in its creation, or were brought up on the memories of those who had taken part. The memorials have not been cold marble, but reminders; the carved names could be associated with known faces. It was that involvement and feeling of belonging to which Paton-Williams referred in his 1950's sermon.

Now St. John's must enter a new phase. It must stand as a building of great beauty handed down as the majority of churches are, from one generation to another, who knew them not. Fortunately, St. John's has remained remarkably intact, and none of the alterations has spoiled the fabric of the building or the fittings, or prevented its restoration. It can, and should, become a permanent reminder of the inspiration and example of people who wished to give of their best to the glory of God and the improvement of the quality of life in their community.

"For every house is builded of some man, but he that built all things is God"

Hebrews ch 3 v 4

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Reproduced by kind permission of St John's P.C.C. 1992