Extension and Advance.

An important date in the life of the Church was 1945, when the Church became self-supporting. Up to this time it had been receiving grants from the Baptist Union to help pay the salary of the Minister. The decision to do without that help, and draw no longer from the Sustentation Fund, was a big one. It was an act of faith that has been amply rewarded. Although never having funds to spare, the Church has always since been able to pay its way. Costs have increased enormously, but by faith and work, and self-denial the people have rallied round, and made sure that the Treasurer could balance his books at each year end.

In November of this year, a unanimous call to the Pastorate was given to Mr. H. F. Lorkin, of London. He began his ministry in 1946 and quickly settled in to the task that lay ahead, especially the plans for building extension. As early as 1902 there had been talk of the need to enlarge the premises, but nothing had been done. Now, 44 years later, when many churches around were complaining of premises too spacious for modern needs, with rooms and halls lying empty and unused, it was a very encouraging sign that Mount Zion wanted to extend. Men were returning from the forces, and the need of a hall for socials, concerts, etc. as well as for the needs of the expanding Sunday School, was felt acutely. Rev. H. F. Lorkin, with his organising ability and persuasive powers, and the band of willing and earnest workers around him, got things moving so that by November 1947, the dream of 1902 had become a reality.

The building of the New Hall is the story of an achievement of which Edgeside is justly proud. After a lot of preliminary negotiations, early one Saturday morning in April, 1947, a car full of deacons took a journey right across to Norwich, and returned, tired out but triumphant on the Sunday, with the news that they had seen a pre-fabricated building which would just suit the purpose. They were told that it would take three full lorry loads to transport it to Rossendale, but the shrewd Northerners said they were sure it could all be loaded on one lorry, if the lorry was large enough. The complete building did, in fact, all arrive in one load—at a third of the price first quoted for transport!

Then followed weeks of feverish activity. Every able-bodied man lent a hand, digging out the side of the hill so that concrete foundations could be laid, helping with the erection of the sections, puzzling over plans, every night and all day Saturday it went on for four months. A neighbour who lived in one of the houses opposite, seeing all this activity, came across to offer a hand. His offer was gladly accepted, especially when it was found that he could turn his hand to any job and make a success of it, whether it was bricklaying, joinery, plumbing or painting. This handyman, Mr. Fred Lippiatt is, with his wife, still rendering invaluable service as our present caretakers.

The opening of the New Hall took place on November 31st, 1947. The ceremony was preceded by a thanksgiving service, led by the Pastor, Rev. H. F. Lorkin, at which the Rev. E. D. Evans who had first conceived the enterprise, and Rev. J. Walmsley, secretary of the Bury and Rossendale Association of Baptist Churches, were the speakers. The opening was performed by Mr. Harry W. Ashworth, a former Sunday School Secretary, whose father, J. W. Ashworth, had given the land many years ago on which the hall was built. The total cost of the building was £1,200—£100 more than the actual Chapel had cost to complete in 1865 ! The cost would have been considerably greater if it had not been for the voluntary labour of members of the congregation. Behind the actual building of the hall lay the efforts of the Building and Renovation Committee under its Chairman, Mr. George Hardman. In the past ten years this committee has been instrumental in raising upwards of £1,700. In 1949 the Chapel was renovated and re-decorated at a cost of £500. The contractor agreed to be paid in instalments of £100 a year for five years, but in two years, thanks to this committee and the team spirit of every member of the church, the whole amount had been paid.

As a memorial to those who had served in World War II, an electric clock was subscribed for and erected in the chapel. A plaque later placed in the vestibule carries the names of two members of the Church and Sunday School who lost their lives on active service.

They were :— Sydney Lancaster & Kenneth A. Wlliamson

We have much to thank God for that the 1939-45 War did not exact a heavier toll of life at Edgeside, that so many men were able to return home unscathed, and that the heavy bombing raids which so many towns suffered never came to Rossendale.

This same year, 1947, the Edgeside Baptist Amateurs, soon to be widely known as the E.B.A. was formed. This organisation was formed to assist any of the church organisations in the production of concerts and entertain­ments generally, and to raise money thereby for church funds. They quickly established a reputation for good productions and have over the years raised considerable sums of money for the church, as well as providing over­sight of the staging equipment in the Hall.

Mention must be made also of the Sunday Circle, commenced in 1946 by Mr. Lorkin as an after-service Young People's Fellowship. Under the guidance of Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Hardman the Sunday Circle has not only helped to keep the young folk together, but it has contributed to the life of the church in various ways. The side door leading from the Chapel into the Hall was paid for by the young people, and later they presented a number of new hymn tune books to the choir.

Throughout the years the Christian Endeavour Society has played its part in the life of the church. Being composed of young people it is only natural that it should flourish then wane from time to time. For as one generation of young people grew up and grew too old for the C.E., it had to begin again with the next generation. At the present time both junior and young people's Endeavour Societies are flourishing.

With the widening of the scope of activities consequent on the opening of the hall, it was necessary to apportion the activities of each night in the week to prevent over­lapping. The adhering to this church rule of certain kinds of activities on certain nights has saved a. lot of confusion. Also in this year of beginnings, a meeting for young mothers was inaugurated, and later, in June, a Fabric Committee was formed, to keep a check on the state of the church property and be responsible for necessary repairs.

From the very commencement of the Church, the Sunday School has been in existence, and the reason why little has been directly said in this history about the school is simply because it has always been an integral part of the Church. To speak of the Church, is to speak also of the Sunday School. There were so many personalities connected with this side of the work that in mentioning them, some names are bound to be left out. But many can remember among outstanding superintendents who served for long periods, Mr. Sellers, Mr. L. H. Howarth, Mr. J. Warrington, Mr. A. W. Booker, Mr. W. E. Hardman, Mr J. E. Driver and Mr. W. Schofield. The Sunday School is very pleased that this Centenary Year, 1953, the present Superintendent, Mrs. R. Holt, has also been chosen as President of the Rossendale S.S. Union. Edgeside has taken a leading place among the Rossendale Sunday Schools in the annual Scripture Examination. The School has won first place three times and has held the second place for the last three years. The Primary department started about 1924 and continues to be both well-attended and progressive. Two teachers, Mr. J. Sutcliffe and Mr. Arthur Pickup have received the N.S.S.U. diploma for 50 years' service to the Sunday School, and several have received the diploma for 25 years.

In February, 1948, Arthur Pickup, of Burnley Road, Waterfoot, and Joe Sutcliffe were each made life deacons. The names of these two stalwarts along with that of Josiah Gregory, have appeared many times in the records of the Church and Sunday School, and all three have done a grand job of work for the Kingdom of God at Edgeside. At this church meeting it was decided to start the Old Folk's Treat again.

From the earliest days of the church, an Old Folk's Breakfast was given every New Year's morning. The records of this go back to at least 1870, and some stirring scenes were witnessed at this annual event. The chapel folk were up early that morning preparing for their many guests who came from the surrounding district. The lists of food ordered for these occasions read like a. fairy tale in these days. Throughout the first War the breakfast was maintained, but with the difficuties of rationing in World War II, it had to be dropped. The Old Folk's Treat was supported by voluntary subscriptions and a fund had been built up over the years. It was decided to continue to hold this event, not now on New Year's Day but in the autumn, as long as the fund lasted. From 1948 onwards the Old Folk's Tea and Concert has once more become a feature of Edgeside, and last year, 1952, the church members decided that a subscription list should again be opened so that this effort may continue to be an annual event.

Sunday, July 22, 1951, marked the close of Mr. Lorkin's ministry which had been a memorable one for Edgeside. During those five years forty-two members were added to the church, most of them by baptism. There had been advance in every department of the Church and Sunday School. Both Mr. Lorkin and Mrs. Lorkin will always have a warm place in the hearts of the people of Edgeside. Mr. Lorkin had received an invitation to the Pastorate of Leamington Road Baptist Church, Blackburn, and thither they went in the summer of 1951.

Two months later the Church gave a unanimous call to the Pastorate to Mr. A. B. Davey, of Slough, Bucks. After eleven years as an officer in the Salvation Army, Mr. Davey's personal convictions led him to seek baptism and give himself to the Baptist cause. His ministry began in October 1951, and the story of Mount Zion, Edgeside, from this time onward is present-day fact, and not yet become history. This will be left to future historians to record!

On reading through this brief history, one cannot help but notice that the principle characters in the story are men. But such an account cannot close without paying tribute to these womenfolk whose self-sacrifice and devotion through­out the years is written between every line, and whose work, often " behind the scenes", has contributed so much to the glorious history of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Edgeside."

Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . ." (Heb. 12: I, 2).