Our History - The Building
The area where we live is the Murdishaw area of Runcorn. This is a New Town estate, first started in 1974. When the first phase was built, it was owned and run by the Runcorn New Town Development Corporation (The Devco). The first residents included some Christians who met in one of the builders' huts, sitting on upturned drums for their meetings. At that time, they saw their most important role as supporting other new residents as the estate grew.
As the congregation grew, and as local facilities developed, the church moved its Sunday meetings to Gorsewood Community School.
The National Church denominations had planned the provision of Churches throughout Runcorn New Town, and the Methodist Church had been given responsibility for the Murdishaw area. Using money set aside from the compulsory purchase of an old Methodist Chapel in the established Old Town area of Runcorn, the plans were made for the building of a dedicated Methodist Church in the heart of the Estate. Being the 1970's though inflation was eating into the value of the reserve, so we had to modify our plans.
A huge amount of fundraising was achieved (if you could open out our building you would find hundreds of names written on the backs of the bricks), and eventually, with the support of national charities including the Rank and Rowntree trusts, we had enough to put together to get our own building.
In 1979 the new building was opened and we had a home of our own.
Our History - The Ecumenical Partnership
The congregation has never been entirely Methodist, and it has always wanted to be an example of Christian Unity in action. Although denominational issues have never been an issue internally, we have had an up and down journey with regard to relations with local churches of other denominations. Having felt that we had a close relationship with the original congregation of the Anglican Parish church, the relationship with the newly appointed Vicar broke down, and no further development took place until 1983 when Rev Tim Barker was appointed. Tim found he shared a vision with the Methodist Minister Rev Malcolm Atherton that the two churches could work together in many areas. The openness of the Roman Catholic Priest Fr Bill Mellor was also welcomed, as was that of his congregation at St Martin de Porres Church opposite the Health Centre.
Through 1983 - 1984 the ministers and congregations considered how ecumenism could be brought about in our area of Runcorn, as a public commitment to stripping away the ties that hold us back in making God's word of universal impact.
In November 1984, members of both congregations met at a local church at Preston on the Hill and decided that we should seek to share in a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP) and formal Sharing Agreement between us. At the same time we would draw up a Covenant to work together between the three churches of Murdishaw, St Berteline's and St Martin's.
Formalising this wish took over 2 years, and on July 6th 1987 we signed both the Covenant and the Sharing Agreement.