Leyland Baptist Church congreation, circa. 1965

Leyland Baptist Church 1965The Leyland Baptist Church started as a tent mission in the summer of 1959, led by Fred Wilson, who was the Minister at Carey Baptist Church in Preston. Initially the Church met in the home of one of the first members, Molly Fleming, then later being held at a scout hut in Cow Lane, just off Fox Lane in Leyland. As the numbers increased a more permanent location was needed, so in 1962 a bungalow on Leyland Lane was purchased and modified. In 1975 there was the addition of a Church Hall at the rear of the Church. This bungalow is still our current location today.

The first Leyland Baptist Pastor at that time was Will Rostron who held the ministry until he retired in 1980. A Welsh Baptist Minister called Arthur Phillips took over. Arthur was the Pastor for about 3 years when he retired leaving the church. Rev. John James took over as pastor until 1985. This left the church without a Pastor until 1988. During this period the numbers dropped. In 1988 a new Pastor entered the scene, Adrian Argile, straight from Spurgeon’s College. Adrian's strong focus on mission saw a period of vigorous growth in numbers at the church and together with Tim Grose who was appointed as a Community Worker with Spurgeon’s Childcare, and other Church Members, started the SLEAP charity in 1992 www.sleap.co.uk and the Leyland Project. In 1996 Adrian felt his mission lay elsewhere so left to go to Kay Street Baptist Church, Rawtenstall.

Geoff King was asked to take over the ministry here at Leyland in 1999 following a difficult period without a Pastor. He and his wife Kate helped consolidate the work in the Church and community. Tony and Sandra Crawford, came from Heywood Baptist Church in September 2003, taking over as Geoff phased into retirement. Tony and Sandra continued to see the life of the Church develop and Tony was instrumental in the work of SLEAP and the Leyland Project, which are local independent charities.

After twenty years of hope and prayer there have been major modifications to the Church Hall to create a new Community Hall with new toilets, new kitchen, offices and reception area. The building work was completed in 2013 and we have since seen the congregation grow in numbers. The work was funded by the generous offerings by the congregation, two grants provided by Veolia Environmental Trust and the Lancashire Environment Fund. In September 2014 the Lancashire Environmental Fund awarded us Best Practice Award for Community Buildings.

In 2019 Tony stepped down from his role as Pastor to train as a Social Worker. At the same time the church welcomed a Minister-in-Training, Liz Hamilton, to work alongside Sandra.

Of course, in 2020 everything changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and our church, like everyone else, was faced with dealing with changes and restrictions never before encountered. Although the building was closed, Leyland Baptist continued. The church is not the building but the people. Sunday services moved to zoom, as did prayer sessions, study groups and social interaction. Twice weekly Musings were produced providing a Bible passage and reflection, a prayer activity and suggestions on wellbeing. At Christmas, Lent and Easter activity packs and booklets Many of these were delivered in partnership with Wigan Baptist and Leigh Baptist; an opportunity to develop new relationships and share faith with each other.

In April 2021 Sandra and Tony moved to Essex to pursue a calling from God to work there.

Liz and the Leadership Team have responded to the changes. Sunday services are now back in the building but take a slightly different format each week. Our mid-week activities have returned (see mid week activities) and are open to all.

As we move forward this year we look forward to worshipping God, loving each other and serving the community.