Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This is Ashton.

As coffeehouse ministry experts assigned to the Church of the Nazarene in the UK, we currently live and minister (mostly) in a much-maligned suburb of Manchester, England called Ashton-under-Lyne.

Ashton has a fascinating, uneven social history. The town was at the absolute epicenter of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom. But industrial privitization and the economic recessions of the 1980s hit blue-collar towns like Ashton especially hard, and our church's makeup and neighborhood in many ways reflect that.

But we LOVE Ashton. We love its sometimes-crumbling old buildings. We love its warm, plainspoken people. And we especially love our church, the Ashton Church of the Nazarene, which in recent years has redoubled its efforts to minister to members of our community with economic, social, and mental health needs.

You can imagine our pride, then, when I (Aaron) was reading for my Nazarene History & Polity ordination class this week and came across this passage in Our Watchword & Song: The Centennial History of the Church of the Nazarene:

 "Among the congregations that came into the Church of the Nazarene with the Calvary Holiness Church merger was one in Ashton-Under-Lyne, which had been established in 1874 -making it, probably, the oldest congregation in the denomination with a continuous history.

"The Old Cross Mission, as it had been known, was in the Manchester area. A succession of Holiness evangelists, including Thomas Cook, Amanda Smith, Reader Harris, C. J. Fowler, A. M. Hills, George Sharpe, and David Thomas all preached at the mission...After affiliating with the Emmanuel Bible College and adopting its doctrinal statement, the congregation in 1939 joined the Calvary Holiness Church. When, then, the Calvary Holiness Church joined the Church of the Nazarene in 1955, so did the Old Cross Mission."

This is Ashton. :)

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