All our yesteryears

A Local Ecumenical Partnership

St Andrew's Dawson Street came into being in December 2005, following a time of conversations and growing together between the two congregations of St Andrew's United Reformed Church and Dawson Street Methodist Church, situated at opposite sides of the main road through Crook.

As an LEP, the united church is part of the two denominations, and receives both Methodist and URC ministry. The congregation meets in the Dawson Street premises,which have been refurbished thanks to the union, and reopened in the spring of 2009.


Our Church Beginnings

John Wesley visited the dale on a number of occasions during the 18th century and the valley became a Methodist stronghold. Eventually there were three chapels in Crook representing different strands of Methodism: Hope Street, now the site of North House Surgery, which was of the Wesleyan tradition; Dawson Street, now our church, which was built by the Primitive Methodists; and Market Place, now owned by R M Defty and F S Rowland, which belonged to the New Connexion.

Subsequent to Methodist reunion in the 1930s, the three congregations joined together during the 1960s and the Dawson Street premises were modernised and re-opened in 1968.

Presbyterianism came to the dale in the mid 19th century, with the influx of workers from Scotland. St Andrew's was formed in 1863, and the new church building was opened in Whitfield Street in 1865. In 1972 the Presbyterian Church of England joined with the Congregational Church in England and Wales to form the United Reformed Church.

Forming a Local Ecumenical Partnership

In 2004 conversations began at Dawson Street and St Andrew's about the possibility of forming a Local Ecumenical Partnership. After much prayer and planning was decided to obtain structural surveys of the two buildings and ask for these to be considered by the appropriate people from the two denominations. The decision was made to retain the Dawson Street building, and embark upon plans to refurbish what was now St Andrew's Dawson Street.

The first three years of the life of the Partnership very much concentrated on this project. We were very well served by local architects and builders who understood our needs, and our desire to make the church adaptable and suitable for the needs of a new century - as well as physically accessible by all. We have been hugely supported financially by both denominations and by Trust funds - and our own church members and friends within the wider community have also been very generous in their contributions.

April 2009 saw the completion of this project, and the beginning of the new stage of our discovery of how to be obedient to God and become sharers in his mission in our community of Crook.