Since we began in 2005 our vision and hope has been to see Moorlands grow, under God, into a city centre church which is able to reach the city of Lancaster and its university campuses for Christ, equip and send out gospel workers into the world-wide mission field, and help resource, plant and revitalise other churches.
With the purchase of the former URC Buildings on the High Street in the very heart of the city, we now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build something that will expand and multiply gospel ministry for many years to come. With its strategic central location and space for growth, we believe this site will enable many more people to hear the saving message of Jesus, knowing that as his word is taught, Jesus is building something that will last for ever.
We are working hard on an ambitious re-development project to turn these ancient buildings into a modern, welcoming and accessible resource where the word of God can be heard, and people built up in Christ. We hope to do this by installing a new lift for accessibility, a commercial kitchen to enable us to cater for large events and through building a new welcoming space to join the existing buildings together and provide a focal point for meetings. Alongside this we plan to modernise and refit the existing spaces so they are functional and efficient for the generations to come.
More details of our plans will be announced in the coming months.
Frequently Asked Questions
+ Why invest in a church building?
After 14 years of renting, and after much teaching, discussion and prayer we have reached the point at which we believe the establishment of a permanent base is essential for further growth. These buildings will give us:
A physical space in our community
Having a permanent home for church (especially one that is central, visible and accessible) can help build a sense of identity as a church
Providing for future generations
We are not just providing for ourselves, but for future generations.
This is the key reason we are investing in a building. We want to expand our capacity so we can welcome more peopke to our church and help them discover the great news of Jesus in the Bible, not just on Sundays, but every day of the week.
+ What is our vision for the future?
The current work at Moorlands began in March 2005 stimulated by the need for a straightforward Bible teaching church which was accessible to all people in the city, especially students and those with no church background.
The vision and hope has always been to grow Moorlands, under God, into a substantial resourcing church, a hub for training, sending and planting. We want to see Moorlands growing in numbers, so that we have a bigger impact in the community.
+ What do we want the new building to achieve?
We’d love to see:
- Many many more people in the city and campuses hear the message of Jesus.
- A growing student ministry that continues to be effective at reaching students and then equipping them for a life time of ministry.
- More men and women discipled, trained and sent out to mission fields all over the world.
- A growing Ministry Training Scheme which prepares people for full time ministry, theological training or a life time of ministry
- A Bible-centred family ministry where children and young people of all ages are reached and discipled through excellent programs and groups.
- The opportunity to plant churches, revitalise churches, and assist other churches with church planting and revitalisation.
- A well established international work where students, families and visiting scholars from ‘every nation, tribe, people and language’, are welcomed, reached with the gospel and build up in Christ.
- A growing local partnership of like minded independent churches, with the aim of working together especially with church planting and training.
+ What are the next steps for redevelopment?
We have appointed Manchester based architects to work with us and they are currnelty making detailed plans which will then be submitted to the local planning and conservation authorities for approval. Watch this space for more details.
+ What facilities do the new buildings have?
Our buildings occupy a corner plot with Middle Street to the north and High Street to the West.
Site: The property comprises an L-shaped plot of land with three buildings; the church to the east (facing west), the caretaker’s house to its north and the church centre / Sunday school to the north west. The burial ground fills the space between High Street and the front of the church.
Church building: The church building is described as a good example of a late 18th century Nonconformist church, built in the 1770s by a dissenting congregation. It reportedly seats 400 people in pews.
The entrance / vestibule is narrow with a wooden screen between the main body and vestibule, with tinted leaded glass windows.
The main body of the church is plainly decorated and in very good condition. A large mahogany pulpit forms the focal point at the east end. In front of the pulpit is a low platform without rails. Behind the pulpit is a vestry and single WC.
The main body is filled with panelled pine pews with doors, dating back to 1851. These form three main blocks, separated by two aisles. The space is galleried on three sides with the 1873 pipe organ to centre of the west gallery. The galleries have stepped floors, fitted with pine pews like those on the ground floor.
Basement: The basement below the east end of the church is part of the 1830s extension, built as a school room. It has a stone paved floor and cast-iron columns and two windows on the east side.
Church centre: This was built in 1856, as a Sunday school. The upper floor contains one large space. The lower floor has been altered to provide a series of rooms and ancillary facilities including 6 offices of various sizes, a medium sized meeting room, a small kitchen and some WCs.
House: The caretaker’s house was built at the end of the 19th Century. It is described as a modest 3 bedroom house.
Outside space: There is an attractive boundary on High Street with a gate and railings which are separately Grade II listed. The burial ground is grassed, with stone paths. There are a few flower beds and small trees. The only visible evidence of the graveyard are some stone memorial slabs along the south side.
+ What is the history of the buildings?
“Nonconformist” churches began life when small groups of believers left their parish churches from the 16th Century to establish independent congregations where the Bible would be taught and the gospel preached. These groups were often referred to as “Dissenters.” It was only after the Act of Toleration in 1689, that such groups were legally able to exist, and following this many new chapels and meeting houses were built.
A plot of land was purchased by one of the group, John Dawson of Aldcliffe Hall, in 1772, and conveyed to the nine Trustees in 1777. The building was altered and extended in several phases, particularly in the 1830s when the church was enlarged to the east and the interior re-fitted.
The engraving below shows the chapel building, then known as “Mount Street Chapel”, surrounded by open gardens before it was extended and the Sunday school built.
+ Where can visitors park?
The church site has no parking of its own at all. Fortunately, it is very accessible to people who live in Lancaster and close to several bus routes. For those who need to drive in there are plenty of pay and display options very close the building.
Partner with us
We are looking to raise £2.3 million for the renovation of our buildings. We have currently raised £830,060 and need to raise another £1,469,940. If you are able to give to help us reach this target then please see the options below.
To give online please click the button below.
To give by bank transfer or cheque please download our Giving Form by clicking below.
If you would like to stay updated about the progress of our Building Project please fill out the form below. We will send a regular email with updates of the progress of fundraising and building.