In 1871, Rev. John Jefferson, who had previously been the minister at Goodshaw in
Rossendale, returned to Rawtenstall. He had a vision for a Baptist church in the
centre of Rawtenstall and, believing it was his responsibility, he advertised in
March 1872 that the services of public worship were to be held firstly in a local
school and then in the Co-operative hall. God prospered the work and in December
1872 the church was formed with 18 members.
Although he was not paid for four years,
Jefferson carried on the work which continued to thrive - so much so that in December
1876 a chapel (now the church hall) was opened in Kay Street. Two years later there
were 46 members and 104 scholars. John Jefferson retired because of ill health in
1890, but the church still grew - in 1891 there were 20 names for baptism. Soon,
the members felt that a larger building was necessary. A building fund was started
in 1892 but it wasn't until 1901 that the foundation stone for the current church
building was laid. The church finally opened in September 1902 (at a cost of £4000!)
Numbers increased - the 100 mark was passed in 1922. Although the depression years
of the 1930s saw a decline, membership leapt during the war to a peak of 164
Starting some 15 years ago, a programme of improvements has been taking place in
order to open the building to the community. The church building was divided into
two - the church moving upstairs and the downstairs area becoming a multi purpose
room with kitchen facilities. The rear hall has been re-floored to make it suitable
for games etc..
In the last 12 months we have totally refurbished our toilets and improved disabled
access. We have also installed new IT equipment.
Kay Street Baptist Church is a Registered Charity - No.1129330