The church emerged out of the house church or restoration movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. New Life Church, as it was then known, was formed in the mid-80s. In those early years, the church met in several hired buildings for congregational meetings including the Brian Jackson Centre and on the University of Huddersfield campus. In 1996, a warehouse was bought in Paddock and was transformed into the Jubilee Centre.
Trevor Lloyd came to lead the church in 1998. God gave to him and his wife, Alison, a vision based on Ezekiel 47, of a river of life flowing from a place of worship and transforming the community it flowed into. The priority of worship and the vision for community transformation have always been central to the church from its beginning.
Early in the Noughties, the church was renamed Community Church. This reflected our call to be a community (or family) as a church and to help serve and bless the wider community. After steady growth over several years in both church family and our community work, the church began looking for new premises. We also experimented with both multiple congregations and dual meetings on a Sunday.
Over the years, Community Church Huddersfield has sought to work in relationship with other churches. In the early years, we were part of Covenant Ministries (formerly Harvestime) led by Bryn Jones and then Ministries Without Borders led by Bryn’s brother, Keri. In 2019, Community Church Huddersfield became part of the Pioneer network of churches, with a particular connection to Richard and Judith Anniss as leaders of Pioneer North.
In recent years, we have seen real growth in the impact we are making in our local community and, in 2016, we purchased a new site at Willow Lane. Our plan is to develop it into a Community Hub, administrative base and meeting place. We are thrilled to have started by refurbishing four houses there for use by the homeless, partnering with the charity Happy Days. Our plan is still to develop the rest of the site and to further our positive impact on our town. We are looking for people to partner with us.
The last few years have been a time of refreshing and recommitting to the original vision from Ezekiel 47 – the RiverTree vision. This included bringing together much of our work for the local community under the title of The Branch. We were ready to move forward into our future when, as for everyone, we were hit by Covid-19 and lockdown. Like most, we moved online, but actually increased our work into helping the most vulnerable in our community. We are now seeking God for what church might look like in our new future, but we remain committed to our RiverTree vision.
That vision is to make the love of God real in the real world. We do this by continually experiencing what it is to be loved into life by God, and then living in love with one another, and in our community. Maybe some of you reading this, would like to join us on our journey and help us to shape the next part of our story.