A Brief History of Shaw United Reformed Church
The stone Church building on this site stood from 1893 until its’ demolition in 2013. It had been financed in the main by Miss Betty Hall, who left her job in the cotton mill following the cotton famine, and started a second hand clothes and bedding business. She bought discarded clothes and bedding in the Manchester suburbs, returning to Shaw with them, selling to the poorer people in the area. She wanted to build a Congregationalist Church in Shaw, and after renting the Co-operative Hall for Sunday services she had built a corrugated Church on the present site. This burnt down in 1897, but the adjacent stone Church had opened in 1894, and in 1898 the Sunday School building was opened. Miss Betty Hall died in 1913, after her tireless work for the church, though never holding any office save that of Sunday School teacher.
In 1931 the first female minister, Rev. Kathleen M. Hall, was appointed. She was to be closely connected to the Church for many years, though having to resign her post following her marriage to Dr. J. Hendry in 1938. She returned as Minister ten years later. In 1953 Rev. Hendry organised a meeting with other Ministers and Clergy of the town, and led to the united Whit Walks procession which still occurs today, and indeed there is a close Churches Together link in Shaw.
In 1972 after many years of discussion, union with the Presbytarian Church was eventually agreed, the new organisation becoming the United Reformed Church.
In 1997 during a strong gale, the gable end of the Sunday School building collapsed, leading to its’ demolition in 1998. Within four years the newly built Church Hall was ready for use, the parishioners having raised £120,000.
By 2007 the original Church building was deemed to be unfit for use, so plans were put in place for an extension to the Church Hall. Many events were held to raise money for the Building Fund, but it was to be ten years before the extension was started. Attempts to sell the building came to nothing, so Building Fund money had to pay for demolition, which happened in 2013. More fund-raising events took place, and work on the new extension began in the autumn of 2017.
The Heyside URC, our sister Church, also had building issues and closed in April 2017, the congregation joining us in Shaw.
Handover of the new extension was in October 2018. Our Minister, Rev. John Piper, who had delayed his retirement for as long as he could, held his last service in July of this year. Following building concerns in their building, we were pleased to welcome members of St Paul’s Methodists to worship with us, several later deciding to take up membership of this Church. We now have a full house each Sunday, more activities are taking place, and the Guides and Brownies are now based here.