Leeds church marks 175th birthday

A display at the flower festival at St Thomass Church in Stanningley to mark its 175th anniversary.
A display at the flower festival at St Thomass Church in Stanningley to mark its 175th anniversary.
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A church is reaching out to the community as it celebrates its 175th anniversary this weekend.

St Thomas’s Church in Stanningley will host a flower festival, barbecue, summer fair, special church service, afternoon tea and children’s races plus songs of praise as part of its birthday festivities.

Church secretary Gill Sissons said: “We are trying to reach out to those who have had connections with St Thomas’s Church over the last 25 years and beyond. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to come back and look at the church and join in the celebrations. The whole of the Stanningley community is involved.”

Donald Pearce, a member of St Thomas’s parish parochial church council, has been attending the church for around 65 years.

Mr Pearce, 84, said: “The church itself was completed and consecrated in 1841. It is almost unique in that it does not have a centre aisle; it has two side aisles which make it similar to a Methodist church. It is reflecting the Methodist influence in Leeds during the mid nineteenth century.”

The church includes a memorial window to two Sunday School teachers who were killed by lightening on September 5, 1869.

“Apparently they were walking out together and they were in the fields near Farsley and they were struck by lightening,” said Mr Pearce.

A flower festival will be held in the church today from 10am to 5pm and tomorrow from 11am to 3.30pm. The church hall and grounds will host a summer fair today at 11am and there will be a barbecue tonight at 7pm.

A celebration service will be held tomorrow at 9.30am.

Tomorrow will also feature afternoon tea and children’s races at 2pm and songs of praise at 4pm.

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