In the 1930s a large housing estate was planned to be built which we now know as Dovecot. The layout of the area has not changed much since these original plans were drawn up all those years ago. In this large area no plans were made for an evangelical church to be built.
For over a hundred years previous to this the Liverpool City Mission (LCM) had served the people of Liverpool in all the districts of the city by providing and maintaining a large number of churches. When the housing estate was built in 1935/36 the LCM decided to send one of it's pastors to Dovecot.
Pastor Joseph McKirgan was set aside to to undertake this pioneering work and to speak to everyone on the estate. This was done initially by visiting each house and these door to door visits proved to be very encouraging, so the LCM, decided to invite the people of the district to the first Sunday service.
As there were no premises belonging to the LCM in Dovecot, the committee hired the large room over shops in Dovecot. The date for this service was Sunday 24th February 1935, on that day three services were held the first at 11am, followed by the Sunday School meeting at 3pm, then at 6.30pm, the evening service was based on the text from Isaiah 55v6 ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found’. The services were well attended and were held in this room for many months.
Pastor McKirgan had a great desire for a church to be built on this estate, for the people of Dovecot.
On his visits to the houses on East Prescot Road, he wondered why there was a gap between the council houses with a passage leading to Churchdown Road; this was a large piece of waste land with nothing in the council plans for anything to be built on it?
Here on this wasteland he prayed many times and asked God that a church building would be built for the glory of God. It was not long before the prayers of Gods people were answered. In 1936 the money was raised and the plans for the building were agreed.
On April 22nd 1936 the foundation stone was laid by the then Lord Mayor of Liverpool, councillor Mr R.J.Hall. At the ceremony the Lord Mayor expressed his desire that God would raise up a people who would serve God here in this building in Dovecot.
Work on the building progressed very quickly and on Thursday 12th November 1936 the building was ready for its first meeting. The opening service of Thanksgiving was attended by the next Lord Major of Liverpool and some of the city councillors. Here at this meeting an appeal for chistians to proclaim Gods Word in the area was given. An appeal which since that time generations of believers in Dovecot have attempted to do for Gods glory.
Since this first service, meetings have taken place each week throughout the years. At these meeting the message of the Bible has been declared to the people in the area, through the preaching men and women have come to love the Lord and to serve Him.
During these 70+ years Dovecot has had ten pastors; the longest serving of these from 1957 to 1969 was Pastor David Jebson who went on to be Superintendent of the Liverpool City Mission.
In the mid 1990’s the membership of Dovecot prayed and sought the Lord to become an independent evangelical church and on the 6th August 1998 the Lord answered our prayers and we became Dovecot Evangelical Church. However, in order to become independent from the Liverpool City Mission we had to purchase the building, the church was called to pray and we asked other churches for their prayerful support. We believed that God would honour our decision and provide our need. Over a period of three months we raised half the money and were then able to sort out a mortgage for the remainder.
Yet again God blessed us as in 2003 through an unexpected legacy from a former member we were able to pay off our mortgage and were debt free.
With the money left over the church building was improved including disabled access and toilet, false ceiling and shower. We were also able to employ one elder on a part time basis.
God has truly blessed Dovecot Evangelical church including in recent years a steady growth in the numbers of the church as well as having a multi-cultural congregation. We have also been able to hold more meetings for the Dovecot community including a Coffee Morning, Children’s and Young People groups as well as a new work, started in 2007, called the Monday Club (adult special needs club) open to all people and families who have special needs.
Dovecot Evangelical Church has had many changes over the years especially on the structure as seen by the photo’s, these changes also include a name change and becoming independent yet one thing that will never change and will always stay the same is the aim to reach Dovecot with the Gospel.
|Steve T Fr|
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