A typical northern city, whose cotton mills were once powered by water from the River Irwell, Salford experienced massive decline in the twentieth century as its traditional industrial base was eroded. Now slowly regaining some prosperity as an excellent commuter area for those working in adjacent Manchester, and home to Manchester United Football Club, the city of Salford has a great heritage and sense of identity.
Since 2015, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales (EPCEW) has been holding Bible studies in Manchester, with a view to a church plant in this vast urban area. Recently, Salford has been chosen as a base for meetings because of its excellent transport links and situation close to the universities of Salford and Manchester.
Monthly Bible studies in the area of Salford known as Broughton will meet in the Broughton Hub, a modern community-focused building which has superb facilities.
Our meetings have a strong sense of the vast spiritual needs of all the people who live in this once proud city, which was up to 1974 in the county of Lancashire. Indeed, it is sobering to think of how many churches thrived in such communities in previous generations, that are now closed or converted into secular use.
Recently, some of those who attended the church plant Bible studies met in Broughton to view Broughton Hub, and we left with a renewed and abiding desire to see all folks of every creed, colour, belief and background in Salford powerfully saved by the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Broughton is, interestingly, home to a significant number of Orthodox Jews, who are also found in neighbouring Prestwich. Driving along the A56 to Broughton Hub, one is struck by the number of folks clearly of Jewish background on the streets and in shops.
Also, around Salford and this district of north Manchester, are places rich in history, such as Crumpsall, Ancoats, Harpurhey, Collyhurst and Monsall. These all show a great sense of incredibly tough working class life, wryly conveyed with pathos, through locally born comedians such as Les Dawson, Mike Harding and the poet John Cooper Clarke.
If readers want to get a real sense of life in Salford, the North West, Wigan-born Stuart Maconie has written a superb and witty book called Pies and Prejudice, full of wry and astute observations of northern life and culture. For a more meandering, but nevertheless interesting, take on the North West, try Paul Morley’s, The North (and almost everything in it).
Sheffield Presbyterian Church, under the auspices of EPCEW, is leading this work in Salford-Manchester. It is underpinned by a strongly traditional evangelical foundation, with biblical teaching nourished by the essential use of the creeds and confessions found in Presbyterian biblical church practice.
For further details regarding meetings at Broughton Hub, see the website at manchesterpc.wordpress.com or Facebook Salford-Manchester Presbyterian Church.