On Whit Monday 1861 the foundation stone for a new Sunday school and preaching room was laid at Owlerton, which was then a village about a mile from Sheffield. Owlerton Evangelical Church, as it is known today, began as a Wesleyan Reform Union chapel.
The late Brian Cocker was lay pastor of the church for over 50 years. Brian, who went to be with the Lord on Good Friday 2015, was faithfully supported by his wife Anne, who continues to serve the church today. Brian managed, along with his brothers, the family scissor manufacturing business in Sheffield for many years, as well as leading the church. Both church and factory were known for their uncompromising witness to the gospel.
In autumn 2015, the church issued a unanimous call to Rev. John Diggle to become pastor. The church now serves the Hillsborough district of the city of Sheffield.
John, in accepting the call, gave assent to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, which has been his subordinate standard of ministry in his three previous pastorates, in London, Durham and Chesterfield. For a number of years John has exercised an itinerant ministry and has preached regularly at Owlerton for the last 25 years.
John was formally inducted to the pastorate, on the first Lord’s Day in 2016, by Bernard Wilkinson. On Saturday 14 May, a public welcome meeting was held to acknowledge this new chapter of gospel witness in the life of the church. This was attended by over 100 people. Dr Derek Linkens, a longstanding friend and preacher at the church, chaired the meeting, and Rev. Dennis Hill from Hull preached the Word.
The church looks to the Lord as it continues its outreach and gospel ministry, from its chapel in Borough Road, to the many homes in that part of Sheffield.