Sunday afternoon, 5 October 2014, saw the commissioning of City Church, Manchester, and its two pastors, Ralph Cunnington and Matt Waldock, who led the service.
The pastors had been sent to plant this new church by Aigburth Community Church and Christ Church Liverpool, respectively, where they had previously been assistant pastors. The elders of the sending churches, Maurice McCracken and Steve Palframan, read the charges to the pastors from 2 Timothy 4:1-5 and 1 Timothy 6:1-11.
Prayers were led by Justin Mote (North West Partnership), Andy and Kath Paterson (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches) and Mike Tindall (Grace Church, Manchester). The founding group comprises people from ten churches, including from Liverpool (the majority), Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Cheshire.
Richard Cunningham of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship preached from Ephesians 2:11-22. About 200 people attended. Particularly encouraging were the large number of young families, college students and children attending.
The meeting was biblical, upbeat and hugely encouraging. It was well organised, with an uplifting message, comments and prayers. Congregational singing comprised well chosen songs and hymns, led by a group of gifted singers and musicians.
The meeting ended with a moving reading of the church covenant by all new members and the jubilant singing of ‘I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene’.
The church has been established on uncompromising biblical principles from the outset, starting with the mission-minded actions of its mother churches and culminating in a constitution and church rules. Planning and pre-launch meetings were meticulously carried out over two years.
As its name implies, the church is situated in the heart of Manchester. Apart from being a temporary home to 95,000 college students, the centre of Manchester is being rebuilt to accommodate tens of thousands of new inhabitants.
City Church is reaching out to all sections of this population, and the Sunday afternoon worship service is aimed at being suitable for everyone. However, it recognises the particular needs of families and students, so appropriate arrangements are made for these groups in particular.
The church meets for Sunday worship at 4.00pm in the Methodist Central Hall, and on a Thursday evening at 7.30, for Connect 4 Manchester.
The pastors are now calling for more senior saints to join the fellowship, to encourage and disciple the younger saints. Regular prayer is needed, as well as the practical matter of finance (www.citychurchmanchester.org).
Matt Waldock and Ralph Cunnington