The Church of the Ascension, Keresley, was demolished in December 1994, after the building became unsafe two years before Keresley Colliery finally closed. Keresley had become a ‘pit’ village when colliery workings began in 1908. In 1925 a redundant wooden Sinker’s Hut was given to be used as a home for the Mission Church of the Parish of Keresley with Coundon, in Bennett’s Road Keresley.
From the Coventry Evening Telegraph 21 April 1975 p.8
50 YEARS OF WORSHIP IN A ‘HUT’
The tiny Keresley Mission Church near Coventry, which holds only 100 people, attracted four- times that number for its golden jubilee service – with still just a little room to spare. The secret was that the nearby Coventry Colliery social club became the setting for the anniversary celebrations – with the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Cuthbert Bardsley, leading the service and singing. The church is an old sinkers’ hut used when the colliery was first sunk in 1911. The Bishop first led a short service in the church. Then the congregation moved to the club for a special service. Music was provided by the Arley Welfare Band and the choir of Keresley Newlands junior school. Today the Vicar of Keresley the Rev. John Tyers said: “Everything went off superbly and to the minute. The. hall was packed. If we had had the service in the church we would have filled it four times over. Moving to the social club meant that everyone could have a seat.”
In 1982 the Mission Church was renamed the Church of the Ascension.
From the Coventry Evening Telegraph, 21st June 1994 p.11.
CITY CHURCH THAT HAS TO WORSHIP IN A WOODEN HUT.
Plea after building is ruled unfit: By ERNEST TAYLOR
The congregation of a tiny church in Keresley have been forced to worship in a wooden hut after officials condemned their church. Anglican leaders say the tiny Church of Ascension in Bennetts Road is unfit, forcing the congregation, some of whom have worshipped there since the 1920s, into an old Territorial hut. The congregation now plan to build a new church but will need divine intervention if they are to raise the cash they need. They want to build a new church and community on the TA site, also in Bennetts Road, but can’t afford Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s £75,000 asking price They plan to beg the borough council to help by cutting the price of the land. The land is worth £150,000, and the council has already halved it, because of its proposed non-commercial use. The Church of Ascension was an old sinkers’ hut used when the nearby Coventry Colliery was first sunk in 1911. It was given to the Anglican church in the 1920s and has been used by worshippers in the village ever since. Emie Fallows, aged 89, of Albert Crescent, has been a member of the church since 1939 and was devastated when she found out the building had been condemned. She said: “The whole village is sad. It is like a bereavement to me after all those years.” Newly ordained priest Anne Donaldson said they have been worshipping in the TA’s hut for the past three weeks and space was very limited. She is now hoping to persuade the borough’s policy and resources committee, which meets on Wednesday, to reduce their asking price. She said: “The new, building would house the church and a community centre, which everyone in the village will be able to use. We can’t afford the £75,000 to buy the land and the money to carry out building work so we are hoping the council will give us the land at a cheaper rate.”
Note: the caption to an accompanying picture read:-
NOTICE TO QUIT: The Rev Anne Donaldson (right) and long-standing churchgoer Emie Fallows framed in the door of the condemned church.
After the closure, the small congregation had no new premises, but rose to the challenge, and held services in people’s homes, on the village green, in the community hut and in the back room of a pub! It was a test of endurance and faith to continue. Out of this time of fellowship, grew a desire that a new church would be an ecumenical church, and in 1997 two shops in the heart of the village were purchased with money contributed by individuals and other churches, and these shops were converted into Keresley Village Community Church dedicated in February 1999.
The members were joined shortly afterwards by a small group of Methodists from Wheelwright Lane. This church had originally been built on land given by, the Colliery Owners in 1929, primarily to serve the needs of the mining community, as with the church in Keresley. The church in Wheelwright Lane was closed in February 1999, and demolished shortly afterwards to make way for a new link road serving the warehouses and office units under construction on the old Keresley Colliery site.
Invitations had been extended to Wheelwright Lane members from churches around the Circuit and from Keresley, to join there after the closure.
We are thankful to have had more people added to our number since those early days.
We are a small, enthusiastic church, with a strong prayer life, and commitment to witness to, and serve the local community. We have good links with all our local agencies. Our children’s work continues to grow from its strong foundation. Our youth club opened early in 2000 and has a large membership. Our coffee shop is enjoyed by regular visitors week by week.
We look forward to welcoming you to Keresley Village Community Church.