History of the church in Keresley End
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 had become a ‘pit’ village when colliery workings began in 1908.
It was renamed The Church of the Ascension in the 1980s and that building was demolished in December 1994, after it became unsafe, not long before Keresley Colliery finally closed in 1996. 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.
Former Wheelwright Lane Methodist Church 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.
In 2016 we set up a community conversation with a questionnaire and meetings to see what people living in the village most wanted. Out of this came a clear need for a meeting place. Community Coffee Stop, a weekly drop-in and café, was the first result.
In 2017 the congregation that had been meeting in the church on Sunday mornings as part of an Anglican/Methodist LEP had reduced to a small group of older members and they decided to stop the Sunday services, so main services are held at St Thomas, though Messy Church continued at KVCC.
From those that began to use the building at Coffee Stop and a women’s support group which began in 2018, it became clear that calling the building a ‘church’ was a stumbling block for some and after consultation it was agreed to rename the building ‘The Pit Stop’. This reflected the history of the village as a former colliery village, and also the other meaning of a pit stop – a time and location to stop and be refreshed, take a break, refuel.
In 2020 just before the pandemic, refurbishment work with new flooring and repainting the inside of the building was carried out. Improvements to the kitchen were also made.