A DELIGHTED congregation who have had no minister for several years welcomed a newcomer as three churches came together for the first time.

Last week, members of the community attended Stand United Reformed Church (URC) in Stand Lane to celebrate the ordination and induction of the Reverend Nigel Adkinson.

Mr Adkinson will take over as new minister of the pastorate of Radcliffe URC, Stand URC and Farnworth URC – the first time all three churches have ever shared a leader.

Around 300 people were in attendance at the service last Saturday (January 4), including the Deputy Mayor of Bury Cllr Joan Grimshaw and the Mayor of Bolton Cllr Colin Shaw.

Reverend Adkinson, who has moved from a parish near Chester, said: “I am looking forward to getting to know the congregations of the three churches and developing links with the communities.

“I will be working with the three churches closely to develop stronger Christian links.

“My ministry is very much about a social gospel – about working alongside people, having conversations and listening to residents in order to work together to provide and develop stronger communities.

“I will be out in the community meeting people where they are and finding out what role the church can get play in people’s lives.”

Audrey Halstead, secretary at Stand URC, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Nigel.

“It was a brilliant day and the church was packed.

“We hope the triple pastorate will allow us to have more ties with Farnworth URC. Whatever goes on in any of the three churches, the invitation will be offered to the others.”

Giles and Elaine Robinson, church secretaries at Radcliffe URC, said: “We would like to welcome Nigel and we look forward to working with him in our pastorate.”