FIVE years ago worshippers at St Simon and St Jude’s Church faced a problem.

Their Great Lever home was not fit for purpose and the church faced spiralling costs to restore the building.

But help was at hand from an old friend — St Simon and St Jude’s School.

The school and the church had shared the site at Rishton Lane since 1901 — but in 1968, in response to growing demand for places, the school moved to Newport Road.

Fast forward more than 40 years and the school's head Simon Bramwell suggested worshippers could share the school's building.

The church took the difficult decision to leave their original home and join up with the school once more.

And this weekend worshippers will celebrate their links with the school with the dedication of a new stained glass window.

The church’s original plan of bringing with them the stained glass window from the old building proved to be unworkable.

Instead Andrew Seddon, a Bolton stained glass artist from The Stained Leaded Glass Company in Breightmet, was commissioned to design and make new windows for the space that is both the school hall and the church’s worship space.

Working with both children from the school and with members of the congregation as part of the design process, he created three small windows reflecting school life and one large window representing church life.

Deb Lyons, church warden of St Simon and St Jude, said: “It was a hard decision to make as many of our families were christened, confirmed and married in that building and we saw the building as the church. But now we realise that it's the people who are the church.”

At the service on Sunday at 10am the Bishop of Bolton Chris Edmondson will be dedicating the window.

The Mayor of Bolton Cllr Carole Swarbrick will also be present for the service.

The Revd Judie Horrocks said: "The service will be a celebration not only of the new stained window but our ongoing partnership with the school and the wider community — everyone is welcome."

Mr Bramwell said: "The decision that the church took to worship inside the school was a welcome one as well as pragmatic.

"The school invited the change as a way of deepening ties and making the church and worship more of an ever present for the pupils."

"The children who designed the side windows were both fascinated by the process but also astounded that their own drawings and paintings were brought to life in a real world setting.

"It was a great experience for them and the pupils are quite rightly very proud of their achievements>"

The church is one of only five 'Church in Schools' in Greater Manchester.

Maurice Smith, the Director of Education for the Diocese of Manchester; Mr Bramwell, the Executive Principal of St Simon and St Jude’s; Andrew Seddon, the artist; and members of the school community, as well as the other churches within the Seven Saints Team, will all be at the service.