A TORCHLIGHT procession led by the scouts and guides of Urmston and district will celebrate the launch of a series of 50th anniversary events at St John’s Church, Flixton.

Led by the 3rd Davyhulme Scout and Guide Band, the procession will leave from Wellacre School car park in Irlam Road for St John’s at 5.45pm on Thursday, December 21.

It will be followed by the Urmston Scouts and Guides carol service at 6pm. Visitors are welcome to watch the procession and attend the service - just one of a variety of Christmas and New Year services at St John’s, involving Acre Hall Academy, Wellacre Academy, and Delamere Special School as well as St John’s own Christmas events for children and adults.

A series of celebration days is planned in 2018 for the 50th anniversary of St John’s present church building.

These will include services with guest preachers including the Bishop of Middleton, the Bishop of Manchester, and former members of St John’s congregation now in Church of England ordained ministry, plus concerts and other community gatherings.

Many events in the year are to be shared with St Michael’s, Flixton, the original ‘parent’ church of St John’s.

Work on the present St John’s Church began in 1967, when the first turf was cut by the then Bishop of Hulme.

The new building was consecrated on March 30, 1968, by Dr William Greer, Bishop of Manchester, with more than 600 people present.

It superseded the dual-purpose church and hall building erected in 1930 which adjoins the church and today is used for both church and community activities.

A programme of renovation and improvement of St John’s community hall is already underway, with support from the church congregation and also Veolia Environmental Trust, Allchurches Trust and Trafford Heart and Stroke Club, and the project is also a current ‘cause’ of the Co-op Local Community Fund which members can support when they shop.

For further information about the year-long activities at St. John’s visit www.stjohnsflixton.org.uk

The Rev Rodney Green, associate minister of St. John’s, said: “Our intention is that this will be not only about the anniversary of a building but of all that God has done over 50 years and does throughout our lives.

"St John’s is a community and family-oriented church which offers a welcoming and caring atmosphere to its congregation. Our special events will also be part of a national programme of Christian action in the community in 2018 under the banner of ‘HOPE 2018’.”