A Little History
The Potted Version
The Church of St. John the Evangelist was the very first church to be built for Blackpool and was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester on July 6th. 1821. At this time the town was growing rapidly, and so within ten years of its consecration the building was already outgrown and needed to be enlarged. This was the start of St. John's mission to meet the changing needs of the town.
By 1875 the decision was taken to replace the original church, and so work began on what was to be the Civic and Parish Church of the new Borough of Blackpool. On 25th June 1878 the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Manchester. The new facility could seat 1223 people and the first Mayor of Blackpool, Dr. W. H. Cocker, was present in the church alongside the first Town Council. Since then St John's has been at the heart of Blackpool life and is recognised by locals and visitors alike as a landmark building.
By 1979, when the church celebrated it's Centenary, it was reflecting the changing fortunes of the town once again, and was badly in need of repair. Various redevelopments were carried out in 1986 but again by 1997 the building was in dire need of work. The lighting and heating systems could no longer cope with the vast building. The church was in crisis. Could it once again rise to the challenge of creating a space which could be a better tool for reaching the needs of a modern Blackpool with the Gospel of Christ?
After much prayer, the congregation felt it right to try to rise to this challenge. In order to do this a partnership was created between the Blackburn Diocese, Blackpool Borough Council, and Blackpool Challenge Partnership. By 2000 a new Development Company was formed and was supported by business partners in the town.
After an enormous amount of work by many people the building was transformed by a £1.6 million investment. Beautiful new worship areas were created along with other versatile spaces for use by both the church and the community. A purpose built area was added to the side of the church for the use of Street Life which offers emergency accommodation for homeless young men. The newly reorderd building was relicensed in 2February 2007 and reflect something of the whole town's regeneration.
Our challenge now is to use our lovley buildings to further the Kingdom of God, the task for which we were placed here in the 19th Century.