Although officially Fairhaven United Reformed Church, this church is known locally as The White Church.
The story of the White Church begins at a meeting of the congregation of Lytham Congregational Church in 1899 with the suggestion that there should be a new church in Fairhaven on the estuary of the Ribble on land leased by the Clifton family of Lytham Hall. A month after the proposal was made they received great encouragement for their vision. The Congregational Union of England and Wales had commenced a fund to raise half a million guineas for church extension... 'in view of the rapid increase in population'.
Now there was no stopping them and with scarcely a setback they began raising the money that would be required to build the new church, a church which they all agreed should be a distinctive architectural feature in the district. (They succeeded!)
Four firms were chosen to submit designs. The successful architects were Briggs, Wolstenholme and Thornley of Blackburn who won with a design that imitated some of the features of Byzantine architecture (on the outside that is). When the church was opened on October 17, 1912, eight years after the opening of the new church hall on May 4 1904, their vision was realised.
The White Church remained Congregational in churchmanship, that is self-governing, until 1972 when it became one of the congregations of the United Reformed Church, a union of Congregational and Presbyterian churches.
The United Reformed Church
In October 1997 the United Reformed Church celebrated its 25th anniversary. Formed in 1972 by the union of the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England, the United Reformed Church has continued to express its deep commitment to the visible unity of the whole Church. In 1981 it entered into union with the Reformed Association of Churches of Christ and in the year 2000 with the Congregational Union of Scotland. The United Reformed Church is in frequent dialogue on unity with other traditions and has more than 400 of its local churches united with other denominations.
The United Reformed Church comprises 150,000 adults and 100,000 children and young people in 1750 congregations spread throughout England, Scotland and Wales, served by some 1100 ministers, both women and men.
Though one of the smaller of Britain's mainstream denominations, the United Reformed Church stands in the historic Reformed tradition, whose member denominations make up the largest single strand of Protestantism with more than 70 million members world-wide. Along with other Reformed churches the United Reformed Church holds to the Trinitarian faith expressed in the historic Christian creeds and finds its supreme authority for faith and conduct in the Word of God in the Bible, discerned under guidance of the Holy Spirit. The United Reformed Church's structure also expresses its faith in the ministry of all God's people through the structure of democratic Councils by which the Church is governed.
Theologically, the United Reformed Church is a broad church. Its membership embraces congregations of evangelical, charismatic and liberal understandings of the Christian faith in a variety of mixtures!
What we believe
The URC stands in the Reformed tradition of Christian faith, believes in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
finds the supreme authority for faith and conduct by the guidance of the Spirit in the Word of God in the Bible;
looks to be continually renewed and reformed so as to fulfil its mission of witness and service in the name of Jesus Christ;
practises both infant and believer's baptism and celebrates the Lord's Supper;
recognises the ministry of all God's people: (that is) all the members serving in the world and through the church, in particular: ministers of Word and Sacrament, elders, lay preachers, church related community workers (CRCWs), and workers from partner churches.
Each Local church...
welcomes those who come from any church background or none;
arranges its own worship, witness and service;
celebrates the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper;
has regular church meetings of members and an elected body of ordained elders who, with the minister, share pastoral and leadership responsibilities;
seeks to develop ecumenical relationships.
....and much more!