St Simon & St Jude

The partnership between St Simon & St Jude Church and St Simon & St Jude Church of England Primary School began in 1901 with the building of the original church on Rishton Lane in Great Lever, Bolton, and, at the same time, the building of the original school in its shadow.

That partnership changed shape in 2010 when, with the parish facing building repair costs well beyond the means of the existing congregation, the Headteacher of the school invited them to make their permanent home within the present school building.

Today that partnership is lived out in many ways, for example:

  • The presence of the Team Rector of the Seven Saints Team and of parish nominees as Foundation members of the St Simon and Jude Multi-Academy Trust’s Board of Trustees, Board of Directors, and the local school’s Governing Body.
  • The contribution of both church and school to the consultation process for the design of new stained glass windows for the shared space that is both school hall and church worship space.
  • Shared planning for an after-school ‘Messy Church’, which will by definition, as well as by design, take place on both church and school premises.

For the people of St Simon & St Jude Church, the general consensus is that taking the risk – and paying the substantial emotional cost – of leaving behind a well-loved church building that needed substantial repair has paid off. And yet, four years on, church and school are still at the beginning of this new part of their shared journey, with much still to learn about growing their shared life.

Like most Church in School partnerships, theirs began as a marriage of convenience. But rooted within each such partnership is the potential for both church and school to thrive because they are better able to connect with and to serve the local community in which they are set.