Pastor Heron's Ordination Service, 1846

I have found a reference to one of my predecessor’s ordination services here at Salem. The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle, 1846, Vol 24, details the service and all the other ministers who took part. They were all given roles, even it was just announcing a hymn. That they should all have attended in days before easy transport is testament to the importance with which they held the ordination of a new minister.

On Tuesday 19th of May, the Rev E.S.Heron, who has for upwards of two years laboured usefully and acceptably in his present sphere, was solemnly ordained as pastor of the Independent church assembling at Martin Top, near Gisburn.

The Rev. J Holgate, of Orrell[1], read portions of scripture, and prayed. The Rev. J. Wadsworth, of Clitheroe[2], gave the introductory discourse, The Rev. R. Aspinall of Colne[3], asked the usual questions, in answering which, Mr Heron gave great satisfaction in every part, especially in that of the work of the Spirit in the regeneration of the soul; and the Rev. J. Calvert, of Morley[4], offered the ordination prayer. After a letter from the Rev. J.G. Mial (Mr Heron’s former pastor) had been read, in which he expressed great regret that his present state of health would not permit him to attend and take part in the service, the Rev. R. Gibbs, of Skipton[5], gave the charge; the Rev. T. Greenall, of Burnley[6], preached to the people; and the Rev. H. Driver, of Holden[7], concluded with prayer; The Rev. J. Greener, of Settle[8], the Rev. G. Berry of Sandy Syke[9]; the Rev. J. Williamson of Horton in Craven[10]; the Rev. T. Bennett (Baptist), of Barnoldswick[11], and the Rev. R. Abram of Marsden[12], were also present, and gave out the hymns.

The numerous audience appeared deeply interested in every part of the excellent service, which caused the friends of nonconformity to hope lasting impressions were made in its favour.

Poor Mr Heron was evidently asked quite detailed questions, ones for which "I do" or "I will" type answers would not have sufficed. I have looked up many of the other churches mentioned. Some are long gone; others survive but don’t seem to be doing much. Thank God, Martin Top still prospers.

[1] Orrell is near Wigan, Greater Manchester; its Congregational church was also called Salem, but became URC in 1973. The church still appears to be functioning.

[2] Clitheroe URC is still active.

[3] This church is gone.

[4] This fellowship evidently joined the URC, but is apparently no more.

[5] This church still functions; it joined the URC and amalgamated with the Methodists.

[6] This church joined the URC. It seems to be still meeting, but it has a negligible online presence.

[7] Holden we know and love. We support each other’s meetings. It is still congregational and working for the Lord.

[8] We have had shared fellowship with this church, but it has since closed down in the past couple of years.

[9] I believe this is Tosside Chapel, near Holden, a fellowship that only meets a few times each year. Sandy Syke is part of its address, and I can find no other reference to a Congregational Church with that location.

[10] People from this church helped found Salem in 1816. It just meets a few times each year, located not far from Bracewell, near Barnoldswick.

[11] This Baptist Church still meets.

[12] This is the name for Nelson, Lancashire, before it expanded into the larger town around the Lord Nelson public house. The URC church seems to have merged with the Burnley fellowship.