Our History - early beginnings
King’s Church Cockermouth has a long history which began with Mike and Diane Maiden believing that God had called them back to Cumbria. Realising that few, if any, people in town had become new Christians, they prayed and studied, eventually starting a small group for spiritually hungry people.
The first signs of growth followed an evangelistic "Celebration of Faith" organised by all the local churches, through which many local people became Christians.
The small group began with the Maidens, long term members Steve and Meg Arnold, and a group of 6 unchurched teenagers among others! Open, family style worship was the order of the day, from which the DNA of Kings' was firmly stamped. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, intimate worship and personal stories of God's goodness were the expected!
In fact, the very first Mission Statement was WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP and SERVICE.
In 1981 our growing group became Cockermouth Christian Fellowship (CCF) and hired a room on Windmill Lane. Throughout the early years, there was an emphasis on relationship and community, with outreach at the heart of the group - including a regular Monday market bookstall and services at the Derwent Lodge Care Home. Young people and children were at the heart of the growing group, and eventually growth meant moving into new premises and the need for a full time worker.
Amazingly, in 1984, the All Saints Parish Rooms became available and because of the terms of the lease, the church was able to appoint Mike Maiden as its first full time leader.
Because outreach was one of the main foundations in the church, the church grew to the point where it was meeting in three different centres per month (Keswick, Cockermouth and Greysouthern) as well as meeting as a whole. As a result, church planting began, Keswick being the first of several new churches.
In 1991 Philip Clarke was appointed as the 2nd full time leader. All the way through, decisions were being made on the basis of what God had been saying, and in 1995, it was felt that God was opening up the means and faith for the opening of a building and the Word bookshop (on Main Street) was born. Later, a permanent building was bought on Station Street, with the bookshop, church office and a flat being provided through faith, in response to what God was saying.
1995 also saw the arrival of Jonathan Hayward, who took on the full time position. Again God was leading and speaking, and the church leadership felt it right to join a wider church family with accountable relationships and the link with Newfrontiers began.
In 2000, the church felt God prompting them about serving the community, and following a town survey, the Reef Youth Cafe opened in Challoner Street, and the appointment of Allen Rossi as youth leader provided the catalyst in this becoming significant in the town.
Both the Word Bookshop and the Reef Cafe closed in 2009 following the floods in Cockermouth, as the church believed God was calling them to serve the town in new ways, supporting those affected by the floods.
Key moments in the church's history
- 1979 Mike and Diane Maiden arrive in Cockermouth
- 1981 Cockermouth Christian Fellowship is born
- 1984 the appointment of Mike Maiden as the first full time worker and move to All Saints Parish Rooms
- 1985 Mission England means new Christians in town
- 1987 Change of name to Kings's Church Cockermouth
- 1987 the start of King's Church Keswick
- 1991 the Sunday move to the United Reform church Cockermouth
- 1991 Philip Clarke became 2nd full time leader
- 1993 Jim Bruce becomes the leader of the church
- 1995 the Word bookshop opens and the arrival of Jonathan Hayward
- 1998 the move to Station Street
- 1999 joining Newfrontiers
- 2000 the Reef youth Cafe opens
- 2007 the Hayward family move to France, and Roger Bye becomes the leader. The church also moved from the URC to its current Sunday premises, Cockermouth school hall.
Cockermouth has now planted several churches - King's church Keswick (and as a result, King's Church Eden in Penrith), ChristCentral in Workington, Grace Church in Whitehaven.