A Brief History
In the early 1950′s Philip and Elizabeth Betty, began the first Pentecostal work in the Cannock area, hiring a community centre on Avon Road in Cannock. This lovely couple were from the large Assemblies of God Pentecostal church “Bethel Temple”, in Gad’s Lane West Bromwich.
After a couple of years they decided to purchase an empty building on the border of Hednesford and Heath Hayes, three miles from where they had been meeting in the centre of Cannock. The building they purchased did not have a good origin. It was built in the late 1900′s (circa 1880) as a Spiritualist Church, named St. Thomas’. For a period between the two World Wars it was used as a Scout hut. It then lay derelict for some years.
The building was renovated and cleaned and opened on 22nd May 1954 by Pastor Philip Betty, assisted by Stanley Woodland. The High Place which had once been used for something totally anti-Christian, had now been spiritually cleansed and taken for Christ. The Hednesford Pentecostal Church had officially begun.
In subsequent years the people of God kept the facility well maintained, but no major refurbishment was undertaken.
While Pastor Betty assisted the establishing and running of the Chase Terrace assembly, the church was then run by Pastor Marellie, followed by Pastor Hannah, assisted by his brother-in-law, Mr. Jackson.
In the late sixties a young man form the Assemblies of God Bible College, Pastor Cotteral, took over the running of the church. Crusades in the Aquarius Ballroom and in the church were held to draw people to God. The church increased slightly.
In the early seventies Pastor Cotteral moved on and was replaced by Pastor David James who had a great desire for the youth work and old people’s ministries, serving the old folk at the Welcome Club in Heath Hayes. The Sunday School grew to over a hundred children who were ferried in by minibus. The church also increased.
About five years later Pastor James left to minister in Leek and was replaced by Pastor Hornsby. Through the late seventies and early eighties the church continued to grow so that the building was not large enough to contain the congregation. The school in Gorsemoor Road had to be hired for the Sunday meetings. Pastor Hornsby left to minister in the north of England and Pastor Dennis Wiffen continued the ministry for a while. In the early nineties Alan Bennett, a student from the Birmingham Bible College, pastored the work for twelve months; before being called to Canada as a missionary.
Without a minister to care for the flock the congregation fell into decline, but with the appointment of Pastor John Tyrell in 1996 the congregation has steadily grown back to a sizeable church with a strong community and social action work. Mr & Mrs Betty, now retired where once part of the congregation at this time.
Once again the building became too small and in November 2005 an extensive extension and refurbishment of the church building was undertaken. This was finished in April 2006. The members of the congregation financed by their sacrificial giving. The new facilities greatly increased the church’s ability to minister to the community.
Assemblies and classes are taken in numerous local schools. Gospel Services are taken each month in various retirement homes. A children’s work and youth club were established and a parents and toddlers group meets weekly. A Pregnancy Centre is also run on the site which offers Crisis Pregnancy, post-miscarriage and post-abortion counselling. A luncheon club has been established for the elderly and isolated within the community.
In January 2014 the church was officially renamed as the Community Life Church. The church’s leadership believed that the new name encapsulated the ethos and the vision of the church. The name Hednesford was dropped because the building is in Heath Hayes, Cannock and the main focus of the congregation’s work was within Heath Hayes rather than neighbouring Hednesford. The removal of the word Pentecostal did not reflect any change in doctrine or a lessening of the emphasis of the work of the Holy Spirit. However we recognised that for the most part, people in the community do not know what Pentecostal means.
Then in October 2014 the congregation had once again out-grown the church building. Sunday morning meetings were moved to the Hayes Green Community Centre within Heath Hayes, a move that has brought about a further increase in the number of people attending.