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Wensleydale Evangelical Church

Minister: Rev Noel Ramsey

A person who says he believes in God but never goes to church is like one who says he believes in education but never goes to school.

Franklin Clark Fry

From “Gathered Gold” by John Blanchard

The Church



Our Church, which is now known as Wensleydale Evangelical Church, was formally constituted with 10 members as Scotton Evangelical church in 1991. The church has its origin as far back as 1985. Two families moved into the area around Catterick Garrison. Both families were then members of an Evangelical Church about 15 miles away and both shared a concern about the lack of evangelical churches in the area. Permission was given for these two families to meet together in a home in Scotton on a Sunday morning for prayer. In a short period of time other Christians in the area came to meet with these families. The number of people meeting became too large for the home and so this group began meeting in Scotton Village Hall. This resulted in a morning worship service being held in the Hall, which commenced in 1986.

In 1988 a representative of this group of Christians from Scotton attended a meeting at a Church in Swaledale with leaders and members of other evangelical churches concerning the lack of an evangelical witness in Wensleydale. At this meeting the possibility of a work based in Leyburn was discussed. There were two other families who were looking to move to Leyburn at this time and it was thought that the work in Leyburn could be based around them.

The fellowship that had now been established in Scotton maintained a prayerful interest in Wensleydale whist continuing its own development. After the church at Scotton was constituted in 1991 they strengthened their link with Leyburn through four of its members who lived in Leyburn while attending the church at Scotton.

In 1992 a meeting of evangelical church leaders met regularly to share their concern for Wensleydale. These meetings prayed for Wensleydale and considered how they might put this concern into action. In 1993 a monthly evangelistic Bible study began in Leyburn Community Centre. Then in 1995 Sunday evening services commenced in the Community Centre these were sponsored by Scotton Evangelical Church. At this time the church at Scotton was acting as part of the committee of churches responsible for the work in Leyburn. However in September 1998, Scotton Evangelical Church assumed sole responsibility for the work. The church at Scotton now needed to find a Minister to lead the work and help establish the church in Leyburn. However, to take on a full time Minister was a big decision for the church. It was committing itself to calling a man to the pastorate with no certainty of how to support him. There were doubts expressed by members how they would achieve the support of a Minister. It was obvious that the income of the church would not be sufficient. despite this the church believed it to be right to search for a Minister and so they took the step of faith and started looking. Eventually their search led them to approach Noel Ramsey to explore with him the possibility of becoming Minister of the church. After this step of faith things happened very quickly. Within three weeks thanks to generous offers of help from other Churches and Christians the church had enough money to support Noel for two years. In December 1998 the church called a members meeting to explore the way forward and by the end of that meeting the church unanimously called Noel to the pastorate of the church. Noel agreed to this gracious invitation and took up his duties in March 1999. In time a suitable house was found for Noel in Leyburn, which again helped with establishing the church.