The first Labour Church was founded at Manchester in October 1891 by a Unitarian minister, John Trevor. Five principles were adopted. The service included the Lord's Prayer, hymns social in character, readings from Whitman, Emerson, Lamennais, Lowell, Whittier, Ruskin, Carlyle, and Maurice, and an address. In 1892 the Labour Prophet was started, and the Labour Hymn Book and tracts were published.
Soon the Church expanded to other towns including Birmingham, Bradford, Bolton, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Oldham, Plymouth and Wolverhampton. In July 1893, a Labour Church Union of 14 churches was organized. By the next November there were 24 churches. Some of these churches were formed in a direct response to another church, or church minister, in the town promoting liberal views. Within five years of the first Labour Church there were over 50. The Labour Churches were at that time attracting between 300 and 500 members to each congregation.
After John Trevor left in 1900, the Labour Church began to decline. At the annual conference of 1909, held in Ashton-under-Lyne, the name “Labour Church” was changed to “Socialist Church”. However, by the beginning of World War I the recently renamed Labour Church had disappeared.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Labour Church, The". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 6.
- Labour Church, Spartacus Education, Retrieved: 9/11/2013
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Labor Church". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
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