Our History

Wellspring Community Church was previously known as Sharon Pentecostal Church and before that, Sharon Tabernacle, from its beginning in the middle of the 1930s. It was born out of a home group that had started in the home of a godly couple, Jimmy and Annie Benson, who lived on the Lightbowne Road, Moston. Mrs Benson had been miraculous healed of curvature of the spine and attended Bethshan Tabernacle in Longsight, but her heart was to win the people of Moston and Newton Heath to Christ. So, in the mid 1930s, she organised an evangelistic campaign in a hall in Newton Heath and as a result of people coming to Christ, a church was formed which became known as Sharon Tabernacle. The church then joined in fellowship with the Assemblies of God. They soon found premises above a garage in Fletcher Street, Newton Heath. From then on, it was referred to as ‘The Upper Room’. The pastor appointed at the time, was Fred Sharples. A short time afterwards they went to Holland as missionaries and were caught up in the horrors of WWII and were sent to a concentration camp for a time. Fred Sharples was followed by Alan Benson. His time in Sharon was a bit of a stopgap as he was preparing to go to China as a missionary. It was here he suffered greatly as a prisoner of the invading Japanese forces but was later released and he returned home. After the war, the Sharples returned to Sharon for a short period, and they were warmly welcomed.

In wartime Britain things were hard, but the people of Sharon continued faithfully to serve God. Towards the end of the war the owner of the building gave them notice to quit but they prevailed on him to let them stay. The resulting tussle with the owner ended in their being given an eviction notice with a subsequent court hearing. It even got into the Manchester Evening New which brought it to the attention of Moston Methodist Church who kindly offered them their school room free of charge.
Although they had already obtained a bit of land in Brendon Avenue to build on, they were trying to raise the cash. However, their eviction was the push they needed to start a building project. The pastor at this time was Trevor Williams.

As it was post-war Britain, erection of buildings, were restricted to necessary buildings which did not include churches, such as Sharon; they were not a priority. With persistence, they eventually got the necessary licence due to a petition and lobbying four Manchester MPs. The building licence stipulated it had to be built by voluntary labour and half of the material had to be second hand. There are many great stories of God’s provision during that time. Amazingly, it was built in just over a year. This is incredible considering it was all done by voluntary labour and often with very sparse and make-shift material. It was opened on 23rd November 1946 by Donald Gee, Chairman of Assemblies of God in Britain and Ireland.

Over the years the church has sought to uphold the evangelical gospel of Christ together with the Pentecostal testimony of God’s miraculous work through the cross of Jesus. It has sought to do this down the years through its people and the various pastors who have led the work. Significant work was done in the church in evangelism through Jack Skelton in the late forties and early fifties. Followed by the children’s and youth gifted ministry of Gerald Chamberlain with 250 children attending Sunday School and children’s meetings.

Gerald Chamberlain was followed by David Philips who serve for a few years to be followed by Paul Newberry in the late sixties and seventies. Paul was a notable leader and teach and encouraged the development of leaders in the church. His brother Simon did a great work as a teacher in North Manchester High School for Boys. He saw many young men come to Christ, some of whom are still in the church today and many in Christian ministry in other places. Most of these men mentioned have gone to their reward. There were other leaders and people during this time but there is little or no information on their time at the church. in the early 1980s, John Dukenfield was called as the pastor, but he only stayed a short time.

After being without a pastor for a couple of years, in 1983, Harry Letson was called to the pastorate of the Church and finished there with his retirement in 2013. During his long pastorate he was supported by his Dutch wife Henny. As far as can be ascertained, Paul Newberry and Harry Letson have been the longest serving pastors of the church. Paul served from 1967-1979 and Harry 1983-2013. During his pastorate Harry saw people saved, healed and filled with the Spirit. Also, during his pastorate, he obtained a B.A, M.Th. and Ph.D. from British Universities.

It was also in Harry’s time, in the mid1990s, the church changed its name and Trust Deed from Sharon Tabernacle to Sharon Pentecostal Church, in order to strengthen its charitable status of the church.
On his retirement in 2013, Harry handed the baton of pastoral responsibility to David Rigby. David had been working in Australia when he came to Christ, then returned to England. After doing several jobs, he joined the Greater Manchester police and left there to go to Mattersey AoG Bible College where he gained a B.A. and M.A.

In 2016, David proposed to the Council of Management a change to the name of the church to reflect a change of leadership and direction. After a lot of discussion, it was settled on David’s suggested name: Wellspring Community Church, Moston to reflect David’s vision to reach the community in whatever way possible and to see the church flourish in the things of the Spirit and an understanding of the Word of God, in order to learn his will and purpose for their lives.

Information provided by former pastor, Dr. Harry Letson