Stephen Kneale



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about the church

Oldham Bethel Church is an FIEC church in the Glodwick area of Oldham. The town has recently been described by the ONS as ‘the most deprived town in England’ and the Church Urban Fund rank our area as 41 out of 12382, where 1 is the most deprived. Our council ward is ranked 154 out of 7180 wards in England using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation, placing us among the top 10% deprived wards in the country. Glodwick is almost exclusively South Asian in makeip and the street where the church building sits was the epicentre of the 2001 Oldham riots. The largest mosque in the borough is c. 200 metres behind our church, with many more dominating the area. We are, however, also on the edge of the town centre and, separated only by a park, a predominantly white council estate.

Our church reaches three broad groups of people: asylum seekers (mainly from Iran and Afghanistan), South Asian Muslims (mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh) and white indigenous Oldhammers. We function bi-lingually, with our main operating language in English and translation taking place into Farsi.