We feel the video gives you a real glimpse of the life of our church and much of what God has been doing here over the past four years, but we've also included a brief history of the church in the words of Pastor Steve Robinson:
Ramilies Road Church was planted in the early 1930s, through the prayers of two faithful men who wanted to see a Gospel witness in and around the Penny Lane area of Liverpool. The church began in one of their homes and slowly began to grow. In 1945 they bought an old welsh congregational chapel on Ramilies Road for £500 and from that point on, the church were able to engage more within the community through children’s work. The church grew and in the 1960-70s the children's sunday school had to meet in a local school hall as they had out grown the building and many students attended the church services on a Sunday.
In the early 1980s new churches were planted in Liverpool and gradually the students and young families started to move and be part of these churches. The leaving of families also coincided with a growing reluctance by some within Ramilies to change as the culture and community began to change around them and preferences regarding worship style, community outreach, etc became hard fast principles. As a result this saw a rapid decline in numbers, and by 2008 all the young families had left and a small core of only 15-20 people remained. This core was made up of faithful, Jesus loving people and a small number of people that were blocking any change, or movement forward. The church was in a situation where they (in their own words) ‘were burying more than they were baptising” and were moving towards a “last one alive turn off the lights” scenario.
This caused the three elders at the time, three humble, Gospel men to put into place a process to deal with the situation, so they began to pray, speak with others and explore different options. Whilst this was happening at Ramilies Road, my wife Sian and I were exploring a number of different options for full-time word-based ministry, and had been approached by churches in Liverpool, Scotland, the Isle of Man and London, but through this period our heart for Liverpool and my conviction and vision for training men and planting churches began to become clearer and we believed that it was right for us as a family to remain in Liverpool and plant a church.
After spending some time with a church planter in London, we returned to Liverpool and I wrote a paper to my fellow elders at the church we were serving in at the time. The paper outlined amongst other things models and approaches to church planting and also a section on church replanting and I listed a number of churches that we as a church could approach to offer support, help etc and Ramilies Road Church was on the list. The paper caused a few conversations to happen amongst the eldership but didn’t really go anywhere, so Sian and I just continued to pray and wait on God for the right opportunity.
About a month after I had written the paper I received a phone call from one of the elders at Ramilies Road Church asking me to meet with them. I had visited Ramilies Road Church about a year prior to this time, to talk with them about different opportunities for community engagement with the Christian charity that I had been working for at the time, so I thought that it was a follow on contact from that meeting. When I arrived they shared with me their history and situation and their heart for gospel change. They then asked me, “Steve, what would you do if you came to lead us?”
As I was totally unprepared, I stumbled through, sharing my heart and sharing a general vision that I tried my best to apply to Ramilies as the three men sat and listened. When I had finished, they thanked me and then asked if we could meet again the following week, so I agreed. During that week the elders at Ramilies met together a number of times and spent time talking over and praying through their situation and what I had shared and when I met with them the following week, the first thing that they said was “Steve, we would like you to come to Ramilies as our pastor and help us start again."
As much as I could see the gospel heart in these men, I needed to know and clarify what they meant by change. I had seen in the past men going to lead churches who said they wanted to change, but really all they wanted was someone to manage the status quo. I wasn’t prepared to do that, so we started to talk about a team coming with me and for two of those team members to become elders, which excited and moved the men to tears of joy. At that moment, I knew that this was where God wanted us to be, and when Sian met with the elders and their wives and saw their hearts for the Gospel and the lost she was convinced also.
So in November 2009 Sian, my kids and I and a team of 15 people from different churches partnered with the people at Ramilies Road Church and replanted. Since that time we have seen lots of change and gospel growth; a number of people have come to Christ and a number have come back to him. We have five Gospel communities that meet in different communities around the area of the church and we have on average approximately 100 people including children coming together each week to our Sunday gathering.
It is wonderful and humbling thing to see the faces of the original elders as they see God’s faithfulness and the gospel at work in such an amazing way. In April 2012 Ramilies Road Church changed its name to Cornerstone Church, and we are continuing to impact our community and grow as a church. We're looking forward to seeing what God will do in this next chapter of the life of our church. In 2013 Cornerstone Church planted Cornerstone Church Wirral, and in 2018 Cornerstone Church planted Liberti Church Lark Lane.