Lightbowne Evangelical Church (LEC) was set up in 1900 (its Sunday School had begun the year before), by a group of former parishioners of St Mary’s, Moston, when that parish church had followed the Tractarian movement and had become decidedly Anglo Catholic.
A Trust Deed of 7th September 1903 vested the land which had been conveyed (by Elizabeth Ada Martin, wife of deceased founder member John Richard Martin) and premises erected with voluntary contributions of the former parishioners, in Trustees, drawn from their number (Messrs. T.G. Wrigley and J.Mottershead to Messrs. T Hayward, J.T. Hibbert and others). That Indenture made provision that when the cost of acquiring, building, furnishing, and equipping the trust premises had been raised, otherwise than by way of loan, the trustees would retire from the office of Trustee (but not of members of the Committee of Management), and for the Church Association to become the Sole Trustee and to hold the premises in Trust upon Church Association becoming a body corporate.
By a Deed of Appointment, dated 10th August 1939, Church Association Trust was appointed as Trustee (then along with one Samuel Hargreaves). Church Association Trust was renamed Church Society Trust in 1950. In 1996 a Charity Commission scheme transferred the assets of Church Society Trust to Church Society (but there is some uncertainty as to whether this included some unregistered charities).
The 1903 Indenture intended that worshippers at the Church shall be a Society of members of the Church of England, and it also laid down specific provisions to ensure that services and instruction would be according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England (the Church is supposed to use Anglican liturgy).
Church Society continues to act as Trustees for the Church and attached buildings. (The Manse is owned by a separate Trust, The Thomas Hayward Memorial Fund, with its own trustees). Church Society has the right to appoint the Minister.
LEC continues to operate as an Independent Evangelical Church, with its roots and traditions within the Anglican Church (there is no formal link with the diocese). It is a member of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (FIEC) and the Evangelical Alliance (EA).
Trust Deed (Indenture) of 7 September 1903
Deed of Appointment of 10 August 1939