CHURCH leaders are preparing for a year-long diary of events to mark 200 years of unbroken worship at a Burnley church.

For two centuries Burnley United Reform-ed Church, in Bethesda Street, has welcomed congregations for regular services.

While the original 1814 building made way for a new chapel 65 years later, the site has been home to the church since wors-hippers relocated there from a room over a shop on St James’ Street.

And to celebrate their bicentennial, church elders have arranged a three-day flower festival, from July 4 to 5 with strawberry teas available on the Friday and Saturday (1pm to 3pm).

Burnley's Interfaith Choir, veterans of Songs of Praise and concerts in the Holy Land, will also be presenting ‘Singing for the Soul’ for visitors from 2pm on Saturday.

Church elder Colin Wills said: “We are having a year of special events to mark the 200th anniversary and using the opportunity to raise our profile.”

The churchgoers have taken the hymn ‘One More Step’ as their theme, with displays planned both ‘looking back’ and ‘looking forward’ being drawn up while a ‘200’ floral display will adorn the comm-union table.

Proposals are also in the pipeline for a community fair on Saturday, September 13, where a number of charities associated with the church will be given the chance to share in their work. This will be followed by a harvest service 24 hours later, led by the Rev Ron Lewis.

The following weekend the Rev Liz Jewitt, the URC’s minister, will conduct an anniversary service, which coincides with Back to Church Sunday.

And October 12, will see the Rev Richard Church, moderator of the North Western Synod of the URC, lead worship for Church Anniversary Su-nday.

The church has been home to a number of leading Burnley figures, including Rev John Stroyan, who formed a mission church for underprivileged children in 1869.