Leeds Church Institute was founded in 1857 by the Vicar of Leeds, Dr Walter Hook. Victorian Leeds was a place of considerable contrast between industrial affluence and urban poverty. LCI for some time flourished as a place of lively debate at the interface between the church and contemporary society, as a library resource for members, and a place of learning for young people.
In the last 20 years, LCI has become ecumenical. It has worked with and alongside other faith communities, to develop community cohesion and social justice. In the last 5 years this work has informed our more educationally focussed development plan.
The celebration of our 150th birthday in 2007 was held in Oxford Place Methodist church and was addressed by Dr Alison Elliott, the first lay woman moderator of the Church of Scotland. Various seminars and events promoted understanding of the contribution made by the wider church community to the life of the city as a whole.
Further details of our history until the year 2000 is documented in an excellent book by Alastair Mason from the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of Leeds. This can be obtained on request from LCI and makes interesting reading.