Meltham Methodist Church is celebrating. This year it is 200 years since the building of the first Methodist Church here in Meltham.
Methodism first came to Meltham in the 1750’s; the first record of Methodists meeting together for worship is in 1795 when groups would meet in peoples’ homes. The first Methodist Chapel was opened in October 1819. The building was situated between two public houses and still stands today next to the current Church. By 1882 this building was too small for the numbers meeting there and in 1884 a magnificent new building was opened. It seated 800 people and on special services, such as the Centenary of 1919, it was so full that people would have to sit on the steps in the balcony.
However, faced with increasing maintenance costs and after much heart searching it was decided in the 1970’s to demolish the 1884 church and erect a smaller modern building in which we now worship. The original 1819 church was still being used for Sunday School classes and other activities until 1994 when the decision was taken to sell it and build a smaller hall on land at the rear of the church. The project was named BoBo; Building On Building Out; out into the local community.
Our Bicentenary has encouraged the members of the Meltham Fellowship to reflect on things that have taken place in our church, both in the past and at present. There has been a tradition of concerts, shows and pantomimes, youth groups and ladies meetings. If you fancy a game of Beetle come along on the first Tuesday of the month! Annually we take part in Meltham Scarecrow Festival and hold our own Christmas Tree Festival.
Our church is part of the community, we succeeded in building out. It is used for many local events from coffee mornings to children's parties. It hosts a Toddlers Group, Country Dancing, French classes, a Dementia friendly group, Weightwatchers, Friend to Friend lunches and many other one off events.
The friendship and fellowship of our Church is strong, we celebrate our faith each Sunday, meeting together to worship God. Although we no longer have 800 people at our anniversary we did fill our current building on Sunday 22nd June, when we celebrated our Bicentenary. Worship was led by Rev Denise Yeadon, who was a member of our church before being ordained into the ministry. We were joined by other Christians from Meltham Churches Together, an active force in our community. We had a wonderful day.
We continue to give thanks for those early pioneers of Methodism, our ministers who along the years have brought many different gifts to our church, for all those who were and are members of our fellowship and friends of our church, each adding their own particular talents.
We step forward in faith into the next 200 years!