Reproduced from a booklet produced in 1985
THE PEOPLE AND THE BUILDING
1885 to 1985
“With our own ears we have heard about it, 0 God, our ancestors have told us about it, about the great things you did in their time, in the days of long ago”.
It is a humbling experience to write this preface to the brochure when I consider the long succession of worthy ministers who have served this church over a period of one hundred years.
It is also inspiring to read the history of this church which began with the vision of those early Methodists and had its humble origin in a room in Pot Green.
When we were planning the centenary celebrations a number of members asked me why the inscription above the front entrance refers to the ‘Free Methodist Church’, so perhaps the major part of the space allotted to me could be used answering this question.
After the death of John Wesley in 1791 the question of giving more power to the local churches and establishing a more democratic procedure in making decisions affecting whole denomination was a burning issue throughout the whole Connexion. The Conference of 1795 formulated a ‘Plan of Pacification’ with the object of correcting some defects in the constitution and conferring important privileges upon the local churches. In 1797 it extended this plan with what are known as the ‘Leeds Concessions’, one of which stated that no regulations will be finally confirmed till after a year’s consideration by the whole denomination.
At the Conference of 1834 it was proposed to establish a theological institute and this was put into effect without giving it the required year in which the local churches could consider the matter. Those who dissented from this action assembled at Conference the following year and after all hope of reconciliation was abandoned the Wesleyan Association was established as a separate and distinct Methodist organisation. Other reformers amalgamated with the Association to form in 1857, the United Methodist Free Churches.
Free Methodism was introduced into Bury and Methodism at Holcombe Brook was formed from that denomination.
In 1932 various branches of Methodism united to create our present Methodist Church.
This brochure contains only part of what God has done through our forbears in the extension of His Kingdom, much sacrificial service will never be published in this life as many saintly people will have gone to their reward with their work recorded only in heaven.
I would be failing in my duty if I did not record thanks to Mrs. Kitty Hoyle for the many hours of unstinted service she gave compiling this brochure, and to the other members of the centenary committee who gave general oversight to its production.
We give thanks for the past, but live in the present and must plan for the future. Today we have a church with strong lay leadership, spiritual perception, and a vision for the future. We have spent nearly £12,000 this year refurbishing the sanctuary, £5,000 of which was raised at one gift day, so we go forward into the next century of witness and service with confidence not only in God who guides and strengthens, but also in a people who arc willing to be led and equipped by Him.
God bless you all,