Amount awarded £50,000
The village of Horbury in West Yorkshire has historic links with Methodism, and John Wesley himself occasionally preached here. There were originally two Methodist chapels in the village, but by the twenty-first century only one remained, and it needed significant structural improvement. Having been built on clay, it was unstable and masonry was falling from the walls. After much discussion with the council, the consensus was that the church had to be rebuilt.
The building was demolished in 2012, and the congregation started fundraising in earnest to raise the funds to build a new home. Worship in the meantime took place in the church hall. “It wasn’t ideal,” says John Sudworth, Development Co-ordinator, “There was just one room, and that had to house the crèche, young people, worshippers and community groups.”
Following extensive fundraising, the building work started in September 2015. The congregation had to vacate the site completely, worshipping in a community centre half a mile or so away. When people at the community centre saw the warmth and fellowship, a number of them began attending the services and joining in with the activities too!
The new church slowly took shape, with separate rooms that could be used for worship and other functions, along with a corridor to make access easier.
The church was in a conservation area and materials were specialist and expensive. Methodist Insurance Fund was very pleased to be able to support this exciting project, awarding the church a grant. “It’s been an immense help,” says John, “They really helped us keep our heads above water.”
The resulting development is benefiting the congregation and the community alike. A number of community groups use the facilities, including dancing groups, karate clubs and historical societies. “People even say it has enhanced the look of the high street,” says John, “And it’s certainly encouraged more people to join us in worship or to use the space.”