Members of Barnoldswick’s Independent Methodist Church are calling on the town to attend a special service a week today to mark the completion of more than a decade of improvement works to the building.
The 121-year-old Grade II* listed Walmsgate church has undergone three phases of work across a 12-year period with English Heritage stumping up £250,000 in funding in that time, topped up with money out of church finances.
Church members had a mountain to climb in the 1980s and early 1990s when the chapel began to deteriorate rapidly.
Dry rot was discovered in the roof and ceiling, and because of the building’s listed status at the time, grants were not available and demolition would only be considered if the church became a danger to the public.
A decision was made to move to the Sunday School building next door, but Church President Jeffrey Pearson has described what happened next as “God moving in mysterious ways”.
In 1990, the church was given Grade II* listed status after Pendle Council’s successful application to upgrade its significance as it was the last Victorian chapel in Barlick.
The church would not apply for lottery funding because of its stance against gambling, but after years of English Heritage grant applications, setbacks and church fund-raising, work began in April 2004 and has been completed recently, minus heating installation and organ renovation which is still to do.
Mr Pearson said: “The formidable work of plaster patching, painting and decorating, electrical renewals and cleaning and polishing have been executed from 2011 to the present day by a wonderful team of skilled volunteer helpers and church members.
“This is a Thanksgiving service for the completion of renovation works to this beautiful Grade II* listed chapel which was deemed as at risk.
“The chapel can accommodate approximately 750 and to paraphrase the late Martin Luther King, I have a dream which is to see this building filled to capacity and I pray this event may go a long way to accomplish this.”
The Songs of Praise service in association with Hope Barlick will take place at 6pm in the Independent Methodist Church on Sunday, March 25th.