Barnard Castle Methodist Church's enthusiastic 125th anniversary organising committee.
Barnard Castle Methodist Church's enthusiastic 125th anniversary organising committee.

A HOST of activities are planned to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Barnard Castle Methodist Church this year.

Methodism in the town dates to 1747 when a small group of men and women met each evening in a house in Galgate to read the Bible and works of Methodism founder John Wesley, and to sing hymns and pray.

Methodist Wesleyan meeting places sprang up over the years, including the Hole-in-The-Wall meeting house, which ran from 1750 to 1765, and Broadgates Chapel, which was opened by John Wesley himself and operated from 1765 to 1894.

The New Chapel, in Wycliffe Yard, was opened in 1823 and operated until 1894.

The current building was opened on March 30, 1894.

Margret Wilson, of the church, said: “There was also a Primitive Methodist Church on Newgate, preceded by a small building in what is still known as Ranters’ Yard.

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“In 1932 the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists united and in 1974 the Newgate Chapel closed with members joining with Trinity in what is now known as Barnard Castle Methodist Church”.

Celebrations to mark the 125th anniversary began on Sunday, March 17, when the church welcomed past superintendent minister Revd Philip Clarke to speak.

On Sunday, May 19, the church will welcome Penrith Methodist minister Revd Tim Cooke. Mr Cooke is a former dale resident and was a trainee preacher in the Barnard Castle and Teesdale circuit.

An art and craft festival entitled A Celebration of Talents will be held from June 7 to June 9 and the full programme will include a special Sunday morning service led by Revd Bev Hollings. A former superintendent minister of the Barnard Castle and Teesdale Circuit, Revd Keith Pearce, has been invited to speak at the church on Sunday, September 15.

Vice president of the Methodist Conference, Prof Clive March will speak on October 13. The year's celebration will conclude on December 15 with a carol concert led by Barnard Castle Band.