HISTORY OF WELLSPRING METHODIST CHURCH
The adventure of Wellspring Methodist Church developed as a response to the needs of Mossley Methodist Church, near to the Castle Inn, and Kinsey Street Methodist Church in the centre of town.
Despite various initiatives which included a major building alteration designed to make the place more amenable to modern worship, Mossley had struggled to develop. Its premises were still too restricted in size, there was no room for expansion, and it was adjacent to the busy main road which had to be negotiated in order to get to parking near the Castle Inn, right on the dangerous bend: very off-putting to parents with young children as well as to the elderly.
Kinsey Street Methodist Church itself was a very large statement of a building which was too expensive to maintain, a far cry from Primitive Methodist chapels of the early 19th century which were built as 4-cottage units, easy to maintain and readily re-cycled into homes if needs be. The congregations at both churches saw the need to change in order to meet the demands of the modern age in developing a range of activities in the week and a more modern form of worship which would be attractive to young families: the church of the future. After much prayer and discussion both congregations agreed that this could only be achieved by a joint venture in a new building on a new site!
After investigations of sites at Hightown and Highcroft a suitable plot was offered opposite the War Memorial Hospital. A deposit of £22,000 was needed to secure the land and it had to be paid within a very tight deadline. In one marvellous Gift Day this and money to spare was donated but it was with some trepidation that a group of church officials took the step of faith in signing documents that they would personally guarantee that balance of £140,000 would be paid.
The architect, John Carter, asked the congregation to devise a function plan for the use of the new building, and under the inspired leadership of Mike and the Rev. Margaret Eaton work commenced.
There was to be welcoming lounge leading to an accessible worship area capable of being used flexibly and fully visible to passers-by; a purpose-built children’s room with wet area; an activity hall with sports floor, and a Third Age Room suitable for use by those who look after the vulnerable and the elderly, such as Day Care, all within a building designed to be environmentally efficient.
Fund-raising events were fun but there was no way of raising £503,000 in three years other than by sacrificial giving: holidays were sacrificed and insurance policies donated. But it was all worthwhile when the first service was held at Christmas 1993 with a grand official opening a month later. People of all ages were attracted to the church and its membership has steadily increased. The church and its building are well equipped to move forward to meet the needs of the 21st century.