“Church without walls” call as Garrigill chapel closes

Date: Saturday 23rd October 2004

THE Methodist Church has witnessed to the truth of Christian gospel for 180 years at Garrigill, near Alston.

At a service of celebration and thanksgiving at Gatehead Chapel a final act of worship there attended by members and friends of Alston Methodist Circuit, a positive note was struck, with an obvious feeling of deep sadness understandably associated with such occasions. However, Methodist witness will continue in the village since, as history shows, effective witness does not depend solely on a church building.

The congregation of people from near and far, many with a long association with the chapel since childhood, listened to words of gratitude and encouragement from the Rev. David Emison, chairman of Cumbria District of the Methodist Church.

Positive themes were woven into the service, which was led by the superintendent minister, the Rev. Raymond Cummins, who also preached on God’s faithfulness and promises in times of change.

Readings were given by Mrs. Anne Cummins and John Elliot, a circuit steward for many years. Prayers were led by the Rev. Mary Dow, focusing on the worldwide Church which was experiencing persecution and troubles far greater and reminding all of the need to be the “Church without walls”.

Also remembered was long-standing loyal member Miss Annie Stephenson, absent due to illness. Hymns were accompanied on the organ by David Pepin, in Mrs. Sheila Bell’s absence.

HISTORIC OCCASION

Among those present on the historic occasion were friends from the Anglican churches of Alston Moor with their vicar, the Rev. John Hardy.

A collection was taken for ongoing new work of the Methodist Church in Garrigill and Alston Moor and a most enjoyable tea was served by members led by Mrs. Bessie Armstrong, Mrs. Margaret Bramwell, Mrs. Ann Davidson, Mrs. Muriel Green and Mrs. Sheila Hetherington. Stewards were Walter Davidson, Cecil Green and Roland Hetherington.