End of an era

Final service at Park Road Methodist Church. '''110612031 The final congregation gathers''Flashback Park Road
Final service at Park Road Methodist Church. '''110612031 The final congregation gathers''Flashback Park Road

The final service took place last Sunday at Park Road Methodist Church in Chorley.

The present church was built in 1978, to replace the original stonebuilt church of 1842.

The date stone built into the current building at ground level was originally part of the 1842 building, high up on the front façade.

After 169 years, the congregation has reduced to an unsustainable level, and those remaining will join Trinity Church congregation on Gillibrand Walks.

Almost 200 people attended the final service.

Afterwards there was a light lunch at Park Road, before some of the congregation set off to walk in the rain to the new venue at Trinity Church.

Some stops were made to say prayers, the at the park gates.

Rev Andrew Mashiter, who was minister at Park Road for almost seven years, said the move was regrettable, but unavoidable.

He said: “It was the end of an era, but it’s also the start of a new chapter as we join the congregation at Trinity. There were a few tears, but it was a thanksgiving for the life, fellowship and witness of the church.

“Generations have visited and we had people of all ages.

“Some of our teenagers did a performance. The service stretched to an hour-and-a-half, but nobody minded.”

The Park Road building will be sold, and the proceeds put towards redevelopment of Trinity Methodist Church.

Although it will cease to be a place of worship the Park building will stay open for the groups who meet there for the foreseeable future, including weight-loss clubs and dance sessions.

Architects have been appointed to undertake a remodelling of the Gillibrand Walks building, to create better access and flexibility.

There will also be audio-visual resources to be used by the church, community groups and for special events.

Building work is scheduled to start early in 2012 and be completed within a year.