Members and friends from Frodsham Methodist Church were fortunate enough to be invited by Matt Ollier, Director of Ollier Smurthwaite Architects, to be presented with a time capsule from 1876 inserted into the original Bourne Primitive Methodist Chapel, on Main St, Frodsham. The time capsule was found behind a stone in the front of the building as contractors were making room for parking space under the main Chapel building.
Reverend Denise Harding, Minister in Pastoral Charge of Frodsham Methodist Church, and Rev'd. Bernard Dodd, retired Minister living in Frodsham, were presented with the time capsule on the steps of the sensitively converted Chapel. Rev'd. Bernard Dodd was able to show those present that he still had possession of a Preaching Plan from 1961 showing that he preached there for the Sunday School Anniversary in that year. Rev'd. Bernard said “It has brought back memories of the previous life of the Chapel, and my preaching here”. Within the sealed glass jar was to be found a copy of the Warrington Guardian dated 18th November 1876, a Primitive Methodist Journal of Denominational and General News dated November 16th 1876, and on the back of a printed Preaching Plan from 1876 was a hand written list of the Trustees of the new Chapel, with the names of the architect and builder too.
Rev'd. Denise Harding was also able to share something of interest with the architects, and with Andrew Hayes of Your Move Estate Agency of Frodsham. This was an original parchment of the mortgage deeds dated April 1877 between the Marquis of Cholmondeley and the Trustees listed in the time capsule. This mortgage was in the amount of £400, and indicated a 999 year lease on the land the Chapel was to be built on, with an annual rent of £3.14.4 to be paid twice yearly. Andrew was fascinated by the indenture that was shown to him “We just don’t see history like this anymore since the registration of properties and land at the Land Registry. These documents often have no legal purpose any more, but are fascinating historical documents, particularly for the people of Frodsham as some of the names of the Trustees are local well known surnames”.
Since 1987 the Chapel has been in use as offices, until the last couple of years when plans have been progressed for the conversion of the building into four town houses – two in the main Chapel building, and two in the rear Schoolrooms. This has been done by the architects and builders in a thoughtful manner, trying to reflect something of the history of the building as a simple and beautiful Primitive Chapel.
Rev'd. Denise commented: “We are very grateful to Matt Ollier and the contractors at Bourne Chapel for taking the time to contact Frodsham Methodist Church in order to hand over this very precious piece of Methodist history. The way that the Chapel has been converted is a credit to the Architects, and I am sure the town houses will prove to be lovely homes for people in Frodsham. We pray that people will enjoy the building as much as previous members have done for over 100 years.” Although the Methodist tradition in Frodsham in the past was segmented between Primitive, Wesleyan and United Methodists, the current Frodsham Methodist Church is a very happy uniting of Bourne Primitive, Five Crosses Wesleyan, Trinity Wesleyan and Union United Reformed Church.
It is anticipated that the items from the time capsule will eventually find their new home at the national museum to Primitive Methodism at Engelsea Brook near Crewe. This will mean that people will be able to visit and see the items on display (as well as lots of other fascinating pieces of Methodist history). See http://www.engleseabrook-museum.org.uk/ for more information. Before this happens though, local Frodsham folk are invited to drop into Frodsham Methodist Church Hall on Saturday 23rd November between 1pm and 4pm to take a look at the time capsule and to have a cuppa and catch up with others.
One of the younger members of Frodsham Methodist Church was very excited about the finding of the time capsule. Ella Carter is a pupil at Manor House Primary School in Frodsham, and with her classmates is currently undertaking a historical study of Grace Darling from the 19th century. Ella was thrilled to be able to hold a time capsule which was hidden in the same century as Grace Darling’s life, take some photos of the materials inside it, and has included these in the school assignment to be presented to her class.
Rev'd. Denise Harding
Earlier this year a group of people from Frodsham Methodist Church travelled to Wrexham Methodist Church to listen to the Carnival Band, who performed half of their concert in the Church and half in a local tavern! They performed many hymns from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century in the style in which they would probably have originally been sung, followed by perhaps more bawdy songs in the tavern. In their words they hope to ‘capture the enthusiasm and enjoyment which they evidently brought to their music making’ when these hymns and songs were written.
The concert was thoroughly enjoyable, and certainly to be recommended. It was also very informative as we were told some of the history of the hymns and songs.
Until about 1700 congregations sang mainly metrical psalms. Much religious poetry was written, such as John Bunyan’s ‘Who would true valour see’, but it was not intended to be sung. Watts began to write hymns, which as they were not strictly based on scripture, gave more freedom of expression. John and Charles Wesley became interested in this and made hymn singing an important part of their ministry.
The Methodists soon began to write new tunes for their hymns, often in a quite secular style, such as they would hear at the theatre, pleasure gardens or even the taverns. The hymns were expressions of personal thought and feelings in emotional language. The new tunes were varied, vital and original. Many were written by professional musicians, such as Samuel Stanley (who also kept a tavern) but others were written by ordinary people who had no training in music. Small groups of men were formed to improve the singing, and gradually children and eventually women were allowed to join these choirs, with instruments such as clarinets, violins, flutes and guitars being added later.
In 1761 John Wesley produced his ‘instructions for singing’
I Learn these tunes before you learn any others.
II Sing them exactly as they are printed here without altering or mending them at all …
III Sing ALL. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can.
IV Sing LUSTILY and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead,
or half asleep: but lift up your voice with strength …
V Sing MODESTLY. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of
the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony.
VI Sing in TIME. Whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor
stay behind it, and take care not to sing too slow ….
VII Above all sing SPIRITUALLY. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at
pleasing Him more than yourself or any other creature.’
Now there’s something to think about next Sunday!
As 0930live! continues to thrive, we have recognised that there is now a group of older children – most of whom have been coming since it started nearly ten years ago – who need the opportunity to take a more active role. So this year we have started a new initiative called Young Minds, which is for anyone in Year 6 and above. The group meets immediately after the service in the Quiet Room, where there are bacon butties and drinks provided, and it is an adult-led session. It’s envisaged that it will be discussed-based as well as looking ahead to future 0930live! services, giving them a chance to prepare drama or short films for inclusion in the service. If you feel you would like to get involved in helping to lead this group occasionally, then please let me or one of the team know.
In order to be able to plan for Young Minds effectively, we have set the themes for 0930live! right up to Christmas! The general subject is ‘Living the Jesus Way’ and we will be looking at how we should welcome people (even those we don’t like), the stories of the lost sheep and coins, how we should manage our money and possessions, how important words are and how we shouldn’t use God’s name inappropriately, how Jesus said we are like salt and light to the world, and how we are not to judge others. All quite challenging stuff, but central to being a Christian.
At the start of the summer holidays, a group from 0930live! went back to Beeston to camp, on what was one of the hottest days of the year. You can imagine our concern when we discovered that none of the fridges or freezers were working, and then the drains blocked and we were without sanitation…!
Fortunately Rev'd. Denise had joined us in her caravan, whose facilities she generously shared! The camp was another success and there was a great mixing of ages, with the obligatory walk to the ice cream farm on the Saturday.
Next year we are considering getting a group together to go to Greenbelt, which is over the August bank holiday; more information will follow regarding this.
Community & Schools Worker
I was at District Synod yesterday and the Methodist Church is asking each church to review what they do and focus on what their Christian presence means in their communities. I feel excited about the future and the new ideas being prayed and thought about at our Church at this time. May we listen, and may God guide our ideas, and inspire us to share the love he has for each of us with one another.
Messy Mice has started again after the summer holiday on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month and, as we have said goodbye to the children who have started school/pre-school, we welcomed new children and babies in September.
Messy Church is on the 3rd Friday of each month from 5-7pm. The next one is 18th October, then 15th November. On 13th December from 5-7pm it is our Messy Christingle.
Our new group for the 20’s to 40’s age range is starting on the last Monday of each month. Meeting for the first time at the Manse at 8pm in October. We need to think up a name for the group yet but the idea is to have a time for people to get to know each other better and to spend a short time thinking about a Christian topic. We are hopefully running the group during the day once a month for those who find the evening difficult. Watch this space!
Pippa and I are pleased to be continuing our time in both The Manor and Weaver Vale primary schools and thank the heads and staff for their support. My prayer is that God works with and through us to bring the right message to the children and staff in the coming weeks.
Toddlers are holding a Children’s Toy and Clothes Good as New Sale on Saturday 5th October in aid of the Women’s Maternity Hospital in Liverpool. One of the children who comes to Toddlers was born at 24 weeks and the hospital looked after him and his parents until he was ready to come home. If you need more information about selling items please ring or text Andrea on 07749877823.
Advance notice ... There is to be a Christmas Holiday Club on Monday 23rd December from 10-3pm at Frodsham Methodist Church. More details to follow.
As ever the activities we run at Church cannot happen without a team of people involved and I thank all who already help. Please, if you have time and would like to help at any event, come and speak to me. The tasks are varied and the more people involved the better the event.
Young Family Worker
As we continue in this new Methodist year, I've been reflecting on the past, and how we deal with it.
All too often we can immerse ourselves in the past, and use those memories to affect what we think of the present, and what we do in the present. In our past, the grass was always greener, the summers were always dryer, our churches were fuller, summer nights were always longer……and yet we have to accept that we are where we are now, today.
Things are not as they used to be. Life is different in so many respects, including within the church. For some it is a welcome change, and for some it is quite disturbing. I am excited about all the untapped potential within Frodsham Methodist Church - of wonderful faithful people. I am excited as we go forward, at all that God is leading and calling us to, as we seek to encourage one another.
In these first few weeks of September, I have rejoiced in
The new members welcomed at 0930 Live!
The lovely work carried out to the church interior, and the constant work in the garden, to show the church in all its beauty (thanks to so many people)
The wonderful friendships and relationships developed through the camping weekend (maybe bonding together in adversity - just ask someone who was there!!)
Fun relaxed social events giving time for chat and laughter
New ideas for all the church, and particularly to address 'gaps' in our church life, including in our learning and growing together
The willingness and vision of new people as part of our Leadership - Alun Evans, Doris Cairns, Alan Carter, Bev Carter, Andrea Ellams, Elizabeth Holmes.
The excitement of starting my second year with you all, after your loving welcome and support through a difficult first year.
and many other things………
A few years ago, one of the speakers at Greenbelt reflected on this passage from Philippians 4:8 –
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Let us look at what we have, and celebrate that, and perhaps even more than that - let us use our energies to encourage, to build up, to commend, to comfort, to support and to welcome. When we see visitors or new members in our church building, let us go out of our way to make sure that they feel welcome, and at home in our premises. Let us be tolerant of noise or things we are not used to. Let us make people want to come back, to belong even!
Let us encourage those that work in any setting with our children and young people, so they can do the very best for our young people today.
Let us look for what is good, let us look for what is pleasing to God, and let us reflect on these things, and look to praise and encourage wherever we can.
Let us also continue to pray for each other and pray for the mission of our churches. Let us stand alongside each other in encouragement and love, so that we can help God build the kingdom with us as his workers.
Thank you all, and God bless you,
Rev'd. Denise Harding
Blog posts written by the Minister and Members of Frodsham Methodist Church.