What a great Church!
It has been very interesting listening to people who have been part of Upper Gornal Methodist Church for many years. A big thank you to Stan Fellows, along with Stella & Bryan Richens, who have been a great help in putting this webpage together. Thanks also to Glennis Pittaway for making available her archive of photographs and documents, some of which appear below.
As human beings we too easily take for granted the sacrifices and hard work that has gone into creating the Church we are part of today. The people are the Church, lead by God, but the lovely building that we call Church, has been formed and developed over several decades.
1832 - 1930
In many ways our Church is unique. This is because our history has been tracked back to 1832!
This is thanks to the research and hard work of Harold Hyde. Harold was Marian's husband and Sarah's father. The result of his work was Harold's booklet: "A Tale of two Chapels". As indicated on the front cover of Harold's booklet, we can read of Methodism's history in Upper Gornal.
Please click the link below to learn more:
History 1832 - 1930
Photograph - Harold Hyde
The above picture is from the 1910 Mount Zion Sunday School Anniverary.
Everyone is standing where our Church is now built, looking towards what would now be the the main entrance to our Church. In the background of the photograph, from the left is Spills Meadow Village, then St. Peters Church in the centre, and finally the Wesleyan Church on the right.
The picture does make you wonder how everyone went on to live their lives. Remember this photograph was taken just 4 years before the start of World War 1.
So far knowledge of this era is limited, but we do have some of Glennis's archive footage!
Please click links below:
1953 - Fancy Dress - Bryan Richens
1964 - Sunday School Anniversary
1967 - Preaching Plan & Directory
1970 - 1999
Interestingly, Zion Methodist Church was built upon what is now the Car Park of Upper Gornal Methodist Church. In 1971 Kent Street Methodist Church, whose building had been condemned (knocked down), merged with Zion Methodist Church. So, Kent Street’s congregation moved approximately 50 yards further up the road to worship at Zion Methodist. However, the land where Kent Street Methodist Church used to be located, has never been built upon because it was a grave yard.
After the merger, the then minister Eddie Smith launched the programme to build Upper Gornal Methodist Church. In 1978 the building we now sit in each Sunday was opened at a cost of approximately £66,000! The first minister of Upper Gornal Methodist Church was Paul Smith.
In 1982 the hall where Junior Church meet, and the vestry, were added to Upper Gornal Methodist Church. The cost to the Church was £40,000! However, this was a bargain even in 1982, as Manpower Services built the additional room extension to the premises at a favourable price.
Many changes have occurred since 1982. One of these changes happened when Rev. John Lloyd persuaded the Church to agree to moving the pulpit to where it is now. This meant that the congregation were geographically closer to the preacher.
Since 1972 I am reliably informed that we have had 8 ministers. In chronological order, they are: Eddy Smith (1972-1978), then Paul Smith, John Webster, Nick Holt, John Lloyd, Steve Levitt, Yvonne Haye and Jermima Strain. During this time, there have been two occasions when the Leadership Team have stepped-in as there has been no minister appointed.
Please find below more interesting documents from this era:
1977 - Centenary Youth Service
1990? - Trevor Amphlett + Arthur Bennett
1990 - Rev John Lloyd
2000 - 2015
Again, this is a work-in-progress section of this webpage. But there is still more interesting footage... thanks to Glennis!
2000 - Diane & Ian Robins
2000 - Stan Fellows, Dorothy & Ernie Carpenter
2008 - House Group
2008? - Group Photo
2012 - Circuit Who's Who
As a Church we aim to build upon the blocks formed and developed by previous Church congregations. To do this we need people like you to help in the further development as a Church serving God by caring for all people.