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Newcastle Methodist Church

Ryecroft, Newcastle, Staffs  ST5 2AD
Tel: 612648
Minister: Revd John Palmer BA(Hons) ThMin



Church Profile

On Thursday 24th March 1768 John Wesley, the acknowledged founder of Methodism, recorded in his Journal: “I rode to Newcastle-under-Lyme (a river so called), one of the prettiest towns in England.  ...  The largeness of the congregation constrained me, though it was very cold, to preach in the open air, on ‘God commaneth all men, everywhere to repent’.  I scarce saw a more attentive, or better behaved, congregation.”  He visited again on several occasions each time preaching in the open-air until in 1778 he addressed his congregation “in the shell of the new house” in the Stubbs.

John Wesley died on 2nd March 1791.  Sadly the movement he founded began to fragment.  On 3rd August 1797 the Methodist New Connexion was founded in Ebenezer Chapel in Leeds and by 19th September 1797 a Society belonging to the New Connexion was to be found in Newcastle, meeting, in the first instance, in premises in Fogg (or Fog) Lane.  Within two years their membership was sufficient to warrant the building of their own premises and a site was purchased on 17th May 1799.  Another piece of land was purchased for the school, which was founded in October 1800.  A document of March 1803 records that the Chapel and School had been built on the land purchased and that a burial ground was attached to the Chapel, which “is called or known by the name Ebenezer”, probably taken from the Leeds Chapel where the New Connexion was formed.

Shortly after 1820 it was decided to extend their premises.  The Marquis of Stafford gave the land for a new School, and a yard at the back, adjoining the ground already belonging to Ebenezer.  The Chapel was subsequently enlarged and re-opened on 16th March 1823.  In 1826 the Trustees bought more land behind the Chapel and the cottage property on either side.  The Society continued to grow and by the middle of the nineteenth century the Trustees began to discuss plans for either reconstruction, or for a new building.  Land was purchased in 1857 and on 12th May the stone-laying ceremony took place.  The new Chapel was opened on Easter Sunday, 4th April 1858.  The building was a Chapel until 1897, when the Leaders decided “that to be more in accord with present-day sentiment and usage, this meeting deems it expedient to drop the use of the word Chapel and to substitute to word ‘Church’ therefor.”

If the nineteenth century was a century of growth, alongside fragmentation within Methodism, the twentieth century was, by contrast, a century of re-union in the face of steady decline.  In 1907 the Methodist New Connexion joined with the Bible Christians and the United Methodist Free Churches to form the United Methodist Church which in turn joined with the Primitive Methodist Church and the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1932 to form the Methodist Church as we know it today

Maintaining premises as extensive as Ebenezer was expensive and the consequent dilapidation was inevitable.  The possibility of a new Church began to be considered in the 1960s.  In July 1977 it was agreed to cease worship in the Church and transfer, temporarily, to the Assembly Rooms.  On 6th February 1978 the Church and adjacent land was sold. 

On 5th July 1980 the stone-laying ceremony of the present building took place and on 9th May 1981 the new Church was opened and re-named ‘Newcastle Methodist Church’.

Service Times: Sunday morning 11am.
                          Evening service joint with Cross Heath and Higherland meeting in
                          alternate venues.
                          Communion Service twice a month.
                          Monthly prayer 10.40 am.

Welsh Speaking Service each Sunday afternoon (in one of the meeting rooms)

Car Park: 15 spaces.

Premises: Large “Assembly rooms” connected to the church. Ground floor - kitchen, 3 meeting rooms, toilets.  Lift to upper floor-large kitchen, large hall and second smaller hall.  The Church also owns a small cottage adjacent to the church, which has been renovated for a rental income. (old caretaker’s cottage).
Worship Area: Main worship area for congregation 50 feet by 30 feet.  140 interlinking
chairs.  Fixed pulput.  Communion area and table (movable).

Numbers attending worship:  Average size of congregation 25-40, various ages but
generally in 40-90 bracket.  Very occasionally visiting families from Africa, Fiji and Portugal.
Worship Style: 
Traditional Methodist worship.

Music: Singing the Faith, Hymns and Psalms, Mission Praise, CD’S and taped music.

Multi- media: overhead projector and screen.

Children & Young People: None at present.

Midweek Activities: Women’s Fellowship, Men’s Fellowship, Bible Study, Ladies Evening Club.
The school rooms are used extensively throughout the week for;- Country Dancing, C3A, Mind, AA, kick boxing, keep fit groups, ballroom dancing and extra ad hoc meetings.

Each Saturday morning the down stairs kitchen and coffee bar offers refreshments for shoppers etc in town. OPEN from 9-12.


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