Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Rudyard Kipling and the chapel with five walls

Wath Chapel
 Wath Chapel in the Pateley Bridge Circuit has 5 walls. It also has links with Rudyard Kipling whose grandfather was once minister here. When I visited the chapel on Monday I asked why it was shaped this way because it is not a regular pentagon. The answer was simple and pragmatic - this was the shape of the piece of land that was given in 1859.

The Methodists wanted to use all the space and so shaped the chapel to the land.

The people here have plans to do the necessary work to enable visitors to enjoy quiet days and other activities here. There is a lot of work to be done but also a lot of commitment and already they have people wanting to come for a writing course in the spring of next year. The members of this tiny and unusual chapel have reimagined its future and are committed to God's mission.
Inside Wath Chapel, from the balcony
Pateley Bridge Methodist Church
Wath is one of the Methodist churches that are part of The Church in the Dale. This is an ecumenical partnership between Methodist, Anglican, United reformed Church and Catholic churches in Nidderdale. In this rural area they do all they can together and concentrate on what is possible not on the things that cannot yet be done. I met some representatives from the churches in Pateley Bridge Methodist Church.
I love the glass communion table in Pateley Bridge MC. Yes, that is a space rocket on the left, they had all age worship here on Sunday.
This church has been refurbished and now offers hospitality to many different groups in the community. One of their very successful activities has been the Easter Journey which involved children from many schools who came to the church to participate in the Easter story as they moved from scene to scene around the church. In this rural area, children travelled from villages several miles away and sometimes the whole school came as one group of about 30 children. This gave a particular challenge as the age range was very wide. The church is planning to offer the Easter Journey again next year and the bookings are already coming in!

Some of the leaders of The Church in the Dale
Lay leadership is very important in The Church in the Dale and a strong lay leadership means that relationships do not depend on those between the ordained personnel. The strength and commitment of lay ladership was very evident in the third church I visited, Glasshouses Methodist Church. The original chapel has been sold and converted into a house and the church hall is now a comfortable, bright and welcoming worship and community space.

Glasshouses. The old church is on the right and the refurbished church on the left.
 Several diverse activities that take place here including sword dancing and an art group. The book club is meeting next month to discuss The Great Gatsby and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (both books I would recommend!).
The regular lunch club is run by Audrey. She and her friend Olive are both farmers, Olive still looking after a flock of 30 sheep and so especially busy in the lambing season.
Lunch with the people at Glasshouses. Olive and Audrey are on the right and Rev Liz Smith, Chair of the Leeds District on the left.
This church, the only one in the village is at the centre of the community, engaged in contextually appropriate mission. It was a pleasure to visit them in this beautiful dale where ecumenism is regarded as the normal way of working and glimpses of glory are around every corner.

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