Big changes for Methodist church circuit in the valley

The Methodist church in the upper Calder Valley is set for a major shake up.

Old Town Methodist Church, which has been battling against falling numbers for several years, will hold its final service on Sunday, August 18.

The superintendent Methodist minister of Hebden Bridge, Rev Tony Buglass, is leaving at the end of the month, with Rev Francis Neil combining his role at Stones Methodist Church, Ripponden, and St Paul’s Methodist Church, Sowerby Bridge, alongside Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd Methodist churches.

Lumbutts Methodist Church is due to close by the end of the year, with Todmorden circuit minister Rev Heather Taylor due to move to the Church of England.

Rev Taylor will be replaced by Rev Christine Perry, whose new circuit will include Lumbutts, Todmorden Central, Heptonstall, Blackshaw Head and Luddenden Foot URC.

Rev Buglass said: “Old Town has a small elderly congregation in a building that is too big for them. They have been struggling to go on for a while and now is the right time for it to close.

“Luddenden closed three years ago, which was due to dry rot. It’s almost certain that Lumbutts is going to close.

“We have known for a long time that we have far too many buildings for the number of people we have got and for the changing community we have got.

“We’re trying to focus our resources in the communities they’re needed. It’s why we spent a lot of money on the Central Methodist church in Todmorden.

“Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge and Blackshaw Head are doing a great job.

“The closures are part of the focusing process. It’s a bit tough for the folks who have worked all their lives to maintain a building and we need to refocus our efforts to where our buildings are needed.”