Bolton: Chew Moor Methodist Church to officially close

The congregation at Chew Moor Methodist Church say that the decision wasn’t made “lightly”, and that there have been “many tears”.

Minister and Reverend Hilary Howarth said that the main reasons for the church closing is due to the impact of Covid, with many members not returning.

The congregation is very small, with an average of only 14 members.

Hilary also says that finances have been very tight with fuel bills, and day to day running costs of the church and building repairs increasing.

Rev Howarth said: “The church, along with many other churches, has struggled since the pandemic and being closed for nearly two years was very difficult.

The Bolton News: The chapel as it used to be before the hall was addedThe chapel as it used to be before the hall was added (Image: Public)

“People who had been part of the church family before the pandemic didn’t come back to church.

“Lettings too didn’t recover so it’s been a hard journey.

“The members also haven’t got the energy they once had.

“The financial costs are also having a serious impact on the running costs of the church and building repairs, and we are struggling to find people to take on important roles in the church that are required to keep it going.”

Since the pandemic, the congregation has tried to reach out to the community and created a toddler’s group earlier this year.

The Bolton News:

But despite advertising and word of mouth only a small number of children with their carers came.

Rev Howarth added: “For all at Chew Moor the decision has not been taken lightly and we prayed together before voting to close.

“For some it has been part of their whole lives – others have been married in the church, brought their children to be baptised and have brought their loved ones for their funerals.”

Lay pastor Glen Atkinson has also helped Rev Howarth with the day-to-day running.

The church was built in 1856, extended in 1927 and in 1991 underwent a
refurbishment inside.

The final service will be on Easter Sunday, April 9 at 2pm.

Rev Howarth added: “We hope people will join us to remember all that has been good about the church over the years.”

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