Central Methodist Church was an amalgamation of four churches and was formed in November 1981 following the closure over a number of years of Methodist churches in Brighouse.
© David Greaves, courtesy of the Calderdale Companion.
In 1949 there were eleven Methodist churches in Brighouse, including three within a few hundred yards of one another in the centre of the town. St Paul’s closed in 1949 due to the stress of declining numbers and increasing costs. Conversations about merging had been going on between the other town centre churches, however the Methodist structure got in the way.
In 1979 the circuit stewards began talks with all the churches in the circuit, with each asked to look closely at their mission and how they felt their church fitted into the community of Brighouse. This precipitated the closure of Zion Church in Hove Edge but the overall outcome was brought firmly into focus when the Circuit invited Rev Leslie Gregory to come to Brighouse as Superintendent, and help them sort things out.
Subsequently Park, Bethel, Lane Head and Trinity decided to meet to engage the issues of Methodist churches in the centre of Brighouse. Joint trustees and leaders worked hard into the night seeking a solution. Eventually the suggestion was made that the churches should merge whilst all the churches remained open.
Services were held in each church in turn and after much debate and the inevitable sorrow for some, it was decided that the new Central Methodist Church would base itself at the previously named Bethel. Meanwhile the people occupied Park for one year whilst modifications were made to the Bethel church.
The first united service was held in Park in autumn 1982 and the first service was held in the newly refurbished Central Methodist Church on Advent Sunday 1983. Rev Leslie Gregory retired that year with the grateful thanks of the Brighouse Methodist Circuit. A new minister, Rev David Calvert seemed to give things a new beginning. However a fire subsequently gutted the front of the Church in December 1984, damaging a glorious stained glass window, a marvellous pipe organ, pulpit and communion area.
Advent Sunday services that year were held in the school room as were services for the next twelve months. Ironically this drew the people closer together in tragedy, with all members feeling a joint sense of loss of their Church, bringing a new found sense of togetherness in the refurbished building. Advent Sunday 1985 saw the first service in what one can now see as the building called Central Methodist Church.
What you see now is one church and one united congregation.
Brighouse Central Methodist Church today