A Pendleside church is opening its doors to the public next weekend for those who want to reconnect, remember or reminisce.
Wheatley Lane Inghamite Church is holding an open invitation day on Sunday, May 15th, to anybody who has attended services in the past, has family buried there, got married at the church or has a general interest in having a look around the historic building and its grounds.
The fellowship was founded in 1750 by Benjamin Ingham (1712-1772) who was an itinerant preacher from Ossett near Leeds.
Wheatley Lane was the first church built by Ingham and his followers and is the only one remaining in the country.
The church’s foundation stone was laid on May 1st, 1750 and Mr Ingham preached his first sermon on Christmas Day 1750 in a church of his own.
Even today, the church is going strong, if not getting stronger according to church secretary and trustee Wendy Gillan.
She said: “We are having an open day to try and get as many people as we can to come back and have a general get together.
“It’s a lovely church. It’s at least 260 years old and the church yard is the largest in the county which we maintain on our own. It has over 28,000 buried there including Thomas Whitham, who was awarded the Victoria Cross.
“The congregation is growing and we get people from across the area. It’s flourishing, we have 60 in the fellowship which is excellent for a small church.
“We have done a lot of marriages at the church and it’s always nice to see people come back. A lot of work has been done at the church too.”
The weekly Sunday service will begin at 10-30am on May 15th and refreshments will be served after it. The open day will start in earnest from 12 noon onwards.
The church also opens its doors on Saturdays between 2pm and 4pm.
Call the Rev. Matthew Butler on 613598 or Wendy Gillan on 868588 for further information.