Methodist Church (Closed November 2013)
Chapel Lane, Rolleston-on-Dove
Rollestonian Article - Winter 2013 Edition
Rolleston Methodist Church has a history dating back to the closing decades of the 18th Century. In those far-off times Methodists were meeting in a house in the village registered as a place of worship for Protestant Dissenters. In 1798 those early Methodists built a small chapel near the Alderbrook and then in 1893 they moved to the present building, a much larger chapel with a schoolroom, built on land kindly donated by Sir Oswald Mosley. With congregations regularly reaching seventy people plus and a Sunday School that at one point had over a hundred children, the church thrived and was for many years one of the hubs of village life.
Unfortunately recent decades have seen the congregation slowly dwindling, growing older and inevitably becoming less active. The Sunday School closed some years ago, followed more recently by the Women's Meeting, and the few remaining members of the church decided earlier this year that sadly the time had now come for the church itself to close. Regular Sunday worship ceased at the end of August, and on the afternoon of the 3rd of November this year a special service of thanksgiving was held, celebrating the church's history and thanking God for all its members and friends, past and present. May I say thank you to all those from the village and beyond who came along to support us at this final act of worship - your presence and your enthusiastic singing helped make it a much more uplifting occasion than might be imagined. The Revd. Mike Redshaw, the Methodist Superintendent, worshipped with us and his address, full of humour and optimism, certainly helped to raise the spirits of all present.
The remaining members of Rolleston Methodist Chapel have already begun to settle into other Methodist congregations at Main Street, Stretton and at Belvedere Road, Burton, though with somewhat mixed emotions I'm sure. Having struggled to keep the chapel and its worship going over the past few years they must be relieved that the struggle is now over, but their dominant emotion at the moment must surely be one of sadness. For folk who have invested so much of their life and energy into the Methodist Church here to see it come to an end must be heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. However, they should not feel that their efforts have been wasted. A great deal has been achieved, much has been learnt, many life-long friendships have been formed and the Christian faith has been shared with a great many people over the years. Well done!
So is this the end of Methodism in Rolleston? I think not. As Mike Redshaw reminded us in his closing address, "God is not done with us yet!" Rather, this is a time for praying, for seeking a new vision and asking, "What next for Methodism in Rolleston?"
Revd. Phil Poole
Last updated: 9 February 2014