|Rushden Echo 23rd February, 1900 transcribed by Gill Hollis
RUSHDEN INDEPENDENT WESLEYANS
OPEN THEIR NEW CHAPEL
During the last few years, in which the growth of Rushden has been so marked, the Free Churches of the town have well succeeded in their endeavours to meet the spiritual needs of the place. The Wesleyans, Congregationalists, Primitive Methodists, and last, but not least the Independent Wesleyans, have each erected new chapels. The Succoth Baptist Chapel has been restored, and the Old Baptists are now engaged in raising money for erecting a new place of worship. After the Independents left the Wesleyan connexion, a chapel was opened in the Backway, in 1852. In the year 1873 a permanent chapel and schools were erected in High-street, at a cost of about £1,000. In 1890 the Sunday School was so flourishing that new schools, costing £2,000, were erected in Queen-street, and soon after, the accommodation in the chapel became insufficient, and services were held in the new schools, it being considered that a new chapel could not just then be erected. In 1895 a mission-room an off-shoot of the church, was erected in Station-road, and at last, in September, 1898, the memorial stones of the recently-completed chapel were laid.
The new edifice, which is in the classic style, and stands in a good position in the High-street, was built by Messrs. Dickens Bros. of Rushden, the architects being Messrs. Preston and Wilson, of Rushden and Kettering. The chapel measures 45 feet by 65 feet, and has seating capacity for about 750. The organ and choir stalls are in the rear of the pulpit, the latter being presented by the architects. The organ, built by Messrs. Martin and Choate, is a fine one, with two manuals, 18 stops, and pneumatic tubular action to the pedals. The lighting arrangements and acoustic properties are good, and the heating apparatus was put in by Mr. A. Marriott, of Higham Ferrers. With the gallery excepted, the interior fittings are of pitch pine, the joinery work having been carried out by the Machine Joinery Works. Mr. A. T. Nichols, Rushden, and Messrs. Thomas and Potter, have done the plumbing and upholstery respectively. Altogether, the building is a splendid one, costing about £2,400, while the cost of the organ was £400.
THE OPENING CEREMONY
took place yesterday afternoon, when the Rev. Dr. Brown, of Bunyan Chapel, Bedford, was the preacher.
There was a large congregation. The service commenced with the singing of the hymn “All people that on earth do dwell,” after which the Rev. J. T. Stephens, of Wellingborough, read the lesson and offered prayer. The choir then chanted the Te Deum, and another hymn was sung, having been specially written for the occasion, the words by Mr. J. Mackness, and the music by Mr. J. E. Smith. Mr. Smith efficiently presided at the organ.
Dr. Brown took for his text Matthew 12. vi., “But I say unto you that in this place is one greater than the temple.” After referring to the Temple of the Jews, Dr. Brown said as they were opening a new chapel that day, the result of many prayers and toils, he wanted them to go beyond the building and think of Him who was greater than the temple, the One who was there and would remain to the end of time, the object of their worship and their testimony. They hoped that within those walls many would be born again of the Spirit of God, and they hoped that that pulpit would always be faithful to the testimony of righteousness, and that the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would always be faithfully proclaimed from it. And yet they should rise above the building to Him to whom the building was to be consecrated. It was not always the building that was of the greatest consequence. There had been
SOME OF THE GRANDEST PRAYER MEETINGS
held in little glens during times of persecution, and there had been many wonderful places of worship that were not very grand to look at. Dr. Brown than spoke at some length on various forms of worship, and said that it would be a true consecration of that building if some of those who were strangers to Christ should that day give themselves to Him. They could, in after years, look back and say that the day the chapel was opened was the day when they opened their hearts to the Saviour. The consecration for which many were praying was to hear some of them say “This day will I serve the Lord.”
A public tea was then provided, and was very largely attended, the ladies making the arrangements including Mesdames Wrighton, Denton, Connington, Harper, Knight, Lack, Everard, Smith, Gray, Brookes, A, Wright, and Berry.
THE EVENING MEETING
Mr. J. E. Smith opened the evening meeting with an organ recital, during which Miss Clayton and Mr. E. Cunnington sang. The Choir also sang “Hail gladdening light.”
The Rev. T. G. Harper said he felt as he stood there that they were beginning a new era in their history as a church, and that they were beginning it under very happy auspices. Referring to Dr. Brown, he said he was one of the tried and doughty champions of the Free Churches. It seemed as though they could not have had a better opening for the chapel than they had that afternoon. They were glad to see representatives from other churches present. The last chapel they had would only hold less than half the number of people that could assemble in the new building. They also had a little schoolroom then; new the church membership had more than doubled, and the school had done the same.
THE FRIENDS HAD NOBLY RESPONDED
to the call made upon them by the great Master. They looked back with great satisfaction that they had been able to do the work they had accomplished. He trusted they would go on attempting great things for God, and go on expecting great things from God.
Mr. G. Denton then gave the financial statement, showing that £1,238 19s. had been subscribed towards the total cost of the building. The amount of the collection at the afternoon service was £205. (Applause.)
The Rev. W. F. Harris hoped that in the days to come they would have as large congregations as were present then. They certainly had the most commodious and beautiful chapel in Rushden. He thought there was about only one thing missing, and that was there was no clock. (Laughter.) He was afraid the good people at
TOP MEETING WOULD NOT TRUST HIM
to preach without a clock. (Laughter.) He expressed the sentiments of the Free Churches in the town, as far as he knew them, in expressing his pleasure that they had erected that sanctuary. That new building meant larger opportunity and increased responsibility in the service of Jesus Christ.
They as a church must take care that a spirit of indifference did not creep over the church. He referred to club life in Rushden, saying that one Sunday morning he passed one of the clubs, of which there were so many in the town, and watched the men of all ages who emerged from the doorway. His conviction was that he saw more men come out of that club on that Sunday morning than one could find in all the sanctuaries in Rushden. They should lay that matter to heart, and ask God’s help to seek to cope with the indifference around.
The Choir then rendered the anthem “And the Glory,” after which Dr. Brown spoke a few words, and said he would like to be with them
WHEN THEY FINISHED OFF THE DEBT,
if they would invite him. He had no doubt they would see the end of that debt.
The Rev. J. T. Stephens expressed his pleasure at being present, and said he was glad to witness the growth of Rushden, and to also witness the growth of religious enterprise. They had developed from a village to a town; consequently it was necessary to have
A SANCTUARY WORTHY OF A TOWN,
and worthy of a Mayor and Corporation, when they came. (Laughter). He hoped that the Baptists would show that they meant to take the foremost position, which had distinguished their church in the history of Rushden, and that they would in the future see grand and prosperous things. Mr. Stephens proceeded to speak at some length on the position the Free Churches held in the country.
The Choir then rendered “The Hallelujah Chorus,” after which a most successful and enthusiastic meeting was brought to a close.