Rushden Echo, Friday 5th July 1901, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Chapel Opening At Rushden
Successful Gatherings - Yesterday’s Collections £113.
Yesterday (Thursday), the handsome school chapel erected at the junction of Wellingboro’-road and Brookfield-road, Rushden, by the Independent Wesleyans, was opened, a large congregation assembling in the afternoon to hear the first sermon in the edifice, preached by the Rev. J. G. Greenhough, M. A. , of Leicester, the president of the National Federation of the Evangelical Free Churches. As we have stated in a previous issue, the front part of the site is reserved for a future church and caretaker’s house, the present building comprising a handsome assembly hall, with a light gallery around the sides and front end, also a lecture room, five classrooms, cloak-room, lavatory, etc. Gothic in design, the walls of the chapel are of brick with white stone dressings. The roof of the hall is partially open, the ceiling being pitch pine boarding, with arched timbers. Special attention has been paid to the ventilation, heating, and lighting of the new edifice, and yesterday’s services clearly demonstrated that its acoustic properties were admirable. The assembly hall and gallery will seat 450 persons, and two classrooms under the end gallery can be thrown into the chapel by means of folding doors, providing increased accommodation for 50 persons.
The Old Mission Room
The last services in the old chapel in Station-road, which is now being superseded by the new chapel, were held on Sunday, when Mr. T. Surridge preached in the morning and Mr. Wm. Mackness in the evening. These gentlemen have been ardent workers in connection with the now discarded mission hall in Station-road, and it was fitting that the valedictory services should be entrusted to them. Mr. Surridge mentioned the fact that on May 27th 1895, he took the first preaching service in Moor-road schools, when the congregation consisted of six adults and 19 children. He referred to the rapid growth of the mission, and attributed some of the success to the influx of members from the Salvation Army in 1897. The collections taken were in aid of the Building Fund.
The officials of the Building Fund comprised Mr. G. Denton (chairman), Mr. T. Surridge (secretary), Miss Clipson (assistant secretary), Mr. J. S. Clipson (treasurer), Mr. John Clark, Mr. J. Spencer, and Mr. Elijah West, who have worked with considerable energy, and their efforts have been ably backed up by the friends of the cause.
A Brief History Of The Movement
will be of interest at the present juncture. In January 1895, a committee representing the Old Baptist Sunday School met a deputation from the Queen-st. Independent Wesleyan Sunday School, and asked the latter to take over the Sunday School which had been started in the Moor-road Board Schools, as the Baptists could not get a teaching staff at that end of the town. The Independent Wesleyans agreed to this course, and Mr. John Clark was appointed superintendent, a position he has ever since filled with ability. For five months a service was held in the evening for children, and in May it was decided to hold a preaching service, Mr. T. Surridge being the first preacher. Soon afterwards an opportunity was afforded of purchasing a mission hall which had been used by the Roman Catholics at Wellingborough. This was secured, and erected in Station-road where it was used until last Sunday. In February 1896, this mission hall was opened, the services comprising Sunday School morning and afternoon and a preaching service at night. In 1897 the congregation had so grown that it was decided to hold services in the morning as well as in the evening, and subsequent events have proved that this was an exceedingly wise course. The Sunday School, which started with about 20 scholars, has now a total of over 200, and there is a good teaching staff.
The New Buildings
The contract price for the school-chapel is £2272, the architect being Mr. Wills, of Derby, and the builder Mr. Henson, of Wellingborough. In addition to this amount, the site cost £377, the heating apparatus it is estimated will cost £100, the seating about £60, and the fence round the property about £30. Towards this amount there was, prior to the day of opening, about £1000 in hand, which figure includes the sale of the old mission hall. Some seats from the mission hall have been utilised in the new chapel, and extra seats have been purchased. The windows are filled in with coloured glass, presenting an artistic appearance.
The First Service
in the new chapel yesterday afternoon was well attended, the congregation comprising representatives of most of the churches in the town and neighbourhood. Prior to the service the Mission Silver Band played in the streets and gave some excellent music. In the chapel there was a strong choir occupying seats on the platform. Mr. Clipson presided at the harmonium. The platform was decorated with plants and flowers. Mr. Greenhough’s text was “We know and have believed the love which God hath to us” ( 1 John iv. 16, R. V.). Quietly and deliberately, but with manifest earnestness, the preacher speedily got right into the heart of the central truth of the Christian faiththe fact of God’s love for mankind. Mr. Greenhough gave three reasons why the knowledge that God loved them was the best knowledge that men could possess
(1) Because this knowledge strengthened and uplifted them, put nerve and sinew and heart into them. It was like ozone from the ocean or a tonic breeze from the mountains. It promised and elevated a man, and made him feel like a king.
(2) Because it braced and helped them in their conflict with sin, saving them many a time from giving up the struggle and from despairing of themselves.
(3) Because it was the wealth of life. It was half the world to them, and at times it was all the world, because the only thing that made a man rich was, not the money he had, but the love which was given to him and the love he gave to others. Better than the earthly riches was the knowledge of the fact that God loved them. Though that chapel was built partly to uphold the principles of Methodism, yet that was only a secondary thing. The great reason was that the message of God’s love might be proclaimed to all who would listen.
About 100 people partook of tea in the Queen-street school-room, the arrangements being ably carried out by the following committee :-- Mesdames Surridge, Coles, Wray, Jas. Knight, Jos. Mackness, Taylor, and Cowley, Miss Elizabeth Eden, Mr. Burnidge, Mr. Wm. Mackness, and Mr. James Knight. The ladies presiding at the trays were Mesdames Blades, Brawn, G. Denton, Surridge, Lingard, Line, Nest, Coles, Brown, J. Jaques, Holmes, Wildman, John Cox, J. D. Cunnington, Misses May Brawn, F. Knight, S. Neville, A. Litchfield, A. Johnson, M. Mackness, J. Jaques, M. Noble, P. Clipson, L. Eden, and E. Coward.
Last Night’s Meeting
was presided over by Ald. T. Sanders, of Higham Ferrers, and there was a large attendance. After prayer by the Rev. M. E. Parkin,
Mr. Surridge gave the financial statement, the expenses being :--
Towards this sum the following items had been received:--
The Chairman said they had erected a beautiful place of worship, which far exceeded his expectations. He hoped the church would prove a blessing to the large number of people. Fifty years ago the condition of Rushden was deplorable. There was no good feeling existing between the churches and no one seemed to make any effort to help men to glorify God. He was glad to see a much better state of things to-day, and he could not help attributing the improvement to some of the men who lived in
Rushden 50 Or 60 Years Ago,
In a breezy, racy, optimistic address, full of the spirit of hopefulness for the future, the Rev. J. G. Greenhough said the new place of worship was a credit to the architect and a credit to the builder. It was a substantial airy, and well-lighted place: it was beautiful without being too ornate: there was nothing tawdry in the structure, and, what was perhaps best of all, its acoustic properties were all that could be desired. (Cheers.) The architect who built a Nonconformist church in which a man could not preach ought to be hanged. (Hear, hear.) The next thing was to pay off the debt. There was no fear of having too many places of worship in a town like Rushden, which had grown up as quickly as Jonah’s gourd though it would not perish as quickly. (Laughter, and Hear, hear.) Every sanctuary which was built in a rapidly growing district brought in at least a few people who had been non-worshippers, and every new sanctuary meant the salvation of at least a few additional souls. He understood they were going to call their new place a mission-hall. Well, anything was better than to call it a “chapel,” for
The Word “Chapel”
meant a sort of appendix or humble addition to “the Church.” He was glad the name “chapel” was gradually being dropped. He would rather call their places of worship mission-halls, tabernacles, churches, anything rather than chapels. Speaking of need for hopefulness, he said the most useless people in a church were of two kinds. The first kind comprised men and women who had the critical faculty highly developed. Such people never did any good themselves and they were always finding fault with the work which other people were doing. The other useless class comprised the groaning folks, the downcast people, those who always looked on the dark side.
The choir gave a spirited rendering of the anthem, “Send out Thy light.”
The Rev. T. G. Harper, of Wellingborough moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Greenhough, and briefly traced the history of that mission from its small beginning to its present state of prosperity.
The Rev. W. F. Harris, in seconding, said the word “chapel” was dying, and when it was buried he did not think there would be many mourners. (Hear, hear.) This was the third place of worship opened in Rushden during his brief ministry here, and by the time he had completed his second year, next October, there would be
Four Churches Opened
for Free Church worship, accommodating from 2000 to 3000 people.
The motion having been carried with unusual heartiness.
Mr. Greenhough replied, and said that was his last engagement but one before he left England for New Zealand and Australia. The Rev. C. F. Groom proposed, and the Rev. H. McKay seconded, a vote of thanks to the Chairman.
The Rev. R. Shorten announced that the total proceeds that day amounted to £112 16s. 7¾d
To that sum must be added a donation of 10s. received subsequently.
We understand that Mr. Greenhough, of whose interesting career we give some particulars in another column, sets sail next Tuesday for the antipodes.