HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH
The first Methodist Church in Higham Ferrers was built in 1791 and “against forceful opposition” grew rapidly. The Religious Census of 1851 showed attendance at the three Sunday services averaged 165, including 59 children. In response to continued growth, major improvements were made in 1875 and towards the end of the century it was decided that it would be necessary to build a new church, which was built in 1903.
Over 1,000 people attended the opening service on 12th April. The prominent new building comprised a hall / schoolroom, parlour and a front porch. This building was located in the centre of the town on the High Street. Given this key location, additional shops were built opposite the church. Subsequently, a housing estate was built adjacent to the building and a secondary school (Ferrers School) was built in 1980, access to which was gained by a service road, next to the church.
For many years the church was, literally, the centre of the community and saw further growth in numbers and outreach. The building had issues which restricted any further increase in community based activities. Both the exterior and interior of the building were worn and unwelcoming and the disabled were disadvantaged by having to negotiate steps both inside and outside the building. It required a great deal of work to bring it into the 21st century.
After amalgamating with our sister Church at Park Road, Rushden and renaming the Church, Hope Methodist Church, members supported the rebuilding of Higham Ferrers Methodist Chapel. Detailed plans were drawn up to develop the whole site and planning consent was given.
Whilst this work was on-going, the church realised the need to return to the site and begin the rebuilding of the community links and re-establish a worshipping community on site. A temporary building was purchased and the first service was held on 6th November 2016.
From this base, weekly activities were introduced and the links with the community increased. As work continued numbers of attendees have increased resulting in some groups having a waiting list. New regular attendees enjoy worshipping with us and some have been made members of the Methodist Church. The increase in numbers Is to be celebrated and the need for more space more necessary.
Fundraising continued thoughout enabling the plans (see below) to go forward to redevelop the ground floor of the old Chapel. The estimated cost of the redevelopment £920.000.