WHITEHILL METHODIST COMMUNITY CHURCH 1912-2012 “100 years old”
The church in Whitehill was originally identified with Balls Bank with the Primitive Methodist Society meeting in a nearby house until the first church was opened. Where Balls Bank begins and ends no one seems to know but if you were to walk from Kidsgrove towards Newchapel in the short distance of half a mile you would traverse Whitehill road, Whitehill Terrance, Balls Bank and Brewhouse Bank.
At the time of the first primitive Methodist Society both Whitehill Road and Whitehill Terrace were unknown and the known road was both narrow and fenced with high hedges. A gipsy caravan was sited near to the site of the present church but on the opposite side now occupied by bungalows at that time Brewhouse Bank was known as Brewers Bank.
The date of which the first society was founded is uncertain however from records we find the first church was opened in 1870 on 2 January. Prior to this the Society met regularly in a nearby cottage and we can only assume that the meeting house became so crowded it was necessary to find a more spacious building.
From a memorial tablet in brass one Edward Leese, a founder member, is remembered for his devoted service. Edward died in 1917 and had been a member for 55 years which takes us back to 1862 on what happened before this we have no record. Again from records a house was purchased in 1869 from a Mr William Mellor for £30 which was fitted out and furnished as a church, and a license obtained to use the building as a place of worship.
Within 25 years the society had outgrown the church and during 1910 a building fund was started and the stone laying took place in 1912 with the use of borrowed funds which were finally settled by abequest of the late Edward Leese and also included funds for a new pipe organ. Tile laying services were held later and the church was opened on 4 October 1912. In 1919 the church was granted a licence for marriages.
The early church played an important role in the development of Whitehill, particularly during the lean years of post-1914 and again during the dark years of World War II when both spiritual and financial help was offered to local families and serving members of the congregation.
Early in 1971 the Whitehill Methodist church united with Rookery on the Balls Bank site to form a new society known as Whitehill Trinity Methodist Church hence the adoption of the word Trinity within the name to represent this amalgamation.
This commitment of the church to the community and the need to reinvent itself both spiritually and physically continues to this day where 2011 has seen the extensive refurbishment of the building with two stages of development. Stage 1 which began in August saw the refurbishment of the toilets and kitchen areas followed in November by stage 1 the ‘Footsteps project’ which involved extensive internal modifications to the existing chapel area together with a new foyer extension to provide a family friendly environment to accommodate the needs of our community.
We wish to express our thanks to all those who have supplied funding and their expertise (please click here for details) to accomplish these changes with a special thank you to all those people who have committed their time and effort during the building works to keep the church and all of its activities running smoothly!
This year the Church celebrates 100 years since it opened on 4 October 1912. Much has changed since then, but the church continues to serve the community and to show this commitment has adopted the word community into its name. The society has now been renamed and we will now be known as Whitehill Methodist Community Church.