The Past and the Future
- Our vision for the future
Dalton Community Church was formed from The Methodist and United Reformed Churches in Dalton. They became a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP) in May 2016. The church currently has two premises: one on Market Street (the former United Reformed Church) and one in Wellington Street (the former Methodist church). It has been agreed to sell the Wellington Street buildings and to redevelop the Market Street building to be a modern, up-to-date place of worship and community centre. Our redevelopment plans have been approved by Barrow Borough Council and we are now actively working to raise the money to implement the plans
- Events held in 2016
January An evening of ‘M’s at Market Street – a social evening based on the letter M
February A Taste of India, Wellington Street
March Women’s World Day of Prayer service at Wellington Street
Coffee Morning, promoting Fairtrade, at Market Street
Service for Holy Week (Monday at Market Street, Tuesday at Wellington Street)
April Coffee Morning for Thursday Club funds at Market Street
In Welsey’s Hoofprints (talk) followed by Agape Meal at Wellington Street
May Wave of Prayer event at Market Street
Springtime Serenade, Concert by The New Abbey Singers at Wellington Street
June Faith tea and Queen’s 90th Birthday social at Wellington Street
Moderator of the North Western Synod of the URC preached at Market Street
Civic Service at Market Street for Mayor of Dalton, Councillor Nick Perie
Community Outreach Group Coffee Morning at Market Street
Cog Slog in Dalton followed by faith tea and United Area service at Market Street
July Coffee Morning at Market Street
Service to commemorate The Battle of the Somme at Market Street
August Holiday Club (one week) for primary aged children at Wellington Street
September Coffee Morning at Market Street
Covenant service at Market Street
Harvest Social at Wellington Street
Harvest Festival at Market Street
October Faith tea followed by service to celebrate the forming of our LEP
Ballroom and Sequence dancing at Dalton Cricket Club with music by Dalton Town Band
Coffee Morning at Market Street
November Concert with Barrow Male Voice Choir with Guest Artists at Wellington Street.
Short past history of the churches which form Dalton Community Church
May 8th 2016 – Dalton Community Church celebrate becoming a Local Ecumenical Project with a special Songs of Praise Service followed by refreshments including special cake.
Dalton United Reformed Church
The United Reformed Church is the union of four established churches: The Congregational Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ and the Congregational Union of Scotland.
In 1972 the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England united to become the United Reformed Church, which subsequently united with the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000.
In Dalton there were two small United Reformed Churches only about 300 yards apart, one in Market Street and one in Ulverston Road. In 1984 the two churches came together to worship in the Market Street Church.
Dalton Methodist Church
The Building being used as a Methodist Church in Dalton at the moment was opened in 1864. At this time there were 3 strands of Methodism i.e. Wesleyan, Primitive and United. Wellington Street was built as a Wesleyan Chapel. There were also Primitive and United Methodist Chapels in Dalton. The United Methodist premises in Broughton Road ceased to meet in the 1930’s and after a spell as a slipper factory was demolished. The Primitive Methodist property in Cleater Street closed in 1958 and many active members transferred to Wellington Street. By this time there was only one strand of Methodism following the Deed of Union in 1932. The Wellington Street building has been extensively modified since this time. The large Balcony was taken out of use in the late 1970’s and a false ceiling installed and in 1997 the pews, screens and large pulpit were removed to form the present spacious multi-use building you see today. Further work on the entrance area was undertaken some 5 years later to produce the Coffee Area and Toilets.
Becoming a Local Ecumenical Partnership
Brief outline given by Rev Ron Wilson at the Celebration Service on October 16th 2016 of how Dalton Community Church came into being
The Roots of Our Journey to this Day
(The Story so Far)
Not an easy and simple answer to give, if you search for when this journey to today began, as, like many of us here today, may struggle with ‘when you first became a Christian believer’ – unless you had a ‘Damascus Road’ experience, which most of us have not!
But I’ll ground the roots in 1987, when the town’s churches came together as a Covenanted body of Anglicans; Methodists; Roman Catholics and United Reformed Church folk in the forming of the Dalton Fellowship of Churches, with part of that agreement being ‘joint’ services in each other’s churches, with the one in St. Mary’s up the road being on a 5th Sunday morning; the Methodist Church hosting a monthly 3rd Sunday evening joint service; and the United Reformed Church hosting a 1st Sunday evening monthly ‘Prayer & Praise’ Service.
As the years went on, sadly the joint 5th Sunday service was dropped, and it became apparent that the 2 other services were basically being attended mainly by Methodists and URC folk.
So there has been an affinity between the 2 denominations for some years (perhaps even before the 1987 Covenant) – certainly between some of the office holders of both churches initially, as they met for ecumenical meetings etc, but also with a growing and developing relationship between its congregations.
So-much-so that in the very early years of the 21st Century, following a meeting of both URC Elders and Methodist Stewards, it was suggested that we have a ‘Vision Day’ to look at our respective pasts – noting both having a history of churches coming together (the 3 Methodist ones in Dalton, and the 2 URC’s in Dalton) to see what we believed that God was calling us to do and be church in Dalton in the future.
This came about a few years after the forming ‘officially’ in 2003 of a Team Ministry of Methodist & URC Clergy from the South West Cumbria Circuit & the Furness URC Pastorate, and the dissolving of the Churches Together in Dalton Covenant in 2007.
The “Vision Day”, held late in 2008, was led by our former URC Cumbria Area President Rachel Poolman, the seeds were sown of a further coming together of both Free Churches, which soon resulted in an opening meeting ‘filling’ the hall behind me with members from both churches coming along to have their say on the suggestion of this union coming to fruition. Following both churches reflecting upon the views of that meeting, in the September of 2009 Autumn meetings in both churches, the following proposal was passed: “God called us all to serve him in this town, and he may now be telling us that we can do this more effectively together (with our Methodist friends), as one fellowship of his people,”
This lead to, not only having joint worship on a monthly basis together, but the development of many joint socials being organised, and just over a year later, the decision to worship on alternating Sundays in each other’s building.
“Slowly” and “gently” were the 2 words best adhered to, to allow both congregations to get to know each other better, and build up a trust in each other that the respective church Office Holders already had.
During all this, with I already being well known to the folk at Wellington Street, and with a reorganisation of clergy appointments being made in the then Circuit, it was agreed that I take Pastoral Charge of Dalton Methodist Church to further help foster the growing relationship, as indeed also did the formalising of the Circuit and Pastorate as a whole into a United Area in 2010.
Exciting times, with many challenges faced so not without heartache, but resulting in changes made with what we believe to have been with God’s hand upon them.
It was hoped that the formalising and making legal of the LEP here in Dalton would have coincided with us moving into one building fit for 21st Century use and purpose, but problems still exist – I think everyone is aware of our problem ‘tree’ at the rear, but if it is God’s will, the painful decision that was made to move into these premises will come about, with drawings and tentative plans of our ideas for the redevelopment of these premises being put to our architect in a meeting here in 2 weeks time.
A quick overview of the past, but also a brief look into the future which we believe is, as it ever was, still in God’s very capable hands.