More than 80 people crowded into the chapel at Matlock Moor to celebrate its reopening.
The building - which will continue to be the home of Matlock Moor Methodist Church - has been re-opened on Chesterfield Road as a meeting place for the new housing estates which together will bring almost 200 more families to the area.
Responding to the development of the new community, church members decided to extend and modernise the premises to create a Chapel Community Centre. With encouragement from local councillors and residents the church obtained planning consent for an extension which blends into the traditional stone buildings in the area and building work began in June. For the next five months services and the Tuesday Neighbourhood Natter have been held at Victoria Court and in nearby homes – just how the church members used to meet before the church was built in 1903.
The newly extended and renovated building has a multi-purpose space in the large hall and a more welcoming porch facing the main road. The old smaller Sunday School room has been modernised as a warm, comfortable meeting room – or buffet area for quiz evenings and
and special events. In an extension at the rear of the current premises a new entrance has been created, with a lobby or small meeting room linked by folding doors into the main hall. From January 2019 all three rooms will be available for hire with the use of a new kitchen and three toilets, one of them accessible. As there is no car park the venue will be most attractive to the local community within walking distance and those who can use the bus routes stopping just outside the front door.
At the packed rededication the address was given by the Rev Loraine Mellor who was president of the Methodist Conference 2017-18 – that is in Methodism an annual appointment roughly equivalent to Archbishop of Canterbury! The vice chairman of Derbyshire Dales District Council, the mayor of Matlock, and councillors attended as well as friends from churches in Matlock, and the Methodist circuit and district.
The community centre opened its activities with a quiz supper when 40 people ate baked potatoes cake – the new centre is already famous for delivering cream cakes to new homes as a welcome to the new families. “Family carols and cake” has already become a Christmas Eve fixture.
The work has been paid for by generous grants from within and outside the Methodist Church as well as by donations from individuals.
The chapel is here to be used – for children’s parties, social occasions, exercise classes, meetings and other family and community events including baptisms, weddings and funerals. To make use of it, you can email via the website www.matlockmoormethodist.org.uk or call 01629 582753 or the minister the Rev Helen Penfold on 01773 833242.