Methodism comes ‘to an end’ in Fairfield as church closes its doors permanently
Fairfield Methodist Church – with a congregation of just 11 members – has closed its doors for good following the ‘final straw’ Covid-19 pandemic.
Church secretary Russell Baker told how closure had became ‘inevitable’ with members having an average age of over 85 years.
However he added church-goers voted to shut permanently in June after being closed since March – saying ‘taking the decision then was the right time to allow them to
close with dignity’.
Speaking with ‘sadness and regret’ Russell told how Fairfield had a ‘proud Methodist tradition’ and the late Rev Dr John B Taylor – who held the most senior post in Methodism in Britain as the chair of the Methodist Conference – had attended the Fairfield church’s Sunday school at one time.
Russell said the church’s treasurer Norman Brittain was the ‘oldest in Methodism’ at 103 years old – while his wife Mary aged 99 had worshipped at Fairfield since she was a baby.
He added: “For them and the other members – who before the pandemic worshipped each Sunday – closure is a sad event to which they are still coming to terms.
“It’s not just a building but a place that is full of memories and stories – a place where friendships have been formed and faith nurtured.
"It’s a place where people have celebrated baptisms and weddings and remembered loved ones who have died – even with the closure of the building the faith that has inspired people to demonstrate kindness and generosity will live on.”
Secretary Russell said the closure would ‘bring Methodism to an end’ in Fairfield – a place where the movement began when founder John Wesley preached in the area in 1783.
The church moved to its present location on Fairfield Road in 1886.
In the early 1980s closure appeared inevitable as younger members moved away and older members died.
However a housing association took charge of the site – building sheltered accommodation and a new church – which was leased to members and brought ‘renewed vigour’ and a new home for a number of community organisations.