St George’s Day service signals closure of church after 162 years

THE DOORS have closed at Abney Church for the final time after an emotional but uplifting St George’s Day service.

The historic building on Huddersfield Road has now passed into the possession of the United Reformed Church.

CLOSED: Abney Church

But badly in need of urgent repairs ‘the little church on the hill’ faces an uncertain future.
However, parishioners gave Abney a great send-off as elder Mary Howarth told the Correspondent.

“We were determined it would be a members’ service and a positive members’ service,” she explained. “So, members chose the hymns and the readings.

“We tried to keep it as normal a service as possible. It was lovely to see so many old friends and friends from the community. That aspect was delightful.

“We purposefully wanted an upbeat service, a new beginning rather than an ending.

“We welcomed people from other churches in Mossley; we had visiting lay readers, Abney Orchestra was represented and so was the moderator.

“It was lovely to see so many people there but even with a large congregation I don’t think we would be able to repair the building as the front wall is subsiding.”

A number of church assets have been saved and Reverend David Warner at St George’s has taken Abney’s War Memorial plaque into safe keeping while other artefacts could be housed at Mossley Heritage Centre.

Chris Lyness, a current Mossley Town Councillor and Mossley’s Mayor elect, has been Abney secretary for 20 years.

“I am saddened and disappointed that Abney is closing,” she said. “But the decision was forced on us in the end due to the repairs needed to bring the building up to modern day standards.

I have attended Abney since the early 1990s and I have made life long friends at who have shared happy and difficult personal times with me.

“The Abney family are very supportive of each other and this will continue as we go our different ways. Our worship may continue in different places but our Faith continues unbroken.

“I would like to say to all members of families connected to Abney that we are doing our very best to ensure as many items from the church as possible remain in Mossley for community use.

“We thank those who came to our Thanksgiving service for an emotional but uplifting service.  Our Faith and worship continue even though our building has to close.”

A spokesman for the United Reformed Church confirmed: “The Abney Church building now reverts to the URC North Western Synod Trust to identify what will happen with it in due course.”

 

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