Sheffield church with 100-year history set to close

Horizon Methodist Church at Ecclesall Road in Sheffield'Pix : Dean Atkins /''COPYRIGHT PICTURE >> DEAN ATKINS>07546 936 188> 01226 719561>
Horizon Methodist Church at Ecclesall Road in Sheffield'Pix : Dean Atkins /''COPYRIGHT PICTURE >> DEAN ATKINS>07546 936 188> 01226 719561>

A methodist church in Sheffield is set to close its doors after more than a century.

The Horizon Methodist Church – previously Endcliffe Methodist Church – on Ecclesall Road will cease its Sunday worship in April, with the building closing by August.

The move has been made by church members after a planned refurbishment – which would have created a coffee shop, meeting rooms and large performance space – failed to get off the ground.

Community groups which meet at the church will now either disband or find a new home, while the decision to close means a developer could attempt to use the Victorian church building for another purpose, such as flats.

A statement posted on the church’s website said the refurbishment scheme – called Horizon@Hunter’s Bar – was ‘an imaginative mission and building development project’.

But it added: “Due to a number of reasons, this initiative was beyond our means. Particularly lacking was significant support from others for our proposal.

“We are only a small church of 40 members and at least 15 of these are aged over 80. Few of us live in the locality. Our average attendance at Sunday worship is 24.

“Leadership roles are undertaken by a small committed team, most of whom have been undertaking these, or similar roles, for many years.

“We have limited financial reserves and have been dipping into these over the last few years in order just to keep going.

“We have a huge building which requires a lot of money spending on it to bring it up to current day standards.”

A secret ballot was held among members, with the outcome being that the church should close and the building be sold off.

“There are lots of practical issues to work through but we are looking to cease Sunday worship after April 26 and close the building by August 2015,” said the statement.

A series of events are being planned to mark the methodist church’s 111th anniversary on Ecclesall Road.

Stephen Gay, a Sheffield railway enthusiast who delivers an annual talk to the Endcliffe Friendship Club at the church, said he was ‘very sad’ that it would be shutting.

“The church is such an iconic landmark next to the waters of the gushing River Porter, and I guess most people rushing to and fro along Ecclesall Road never notice it – they will when it’s all boarded up,” he said.

Stephen added that the friendship club will finish when the church closes.

“The place has a magical feel of times past and is well worth a visit,” he said.

“This time next year it may be a pub, restaurant or flats.”