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History - Special Events

The Knutsford Methodists could be proud of their record during the first fifty years of the new Chapel, and, at the Jubilee held on 14th June, 1914, this was warmly and thankfully acknowledged in the celebrations. The Rev. W. H. H. Kelshaw, who was born in Knutsford but was a Minister in London, preached at 11.00 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. On the following Monday, a Circuit gathering took place in the grounds of Tatton Park. Tea was served to two hundred and fifty people. After tea, speeches were made and photographs taken. In the evening, the Rev. F. Luke Wiseman, B.A., ex-President of the Conference, was the principal speaker at a Commemorative Rally in the Chapel. The Chairman was Mr. William Clarkson. The same month of the celebrations was to provide a less happy memory, however. A severe thunderstorm struck Knutsford causing damage to the Chapel's 70 ft. steeple. Although, via an insurance claim, repairs were completed, the long-term stability of the structure proved not to be durable. 34 years later it was completely removed (1948). Centenary Celebrations, 1965, of Second Chapel Various former ministers took the pulpit over a series of Sundays, renewing old acquaintances and recalling past events. This included a 'Ladies Sunday', at which the preacher was Mrs. E. R. Taylor whose parents-in-law were both prominent members of Knutsford's Methodist Chapel. On 2 April, some 240 people enjoyed a Centenary Supper which included entertainments provided by Mrs. C. T. Harris's (the Minister's wife) 'The Happy Wanderers' choir and Miss Rosemary Hall's drama group. Founders' day itself, commemorating the laying of the new chapel's foundation stone, was celebrated on 2 May, conducted by the Rev. C. T. Harris. The Sunday School processed around the church in replication of the procession, 100 years earlier, across the town from the old to the new Chapel. They sang again one of the same hymns which the town heard on that special day. The President of the Conference, the Rev. A. Kingsley Lloyd, conducted the evening Service, before a packed church. Centenary Day, commemorating the actual opening of the new chapel, took place on 11 May, and effectively represented the pinnacle of the centenary year's celebrations. The special afternoon Service, part of which followed the order of service used on the original opening day, was conducted by the Rev. Geoffrey Litherland, Warden of the Deaconess College, Ilkley. Lord Rank, himself a leading Methodist, took the chair at a crowded evening meeting, interspersed with hymns and prayers between congratulatory addresses from the other churches in the town, and from the Urban Council. The themes of the addresses from both the Rev. Litherland and Lord Rank emphasized the fundamental need for the Church to be effective in carrying the Gospel beyond its own walls to the outside world.

Ordination of David Griffiths The ordination of David J.Griffiths, former Sunday School and Youth Club member at the Chapel, took place' also at the Chapel, on Tuesday 4 November 1969. David was continuing his missionary service in Sierra Leone when the Methodist Conference held its Ordination Service earlier in the year. This allowed him a rare opportunity to suggest where his Ordination Service might be held. His wish for his to take place at the church where he spent his formative teenage years was granted, creating a unique event for Knutsford's Methodist Church. Other former members of Knutsford's Methodist Church who have become ordained Ministers include Tim and Ann Hall, Pam Butler, Neil Thompson, John Kendall, Hilary Ewing and Caroline Ryder.

'Live' BBC TV Christmas Day Worship - 1978 This was admirably led by Derek Davidson in a church filled with people, lighting gantries and both mounted and mobile TV cameras. The viewers at home, however, saw and heard only a happy congregation in a bright and colourful church, participating in the joy, warmth and excitement of a family-based Christmas day Service. On this occasion, in addition to the traditional readings, prayers and hymns, the Order of Service included an actual baptism and a drama portrayal by the young people of the nativity scene.

Sunday, 2nd June 2002 - Celebrating the Queen's Golden Jubilee [A report by Chris S, one of the church's members.] "Come to the KMC Indoor Street Party", the invitation said. "Indoor" and "street"? Something odd, surely? But then there were several odd things about it - of the dozen or so people at our end of the table, only 2 of us were alive at the time of the Queen's Coronation! Here we were at a very "British" occasion, and the two ladies sitting opposite me were born in Denmark and Zimbabwe - and KMC's hard-core football fans, who often display more patriotic fervour than most, were at home watching England play Sweden in the World Cup competition! But then that's what being Queen in Britain is all about - some things in the kingdom hardly change in 50 years ( for example, England struggling early in the World Cup, corned beef sandwiches, pork pies and trifle, plus the red/white/blue clothing that most people were sporting), while others things (cling-film, plastic mugs and spoons, designer-label clothes, and tea-bags) are nothing like 50 years ago. Another constant over time is the ability of a well-organised and enthusiastic team of ladies to inspire us all to come together for common enjoyment; so take a bow, please, Judy, Carol,and their team of supporters who provided food, moved furniture, and washed and swept up afterwards. Coronation Day in 1953 was the first occasion I ever saw TV - black and white, of course. By contrast, this "Indoor Street Party" was full of colour: also stereo sound, provided courtesy of Chris L. on keyboard, compére Liz H, and the ever-reliable "techies". Certainly, for the duration of this party, whatever was happening in our individual lives, and despite the storm clouds over Kashmir, we were all able to enjoy ourselves as we sung "On the Sunny Side of the Street".

Radio 4 "live broadcast" Palm Sunday 2012 (as reported by Val D.).

The notice to be in Church by 7.30am on Sunday 1st April must be some sort of joke - or so I thought – but always

up for a challenge I read on. The BBC Radio 4 Sunday Service team were coming to town and we at KMC must be in good voice for a ‘live’ Palm Sunday transmission at 8.10am.

Some of us are seasoned songbirds as we took a very long but entertaining away day last September to join in with the joyous BBC Songs of Praise 50th Anniversary celebrations at Alexandra Palace.

The mood this time would be a little more solemn. By 7.15am the outer assembly area was full as over 100 slightly bleary-eyed parishioners, eager to impress the Producer, Simon Vivian, waited for instructions. Many hours had been spent rehearsing the Choir and the worship group under the skilful direction of Rev Steven Benson and Graham Boler. Guiding the narrators and setting up the sound systems to produce a near faultless performance was essential to meet the usual BBC high standard.

Eventually we were all ushered into the Church and took our places ignoring the tall microphones hovering above. We sat in silence. The seconds ticked by… 8.10am we were on the air and millions of listeners worldwide could hear Knutsford Methodist Church in full voice…ALL GLORY LAUD AND HONOUR…

Paul welcomed the radio audience to our special part of Cheshire and introduced Children’s worker, Jenny Mossman, who led prayers. The second hymn - KING OF KINGS - was sung with great passion and emotion. So the familiar Palm Sunday journey began. We were reminded of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on a donkey. Words and music thoughtfully prepared and sensitively interspersed throughout the service.

Narrators Ruth Peak, David Hunns, Gavin Taylor, Clara McKechnie and Chris Sloan read their respective pieces with such clarity and great expression. Jenny linked and led to perfection with her own especially engaging style – a joy to watch and listen. RIDE ON, RIDE ON IN MAJESTY…

AMAZING GRACE moved us all as ever - ‘My chains are gone, I’ve been set free’.

Paul gave his last Palm Sunday sermon in this Church so it was particularly poignant. His words were as ever incisive and inspirational. ‘Triumph or Tragedy?’ as we contemplate the ultimate freedom through death and anticipate the terrible agony of the crucifixion.

Anna Walton and David Hills impressed everyone with their version of ‘WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS’.

So we accepted with thanks our palm crosses and looked forward to Holy Week once more.

With final prayers backed by delightful music from the Choir we could all offer our own silent thoughts.

To end, an uplifting hymn to stir our souls – JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD!


(The bonus of bacon rolls, toast and marmalade and coffee afterwards made the early start even more worthwhile! Thank you to all who made this happen.)


Articles for the history archive of the website