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Wesley Chapel Harrogate

A town centre presence since 1862


On 3rd October 2012 Wesley Chapel celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Special events were organised to mark this prestigious occasion and a new book was published.

Click on this link to read about the 150 year history of Wesley Chapel

See below pictures of the celebrations




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Wesley Chapel Harrogate 1862

Wesley Chapel’s  150th Anniversary Year



7 October 2012
at 10-30am

with Rev. Dr Mark Wakelin
President of the Methodist Conference

Order of Service


Our 150th anniversary day was a great achievement!  The service was one that our Wesley forefathers would have been proud to witness and went ahead seamlessly thanks to the hard work of Trevor, assisted by David and our Senior Stewards, Les and Christine.  Christine and Jenny sang Panis Angelicus beautifully and the awed silence afterwards was a perfect tribute.  Graham’s organ playing was magnificent and the congregation responded with some wonderful singing.  The church looked stunning thank you to Molly and Pricilla and their team. Jenny’s exhibition (below) was fascinating.   It was great to see the church so full and so many of our friends from other churches round the circuit, from St. Peter's, and our past ministers and deacons and 'old' friends who have left the area.


The church looked stunning thank you to Molly and Pricilla and their team.


Deacon David Hunt, Revd. Trevor Dixon, Revd. Julian Pursehouse, the President, Les Sudron and Christine Bunting (snr stewards)


Rev. Dr. Mark Wakelin, President of the Methodist Conference 2012-13

Our President’s message throughout the day was one of hope and encouragement for the future – inspiring us to think with the enthusiasm of children and to consider that we are in the spring-time of our church life


Deacon David Hunt, Rev. Julian Pusehouse, Rev. Trevor Dixon, Rev. Dr Mark Wakelin, President of the Methodist Conference

Rev. Trevor Dixon and Rev. Dr Mark Walkelin, President of the Methodist Conference 2012-13



The service was following by a lunch in the Lower Hall, attended by 110 members and guests

In spite of some misgivings that we wouldn’t be able to seat 110 comfortably in the Lower Hall, the meal was a huge success.  Thank you to Jenny, Christine B and Dave Y  who helped set out the tables beforehand. The table decorations were lovely thanks to Lynne and Joy. The caterers (AJs) did a splendid job. Thanks also to all those people who stayed behind after the meal to set the room out for next day.

Before the President said Grace we all sang Happy Birthday to Ken


Wesley Chapel was not the only port of call for Dr Wakelin on our anniversary weekend.  Rev. Julian Pursehouse writes about the President's hectic weekend in the Leeds District.

METHODIST RECORDER Friday October 19th


Journey of unity

Glorious autumn sunshine heralded the arrival of the President of Conference, the Rev. Dr Mark Wakelin, to Harrogate Railway Station, thus marking the beginning of the presidential visit to the Leeds District.

After a hasty lunch we made our way to Trinity church, Harrogate to share together in the signing of the historic area partnership agreement between the Ripon and Leeds Diocese and the Leeds District (Recorder, October 12). The President encouraged us to pursue this journey of unity so that we might be mutually enriched and better placed to share in the mission of God.

On the Sunday the President preached at two significant services of celebration and thanksgiving.  In the morning we attended Wesley Chapel Harrogate, to share in their 150th celebrations, followed by a sumptuous lunch in the church hall down below.


In the evening we crossed to the other side of the District to share in the 60th church anniversary celebrations at Pontefract Central church in the Aire and Calder circuit.  The President preached on the theme of 'becoming like little children to enter the kingdom' and he encouraged people to rediscover the capacity to know that they are loved, to recognise the need for growth and formation and finally to keep yearning for the best is yet to come.

In each context his words were warm, thoughtful and engaging and the Methodist people were greatly encouraged!

On the Monday the President was able to witness at first hand an exciting and pioneering piece of chaplaincy work at the Leeds Bradford International Airport.  He spent the day with the Rev. Nick Baker and engaged with a whole variety of different people from cleaners to firemen and from caterers to the chief executive.  This was an opportunity to engage with a new piece of work in the District and it gave the President lots of things to reflect upon.

Later that day he treated the acting Chair and his family to dinner at the Murgotroyds Fish and Chip Restaurant in Yeadon.  From there we headed to Oxford Place to share in the District Forum Night when we reflected upon the theme of 'Opportunity Knocks'. Each forum group was tasked with identifying the opportunities and challenges presented by the reshaping and reconfiguring of the circuits.


Finally the hectic schedule came to an end when the President gathered with supernumerary ministers and partners at Guiseley church.  Nearly 40 people sat down for a cold plated lunch in the church hall before retiring to the sanctuary for an afternoon talk.  He challenged us to reflect upon the words from Song of Solomon: 'for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.."

He challenged us to consider the idea that the Church might be entering a time of spring and that possibly the winter was now past. within the eternity of God's unfolding love we might view ourselves as the early Church entering a springtime before the onseet of summer.  this made a welcome change to the prevailing narrative of church decline and the secularisation of society - one supernumerary minister was heard to say: 'I arrived feeling quite cynical and now I feel inspired'. - Julian Pursehouse.



To mark the 150th anniversary a new book was published. It is in two parts: the first part is a reprint of the history written by Harold Hitchen and Ted Dawson in 1962 to celebrate the 100th anniversary; the second part is an update of 'The Next Fifty Years' by Judith Yeats.


The book is on sale for £5.  Contact Judith Yeats on 01423 506014 or e-mail jyeats@btinternet.com for your copy.



Jenny Goodwin organised an exhibition depicting 150 years of Wesley history. Exhibits including memoriabilia, photographs, family bibles, old minute books and chapel registers were on show for several days.


Exhibiting 150 years of Wesley Chapel history


Banners made by individual churches for the celebratrion of the the Nidd Valley Circuit were exhibited at Wesley during the celebration weekend.

The Junior Church celebrated 150 years by producing a poster with their own portraits

Saturday 13 October 2012 at 7-30pm


Graham Bunting and Christine Anderson

Graham and Christine are a brother and sister duo. Graham is organist and choirmaster at Wesley Chapel and Christine teaches piano at Kimbolton School Cambridgshire, and is accompanist for St Neots Choral Society.  

The evening began with a delightful piece to get the audience in the mood; Danse Grotesque by A. Carse.  Then came three well-known Bach chorales.   The beautiful Fantasis in F minor by Schubert was to follow We were surprised to learn that Schubert was a prolific writer of piano duets.  According to Christine this was the serious part of the evening over, and we were then treated to five Spanish Dances by Moszkowski, just before a well earned break for the pianists.  After the break came six pieces from Faure's well-known Dolly Suite -there are probably not many of us who cannot remember that beloved radio programme Listen with Mother, for which the Berceuse was the introduction.  The evening finished with five of Braham Hungarian Dances.   It was a lovely programme and a superb evening's entertainment and some excellent piano playing by Graham and Christine, a very fitting conclusion to our 150th celebrations.


Saturday 30 September 2012 at 3-30pm

Piano Recital : Angela Hewitt


Chorale-prelude, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 J S Bach transc. Wilhelm Kempff

Siciliano in G Minor from Flute Sonata BWV 1031 J S Bach arr. Wilhelm Kempff

Sinfonia in D from Cantata No. 29 Wirdanken dir, Gott J S Bach arr Wilhelm Kempff

Piano Sonata in A Major, Op 101 Beethoven


The Art of Fugue, Contrapunctus I to X J S Bach


Message from Andrew Hitchen

“Thank you very much to all who helped in any way to make the Olive Dobson Concert with Angela Hewitt on 30 September such a great success. There were about 340 people in the audience and comments throughout were extremely positive - probably the most striking: ‘In the House of God, finding God through music’.”

For a review of this concert see Concerts: click on this link

Saturday 1 September 2012 at Wesley Chapel Harrogate

(Huddersfield Town Hall Resident Organist)

Gordon Stewart delighted his small, but appreciative audience when he gave a recital to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Wesley's organ.  This was also part of the 150 year anniversary celebrations. 

The organ had been built by the Leeds based organ builder J J Binns in 1912, and Gordon Stewart praised the organ, saying that it was in good condition.

The programme was very varied and included:

Ottorino Resphighi Marcia Festiva (The Birds)

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) Organ Concerto (The Cuckoo and the Nightingale)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) fugue alla Gigue

Joseph Callaerts (1831 - 1901) Toccata in E Minor

Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847) Sonata 3 (first movement)

Albert Ketèlbey (1875 - 1959) In a Persian Market

W. T. Best (1826 - 1897) Variations on God Save the Queen

Albert Renaud (1855 - 1924) Toccata in D Minor

Gordon Stewart kept his audience amused with his anecdotes and descriptions of the music he was playing.  His evident enjoyment of the organ added to the enjoyment of the evening.


Saturday 30 June 2012 at Wesley Chapel Harrogate

Sounds of the Sixties

As part of our 150th anniversary Celebration Vocalis gave a concert at Wesley Chapel on 30th June, entitled Sounds of the Sixties.  The choir delighted us with their rendering of Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass, not well known by many of our audience, but certainly thoroughly enjoyed. This particular piece was written in 2004, by the former Kings singer.  The mass brings together two very diverse traditions – the Latin Mass and a jazz style of music very successfully. Vocalis were joined by the ladies quartet Et Cetera, who entertained us with some favourite songs from the 1960s.

The undoubted highlight of the evening was Vocalis’ rendering of Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo. This was a very dramatic interpretation of  the cantata by Joseph Horovitz, the libretto by Michael Flanders.  The story line was taken from Genesis and chronicles the adventures of Noah and his building of the ark.   Michael Flanders' famous wit came through with words such as

‘Noah!Noah! Don’t do anymore!
Your boat’s a laughing stock!
Ha!Ha! But Noah went right on building the ark,
and his hammer went knock knock knock!”.

The subject matter was very topical since we were in the throes of the wettest summer in living memory.  It was realistic too.   Les Sudron felt it necessary to borrow an umbrella to walk down to the front of the church to deliver his vote of thanks.

The choir was enthusiastically conducted by  Vocalis Director, Edmund Aldhouse, and superbly accompanied throughout the evening by Graham Bunting and Paul Dyson on piano,  Alasdair Simpson on bass, and Ed Dennis on percussion.  Noah deserves a special mention, superbly acted by Peter Crawford. 

A great evening’s entertainment, and thank you to Vocalis who also raised £350 for church funds.



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