THE final service of a chapel forced to close because of a dwindling congregation saw the building filled with supporters from churches across the Yorkshire Dales.
The North Yorkshire Dales Methodist Circuit made the decision to close Arkengarthdale Methodist Church at Langthwaite earlier this year, despite attempts made by church members to welcome new people and make service times more convenient.
The annual Whitsuntide service earlier this month was well attended, and superintendant minister of the circuit Reverend Alan Coustick said if it was as full every week there would be no need for closure – but he added that parishioners from other churches in the Dale had gone in support.
He said: “People are very sad to see it go but I think it was quite a positive service.
“It has been a tradition for the chapel to host a Whitsuntide service here for many years and the chapel has served the community of Arkengarthdale for more than 250 years, but we tried to make it an uplifting occasion.”
The church is one of just three Methodist churches left in Arkengarthdale and Swaledale, with the remaining two in Reeth and Gunnerside, and their future is uncertain although not in immediate danger.
The Methodist chapel was erected in the 1880s at a cost of £1,631 by a congregation of poorly paid lead miners and farmers.
A book of memories of the chapel is now on sale at the Swaledale Museum in Reeth for £2.