Epworth Hall – Official Opening at Denaby Main (picture)

November 1925

Mexborough and Swinton Times November 14, 1925

Epworth Hall
Official Opening at Denaby Main
Wesleyan’s Handsome New Asset
A Stronghold of the Coalfields

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Interior View of Epworth Hall

Mrs Chadwick, wife of the Rev Samuel Chadwick, principal at Cliff College, opened Epworth Hall, the new home of Denaby Wesleyan Methodist yesterday afternoon.

The total cost of the hall is £9,800, and of this £5,000 was given by Mr Joseph Rank, of Hull; £1000 by the South Yorkshire Coalfield Mission, and £1000 by the General Chapel Committee, leaving £2800 to be raised locally.

The hall is built to accommodate 450 people in tip up seats. Mr GWG Robinson of Sheffield was a contractor, and Sir Alfred Gelder, of Hull the architect.

The Hall has been fitted for the purpose of showing cinematographic films as well as for the usual purposes, but it has been decided not to install the cinematographic machinery for the present. It is felt that it is desirable for the debt to be cleared off before films are shown, and if hopes are fulfilled this will be done by next winter.

Epworth Hall – named after the birthplace of John Wesley – is a face Wesley Methodist Central Hall to be built recently, and this has been made possible largely owing to the generosity of Mr Rank and the Coalfield Mission.

The tea ceremony was performed in the vestibule of the Hall and commenced with the singing of a hymn.

The Rev JE Riley, MC of Doncaster, the superintendent of the South Yorkshire Wesleyan Coalfield Missions, said he had pleasure in welcoming visitors from a distance, whom they thankd for having come to help them, and share their joy, and he welcome friends from Denaby because on their shoulders will address the burden of maintaining the beautiful building. He asked them to pray that the Hall will become a centre of light and salvation in Denaby.

Mrs Chadwick then opened the door and was presented with a golden key.

A dedication service was afterwards held in the hall, conducted by the Rev BM Medcraft, assisted by the reverent Samuel Chadwick.

In an address Mr Metcalfe congratulated Wesleyans on their beautiful new building. Everyone agreed that something was wrong with the world, but unfortunately they were not all agreed as to what was needed to put it right. They were not agreed on the point where they must begin to put the world right.

There were so many problems facing them. He was listening to Britain’s first prohibitionist Member of Parliament on Monday, and he said very emphatically that the first thing to be done in the saving of the world, and certainly the first thing to be done in the saving of this country was to get rid of drink.

He (Mr Medcraft) believed in Prohibition, but he was not quite convinced that that was the place in which to begin. Somebody talked about gambling as somebody else about greed, and they said that it was there that they must start. Where were they to begin?

Christ was the authority to speak on human life. That, no one would dispute, although they might differ in their thoughts of His words for His work; they might even differ concerning His great redemptive purpose. All around was chaos and disorder. They wanted to help to put it right; Where should they begin?

Christ said they must begin with themselves. It was not very long ago that a Labour Leader described the Sermon on the Mount as a damnable document because of its impracticability. He (Mr Medcraft) declared it was the basis of all real progress. Perhaps people felt that seeking the Kingdom of God was excellent for an ideal world. The ideal appeals, and it shall be practice in heaven. Such people forgot, of course, that when they got to heaven, the Sermon on the Mount will be obsolete. The Sermon on the Mount was meant as a guide to them.

What were the great laws of life which they must obey? The great basic law of human life was the law of right. He was old-fashioned enough to believe that if they kept the right path they would come out all right.

The second great law was that of Service, which formed our great privilege of life, and the greatest law of life was the law of Love. After that all the rest proceeded. Three words: “Be,” “do”, “and “have.” But the trouble was that most of them wanted to begin at the wrong end, and to Have. He urged them to be right, do service and have love, and they would have all things.

Tea was served after the dedication service.

Mr Rank’s Munificence

Mr Rank, who presided in the evening, said people would be wondering why he gave so much money for chapels. It was because he wanted to spread the love of God among the people, and because he believe religion brought more happiness into life than anything else. If a man add God he did not want drink our gambling to give him excitement. He had sufficient interest to fill his life.

The Rev Samuel Chadwick said he wanted to take the opportunity of expressing is the sense of gratitude and appreciation for the event that day. The coalfield was his own pastoral charge, and he was responsible as pastor of the pastors of the district for the special provision from the Methodist standpoint of that ever-growing population.

He, with captain Davies, at shared the burden from the beginning. The work they did as nomadic evangelists was of great value. If they did not have those 10 years they would not have had that day.

He wanted especially to acknowledge how great was that indebtedness to Mr Hornabrook as a permanent chairman of the Commission, and as a man of statesmanlike quality second to none. There were also very greatly indebted to Mr Rank, and together those two shared their gratitude for generosity.

Praise for the Collier

Work in the coalfield was a great problem. Perhaps the collier was amongst the most intelligent of the countries partisans. He had known some place of worship planted in the midst of collier people that did not get the collier inside their doors, Bridges said at the people lived other,; the grocery, who sold the collier his provisions, the Doctor, the lawyer , the schoolmaster.

“We don’t want that here,” went on Mr Chadwick, “and we are not going to have it anymore. If you don’t want the collier you can clear out. (Applause) and if the collier comes in and doesn’t want you, eco-clear out, and anybody can clear out that has that temper. The gospel knows no distinction.

Concluding, Mr Chadwick pointed out the uselessness of a knowledge of theology for converting people, and said, “You have to go and convert them, and don’t think you have to educate them first and then convert them – that is the devil’s doctrine.