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Walsall church closes its doors after 55 years

By Harriet Evans | Walsall | News | Published:

A much-loved church in Walsall has welcomed the community for its final service after more than 50 years.

Rev Liam Dacre-Davis in Bentley Methodist Church which has closed

Bentley Methodist Church reluctantly made the decision to close its doors 12 months ago as the size of the congregation continuously decreased and maintaining the building became too challenging.

The final service was held on Sunday and was attended by more than 50 people who were sad to see the church close its doors after 55 years.

Rev Liam Dacre-Davis, who is the minister at two other Methodist churches in Walsall, said: "It's really difficult to know what words to say, and it was not an easy decision to close the church, but maintaining a building takes a great effort and out small congregation is not able to do this anymore.

The first stone of the church being laid in June 1963
The Bentley men's fellowship pictured circa 1960

"There are a lot of mixed emotions about the closure, but here is nothing else we can do but share our faith, celebrate and remember the fond memories we all have."

The church, which has been a fixture on Margaret Road since 1964, has struggled over the last decade as the number people attending services gradually declined due to ill health, people moving away and a lack of new members joining.

The church held its final service on Sunday

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The church's 25th birthday celebrations in 1977

Old and new members of the congregation came together on Sunday to reminisce about the church's history, share their stories, pray and sing hymns.

Gordon Williams, a member of the church since it first opened, said: "I remember attending the grand opening of the church in 1964 and the whole place was packed, it was so full and we managed to reach over 50 years thanks to the generosity of the people of Bentley.

"Concerts, parties, trips and dances, we did it all here and we enjoyed it and we still talk about them to this day."

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Some of the congregation pictured in 2007

Members of the audience laughed and cried as Mr Williams shared a heartfelt poem he had written about the church's history, and was met with a round of applause.

Finishing off his speech, he said: "Thank you Bentley and all of the members past and present this was my second home where I have lived my life. Now it is time to uproot and plant elsewhere."

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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