AFTER almost a year of refurbishment, renovation and extension costing £900,000 a Methodist chapel is set to move into the 21st century and church leaders are inviting a community in to help them mark the event.

Bedale and District Methodist church on Wycar has played a major role in the life of the town for over 130 years but steep steps and narrow aisles with large pews left it no longer fit for purpose. A major campaign was launched to update and renovate the building to make it accessible particularly for older people and disabled people. It has taken many years to raise the money needed and to get permission and last summer the church was vacated and builders moved in.

Now Rev Kathlenn Wood said work is nearing completion and they’re reopening the doors on Saturday June 1 with a rededication service.

She added: "Years of prayerful planning, saving, activity and dreaming are about to come to fruition. A new slope access and steps lead from the off-road drop-off area into the bright and airy Foyer, from which the hall, kitchen, meeting room, toilet facilities and chapel can be easily and directly accessed.

"Whether you use feet and/or wheels to get around, you get to anywhere from anywhere with ease. We are so grateful to a gallant band of professionals who are bringing this vision into being and to all those who have given grants towards the work.

"This long list includes the Methodist Connexional District and Circuit and Insurance Funds; Kirby Foundation; Garfield Weston; All Churches Trust; Rank Trust; Norwood and Newton Settlement; Sir George Martin Trust and Rector’s 4+20 from Bedale amongst them.

“It has also involved the extraordinary generosity and hard work of the local congregation.Whilst we have been out of our building we have received the most generous hospitality from the Trustees and Volunteers at Dales Centre in Bedale for which we will always be grateful."

The church congregation is now looking forward to going back home and they want the community to join in. The building will be open from 10am to 6pm on Saturday June 1 with a service of thanksgiving and rededication from 3pm to 4pm. On Sunday June 2 there will be open morning worship at 10.30am with an open afternoon from 2pm to 4pm, refreshments will be available throughout the weekend.

Rev Wood said they are looking forward to inviting everyone into the transformed building which can be hired by community groups. For information contact Rev Kathleen on 01667 424486 email or Clare on