A CHURCH is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Barnard Castle Methodist Church was first opened in 1894 evolved under the leadership of an Anglican priest, John Wesley.

Methodist Fellowship in Barnard Castle first began in 1747 with a small group of men and women meeting every evening in a house in Galgate to read the bible and the works of John Wesley, to sing hymns and to pray.

Four more places of Methodist Wesleyan worship followed with The Hole in the Wall Meeting House (1750-1765); Broadgates Chapel (1765-1823), the New Chapel in Wycliffe Yard (1823-1894) and the present building which opened on March 30, 1894 as the Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church.

There was also a Primitive Methodist Church on Newgate, preceded by a small building in what is still known as Ranters’ Yard. In 1932 the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists united and in 1974 the Newgate Chapel closed with members joining with Trinity in what is now known as Barnard Castle Methodist Church.

Celebration events will be held throughout the year including a service on May 19 with speaker, Reverend Tim Cooke, who is formerly a dale resident and trainee preacher and now is the Methodist Minister in Penrith.

On June 7 to 9, an art and craft festival with a celebration of worship will be held with a special Sunday service by minister Reverend Bev Hollings.

On September 15, speaker Reverend Keith Pearce, will be invited to speak while Professor Clive Marsh will be invited to speak on October 13. A carol concert with Barnard Castle Band is also planned for December 15.

For more information visit teesdalemethodists.co.uk