BLACKWATERTOWN Methodist Church is closing it’s doors after over 120 years of worship due to dwindling numbers.
Methodist meetings have been held in Blackwatertown since the 18th Century.
The Society of Blackwatertown was formed in December 1880 with a membership of six.
By April 1898, when the church was opened, the membership had increased to 28.
James Beattie is named as a devoted member who served Blackwatertown as a Sunday School Superintendent and the Charlemont Circuit as a Circuit Steward and a Local Preacher towards the end of the 1800s.
According to church records, Mr Beattie ranks amongst the staunchest of friends of Methodism.
He was a Local Preacher for more than 50 years, often walking more than 15 miles on a Sunday to take services.
Thanks to his foresight and generosity, a Methodist day-school was established in Blackwatertown.
For some time James Beattie had the desire to build a Methodist Church in the town and to this end he offered a large disused grain store that was on his property, free of cost for that purpose.
The Quarterly Meeting of the Charlemont Circuit, of which Blackwatertown is a part, passed, at its meeting of June 1896, a resolution giving Mr Beattie permission to go to the August District meeting for liberty to build a church in Blackwatertown.
Permission was given and the vision began to become a reality.
When the church was opened on 22nd April 1896 at a cost of £500, it was free of debt.
Previously Methodist services had taken place in the day school which was not really suitable for the purpose.
The Methodist Church in Blackwatertown was established around the 1880s and continued in use until 1968, when the building was handed back to the church by the education authorities.
It was renovated and opened as a Church Hall in June 1969. Eventually it was sold and a new hall was built on the church site.
The present church, while not large, is exceedingly neat and comfortable. It is a monument to Mr Beattie’s preserving and self-denying efforts and to his foresight, generosity and dedicated service to God.
In March 1975, land was given to the church for a car park and the building of toilets. A major extension was completed on 2nd May 1992, giving the church a new hall, kitchen and vestry.
The Church is holding their final service this Sunday. The Church refused to comment when asked.