Farewell to Bethel
On Sunday 16th May 2012 over 200 people attended the final service at Bethel Chapel in Lothersdale.
Rev Charlotte Common conducted the service of thanksgiving, an emotional event for her as she had led her first service there, and also for the many people who attended the Chapel in the past and returned for this unique occasion. Over time the number of regular worshipers has dwindled as people moved from the village and church attendances in general decreased. The sad decision to close had to be taken when it was no longer felt viable to keep the Chapel open.
The congregation sang a mix of hymns and modern worship songs, with David Birtwistle accompanying the hymns on the organ and the Big Sing band leading the worship songs.
The final musical contribution was by the Colne Orpheus Glee Union, the male voice choir which first sang in the Chapel in 1942, continuing annually for the next 25 years and returning occasionally until 2002. Their final item was one written by Douglas Wilson of Lothersdale and entitled 'The Vesper' - a setting of the familiar hymn 'Now the day is over'. Rev Charlotte completed the closure ceremony by snuffing out the Chapel candle, but said that the smoke left behind was the hope for the future worship, evenn though no longer in his building.
After the service the congregation released coloured 'baloons of hope' into the blue skies and an excellent tea was served. Despite the sad reason for the service there was a warm feeling of thankfulness for the years of worship and fellowship held at 'The Chapel on the Hill'. Many will remember the happy times spent there.
Photos of the service can be found in the gallery.