There was a service of celebration at the former Ebenezer Methodist Church on Sunday 23rd October, to celebrate 200 years of church buildings on the site. The service was attended by the Mayor of Calderdale Cllr Angie Gallagher and her consort Mr Jim Gallagher. There was a capacity filling congregation which included people from Calderdale Methodist Circuit, Halifax Central Church and Christians Together Calderdale.
There were hymns and songs both old and new including Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing which includes the words “Here I’ll raise my Ebenezer”; having been sung at many church celebrations in the past.
Those taking part in the service included Geoff Butler (Chair New Ebenezer Management Group), Dave Fawcett (Christians Together Calderdale), Heather Smith (Halifax Central Church), Revd’s Colin Sherwood and Vicky Atkins (Superintendent) from the Calderdale Methodist Circuit.
Cabbage Lane is a now unknown street name in Halifax, but 200 years ago it was a rough track at the bottom of Pellon Lane; it is now known as St James Road.
The Halifax of 200 years ago was seen as a relatively Godless place ‘that was associated with some of the worst places under heaven’. It was this which caused the Primitive Methodists of Barnsley to send missionaries who came and established Methodist societies at Kew Hill (above Blackley), Lindwell in Greetland, and Halifax.
The zeal of the people of Halifax enabled the construction of a building along Cabbage Lane, which provided a base for much worship and work in the community until a new building was built on the site in 1922. Remarkably, the new building was paid for by Mr John William Standeven, a local mill owner. His company is now Standeven Fabrics which is a trading name for Luxury Fabrics Ltd which is based in Bradford.
The new building existed as a church until its final service on 8th January 2012.
Since then, there has been a partnership between the Halifax Food Support Drop In, Halifax Central Church and the Calderdale Methodist Circuit in keeping the building open and as a place of mission in the Halifax Town Centre.
Geoff Butler has used information available from the past to prepare a brochure which deals with the history of the buildings. The brochure can be obtained at a cost of £5, and all proceeds will be given to the Food Support Drop In. The cost of the brochures has been covered by The Calderdale Methodist Circuit.
He said that “even today the building is playing a part in feeding the bodies through the work of the Food Support Drop In and feeding the souls through Halifax Central Church”.
“The history of the way in which the building and that area of Halifax has undergone tremendous change over the 200 years, is covered in the brochure, and its continuing Christian witness, was certainly a reason for celebration”.
A copy of the brochure can be obtained from the partner organisations, or by emailing Geoff Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The attached photographs show a pen & ink drawing of the original building, Mr J W Standeven, New Ebenezxer as it is today and the Mayor and Consort with Mr Roy Sykes a former member of Ebenezer who was first taken to the building when he was 5 years old.