Rye’s Methodists are planning to move to a new home in the town after almost 70 years in the existing church located by the Gungarden.
The switch to St Mary’s Centre will take place from 3 October after the Church’s five-yearly inspection found that substantial costs would be involved in refurbishing the old building, which dates from 1903.
The current church was originally used as the Sunday School, but became the Methodists’ church in 1954 after the century-old chapel, a successor to the 1789 original, was severely damaged by a German bomb in the war.
Up to 15 people attend Rye’s Methodist service each Sunday. A member of the congregation said: “We’re looking forward positively to still being able to minister to the community”.
The move to new premises has been in the offing for several months, but a recent Methodist Circuit meeting gave its consent on 22 June and approval will be sought from the District Synod.
It is understood the Methodist church building is not currently listed, although it is located in Rye Conservation Area, within the historic citadel part of the town. The most likely outcome of the decision to move premises is that the old church will be sold.
Rye is one of Methodism’s most historic sites, with the church’s founder John Wesley visiting the town a total of 11 times between 1758 and 1790. As with other congregations of the same denomination, music has become a strong tradition in Rye Methodists’ services.
Image Credits: David Worwood .