A History of Mount Zion
It is time for the autumn
issue of "The Dial". We have had a very exciting year
this year with the Tercentenary of John Wesley's birth and have
experienced the joining with so many other Methodists in celebrating
this. In so doing we have been able to hear excellent sermons
and lectures and join in with hymn singing with great gusto. We
wonder how we may celebrate during the next year.
We have a further challenge
next year when we try to do all we can to make our premises more
friendly for people with disabilities.
We hope to get the outside
toilet made suitable for the disabled and wheelchair users. We
are fortunate that our doors meet the criteria because they are
We have obtained some large
print service books and large print hymn books, but we now need
to look at a public address system to help those with hearing
Christmas is coming closer
and in two weeks it will be the season of Advent when we once
again prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus and celebrate
His birth in Bethlehem. We join in sending you greetings for Christmas
and for the New Year of 2004. How time passes - it seems not long
ago that we were looking towards the millennium. We hope that
you will find renewed joy in celebrating the season of Christmas
and that many of your hopes and aspirations will be fulfilled
in the New Year. We offer to your our prayers and thoughts and
we ask for yours for us to be able to continue our work at Mount
Zion and to minister to all people in our own special way.
With all good wishes,
Yours in His service
Visit of Judith Whiting
- 7th May 2003 and
4th June 2003.
We have three manuscript books of hymn tunes which date back to
1823 and 1832, and Judith Whiting of the Gallery Singers came
to photograph all these tunes. It took her two visits to complete
the books. We now have these on CD and the books are on display
at Open Days.
Judith offered to come to
Mount Zion with the Singers to do a concert with the music of
Accepted Widdop. Unfortunately we could not take that up because
it was felt that we could not draw a large enough audience. More
of Accepted Widdop later.
Gift Day and Songs Of Praise -11th May 2003. This was the
usual Gift Day and Songs of Praise when various people chose their
favourite hymns and everyone enjoyed singing them.
Harvest Festival -14th September 2003. The
church was very tastefully decorated in a traditional style for
the Harvest Festival and afterwards the flowers and produce were
taken out to those who were unwell or housebound. The collection
Chapel Anniversary - 5th October, 2003 The Anniversary
Services were conducted by the Rev. Ruth Gee, one of our Circuit
Ministers. This was an enjoyable service and quite well attended.
The collection amounted to £65.50p
We have had the usual four
open days from June to September and the Heritage Open Days run
by the National Civic Trust. We have had quite good attendances
for the Heritage Open Days over the years and this year was no
exception. We opened on the Saturday afternoon of the 13th September
and Sunday, 14th September from 10am to 4pm. There are always
interested and interesting people who come along to these events
and we were well complimented on the state of the building and
the contents. It is always difficult to open for more time on
the Saturday because it always falls on the day of the District
Synod - it is one way for me to miss half Synod! Over the season
we raised £98.70p at the open events.
I am still pursuing the
repair of the sundial and the repainting of the end wall of the
chapel and cottage. I am progressing but these things move very
The Rev. Donald Ryan has
been twice to photograph, measure and re-catalogue all the Hird
Collection. This took almost four days to complete. It was a very
tedious job and although the weather was dry and sunny, it was
very windy. He photographed each item outside and we had to keep
hold of the tissue paper each item was wrapped in, as it was very
windy on the first occasion. We also had to keep moving as the
sun moved around. Donald is coming again next February to complete
the catalogue. He is also going to ask for some of the items to
People keep asking if we
will take items to add to the Mount Zion collection and it is
sometimes difficult to refuse things. But our collecting policy
is to take in things relating to Mount Zion, Methodist New Connexion
or the local area. This year we have been given four volumes of
Wesley's Journal and a number of paper items of the 1938 celebrations.
We are grateful to Mrs Myra Jennings for donating those things.
We have also acquired a 12" plate commemorating the first
black Vice President of Conference, Mr Leon Murray. This is a
very attractive plate.
On Saturday, 11th October,
2003 the Yorkshire Branch of the Wesley Historical Society visited
Mount Zion. They came for their Annual General Meeting and Mr.
Alan Rose of Manchester was the speaker. Mr. Rose has a special
interest in Mount Zion as he is especially interested in Methodist
New Connexion. It was a very well attended meeting and the visitors
showed a great interest in Mount Zion and its history. I was able
to give a short talk as an introduction to the day. Tea was served
in the cottage - 42 people partook of our usual Yorkshire Sunday
School type tea. It was a tea of 'togetherness' because we really
don't have room for forty two people but they squashed themselves
in very well. From our point of view it helped financially. We
raised £207.80p from teas and the stall. We have now got
teas off to a fine art and seem to manage things very well.
On the 2nd November 2003,
the BBC 'Songs of Praise' came from Halifax. The main setting
was the Halifax Parish Church. One of the interviews for that
program was with Philip Wilby who arranged for Black Dyke Brass
Band (on this occasion) to play the tune 'Halifax'. He had researched
this and found one arrangement in Cheetham's Psalmody with supplement
by J. V. Roberts. This was a book presented to 'The Vicar and
Clergy of the Parish of Halifax and most respectfully inscribed
by their very grateful and most obedient servant J. Houldswoth'.
We have copies of this book at Mount Zion and the tune 'Halifax'
is written by Accepted Widdop.
Who was accepted Widdop you might ask? The local story goes that
he was born in Illingworth and was an 'unexpected and late addition'
to the Widdop family and on his birth his mother is reputed to
have said, "well never mind - he's accepted". It is
a very nice tune and somewhat familiar to me but I don't know
We now have the pipe organ
in working condition again, albeit not completely. It sounds very
good and we always enjoy the music with Stephen Illingworth playing.
Stephen always chooses music which is very fitting and he plays
it well and always in the best mode.
We have been very fortunate, Mr Malcolm Spink was recommended
to us through the Methodist Connexion to come and see what could
be done with the organ. He added something to boost the amount
of air coming into the instrument and did some repairs on stops
and keys, etc. and got it ready for use at the Wesley 300 event.
He came to that service and did a little bit more 'tinkering'.
He said he was willing to come to tune the organ and if we wished
he would come for a day and do further repairs. We agreed that
this should be so.
We then had a very generous gift from Mrs Edna Bradley in memory
of her husband John. We felt that it would be appropriate to spend
some, if not all, of that money on the organ. John's father and
grandfather were organists over a long period of time at Mount
Zion and we thought John would be pleased that we spent the money
in that way. Stephen is in consultation with Malcolm Spink and
we hope to have further work on the organ.
Our thanks to Stephen for all he does for us and to Terence Scott
and David Coggan from Queensbury who also come to play for services.
It has been a very
exciting year and lots of events have taken place for the celebration
of the 300th anniversary of the Birth of John Wesley.
The first event I went to was the launch of the book 'John Wesley
- A Pictorial Journey' which I reported in the last 'Dial'. We
have sold a large number of these books and they are still available
if anyone would like one. It is a beautifu1 book.
The second event was the
National service held at Lincoln Cathedral. I went along with
Rev Ruth Gee and Dr John Hargreaves from the Halifax Circuit and
Rev Chris Sharp from the Upper Calder Circuit. We arrived in good
time and in beautiful weather on the 17th June 2003 for the 2.30pm
service. We were sitting on the back row (which in Lincoln Cathedral
is a long way from the front).
It was wonderful to be part of an event of that size but I found
it rather disappointing in that we did not know a number of the
hymns and it was somewhat dull. As the service went on it grew
darker and darker, the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled
and as the great west doors were opened we could see it was pouring
down. We had to turn round to the west and then we were on the
front row. We went outside and assembled in front of the Cathedral
where the President and Vice President received a gift and said
prayers. We then sang unaccompanied 'And can it be...' to Sagina.
It was wonderful and just what we needed to do to celebrate Wesley.
As we came out the rain ceased and the sun shone!
The West Yorkshire District had a celebration of four services
based on 'The Four Alls of Methodism' at four different venues
in the regions of the District. Each of the services was organised
by the Circuit in which they are but there was to be one common
hymn, 'All for Jesus'.
The first service was on Sunday, 25th May, 2003 at Bradford
Cathedral. The cathedral was full (lots more chairs to be brought
in and lots more orders of service to be printed). A banner had
been made by people at Baildon Methodist Church. This was to go
around the District to each service. It had on it a flame and
the words 'The best of all is God is with us'. It was quite large
and quite striking. This preacher was Rev Sarah Jemison a minister
in the Shipley and Bingley Circuit and the subject 'All need to
This was a mainly modern style of worship with powerpoint, music,
dramatic readings, etc. and multi-racial in the people taking
part. It was very appropriate for Bradford which is a very eclectic
city with many different religions and races.
The second service
was at Far Bank Methodist Church at Shelley in the Huddersfield
area. Far Bank is a very old building and dates back to 1774.
It was Methodist New Connexion and there has been rivalry about
whether Mount Zion or Far Bank can claim to be the oldest MNC.
I think we have been given the accolade, if that is what it is,
at Mount Zion, being 1773. It was a very good place to have such
a celebration and was almost full. The preacher was Dr Stephen
Dawes from the Cornwall District. He took the second 'all', 'All
can be saved'.
It was not what we had expected, and some might have thought it
was anti-Wesley, but it did make us think and brought some aspects
of Wesley and the society of his day which we may not have known
about. A very nice tea was served afterwards and there was a display
The third event was at Trinity Methodist Church, Skipton
and the theme was 'All can know they are saved'. The Church was
not full, but a good number came and we were well rewarded by
the preaching of Rev Michael Townsend, Chairman of the Leeds District,
and the whole atmosphere of the service was quite traditional.
It was a very happy occasion and had a great element of celebration.
The last service
was at Mount Zion. I am not biased in any way at all but it really
was the best. It was the most wonderful experience and was certainly
a celebration. Dr John Hargreaves of the Halifax Circuit, who
is an historian, led the service, and what he contributed throughout
the service was so appropriate. I am sure we could not have found
anyone better able to make the service what it was than John.
Rev Ruth Gee, acting Superintendent of the Halifax Circuit, the
Rev Wendy Wilby, the Vicar of Halifax, Rev Lisa Quarmby and the
Hipperholme Young People's Music Group all took part. The preacher
was Rev Martin Turner the Superintendent Minister of the Central
Hall Westminster. He was very challenging, as we would expect
Martin to be, as he interpreted for the present day 'All can be
saved to the uttermost'. It was good to have Martin back in the
Halifax Circuit, where he was minister at St Andrew's some time
The singing went very well and Miss Enid Walker was the organist.
This was a wonderful experience with which to close our local
celebrations and we now look forward to the next big event we
We had all hoped that Mount
Zion would be full for the service, but thought it was stretching
it a bit to think we would get 350, which is the number the Church
originally held (some transept pews have been removed).
We had prepared in hope and cleared everything out from the gallery,
apart from one pew at the back of the gallery and the 'boxes'
at the top corners of the gallery.
We had arranged for cars to be parked in the field at the top
of the lane.
Michael Wilkinson who rents the field from us had no crops in
and would cut the grass for silage that week. He assured us it
was very firm andthat cars would not be bogged down even if it
We had a group of stewards on car parking in Keighley Road, Per
Lane, and in the field (Julian Patrick) and it was a good job
we did because we had well over 90 cars parked in the field as
well as some on the roadside. We had a coach from Skipton, with
people who were celebrating their anniversary and thought it a
good idea to come to Mount Zion. We had help from many people
with other stewarding jobs.
Ralph Moore had printed 300 orders of service through the Illingworth
Messenger Trust, and we are grateful to the Trust for that.
We would like to thank all those who helped in any way.
There were five copies of the order of service left and the only
spaces in the chapel were in the gallery in the 'free' pews near
The singing was a triumph and to have a Church full was beyond
our wildest dreams.
Anthony Greenwood took a lot of photographs of the event and these
can be seen on our website (www.mountzionhalifax.org.uk). The
weather was fine and warm. The collections amounted to £683.30,
and when the expenses had been taken out there was £502.05
The Halifax Circuit were generous in allowing Mount Zion to keep
the collection because it would have been our Anniversary Reunion
which is one of our biggest fundraisers
in the year.
Thanks are expressed to the Circuit.
A number of books have been
published this year or leading up to this year and I thought you
may be interested to know about one or two of them:
John Wesley; The evangelical revival and the
rise of Methodist in England - John Munsey Turner ISBN 0 7162
05564 published by Epworth 2001. John Turner was minister in the
Halifax Circuit and has visited Mount Zion on a number of occasions
since going to Bolton. His preaching is of the highest order as
is his writing. This book, he says is a general introduction to
John Wesley's thought and context. It also tells about the relationship
that the early Methodists had with other churches. The book is
very readable and not 'dry as dust' academic. It put Wesley and
his family into the context of the 18th century and it analyses
their theology, how Wesley lived his life and practised it. It
tells of the influence his thought and the of the central spirituality
of the early Methodists, which had a great influence on many aspects
of the community. It tells something of Wesley's life other than
his preaching. People tend to think of Wesley as an itinerant
preacher and nothing else.
There were many facts to the life of Wesley. He was in many respects
a complex person and some things seemed to be diametrically opposed,
but they did fit into his purpose and his calling from God. He
was someone who reached out in many directions to many people.
This book includes much of that. JMT also writes about the Primitive
Methodist Church and illustrates that Methodism was much wider
than the various Wesleyan traditions. A good read.
On the trail of John
Wesley; by J Keith
Cheetham, Luath Press Ltd. Edinburgh. Published 2003. This book
was launched at the Methodist Conference in Llandudno in June.
I visited Conference on that day and met Keith, who I know very
well through Archives and History meetings. I was delighted that
he signed my copy of the book. Keith was very involved in Tourism
and when I first met him he was Director for the Black Country
Tourism Unit which he set up. He continues to be tourism advisor
to the Heritage Committee of the Methodist Church and has been
a key player both locally and nationally and has strong connections
with the American Methodist Church. He is in demand as a public
speaker and a regular broadcaster on BBC radio.
In this book Keith Cheetham goes on a journey to trace Wesley's
life and gives very detailed information of Methodist sites which
Wesley visited. It is a very thorough guide to the places connected
with Wesley and his work, and the achievements of the great man
which changed the religious face of Britain and established the
world wide Methodist Church.
The book begins by outlining the early days of the Wesley family
and their time at Epworth. It tells of John's schooldays and his
time at Oxford. It follows him to Georgia and includes the Aldersgate
experience. After that it goes on a geographical journey of places
visited by Wesley.
Chapter 10 is in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire and starts by outlining
the Calder Valley and how the first Quarterly Meeting was held
at Todmorden. It outlines the vision of the Octagonal Chapel at
Heptonstall and its coming to fruition.
Mount Zion is included and it tells of James Riley's going to
hear Wesley, and the eventual building of the cottage and chapel
in 1773. It includes thereafter a section on Methodist New Connexion
and Alexander Kilham and one on John Nelson. Again this is a very
It also includes maps of the area in each chapter, a chronology
of John Wesley and early Methodism and some good references for
other books on Wesley. It includes some drawings.
Another publication which
I have not yet read is Roy Hattersley's biography of John Wesley.
He takes things from a different angle, and is not a believer,
but I am told it is well worth reading.
A Reminder: I still have some copies of John
Wesley -A Pictorial Journey, by John Hurst. A very good buy for
a Christmas gift! The cost is £14.99 (£3.50 of which
goes to Mount Zion). Postage is an additional £2.
Our Insurance Company came
to do an inspection and assess the insurance cover. They pointed
out one or two things which needed to be done and said we should
have a Safety Officer and do a risk assessment on the whole site.
Anthony Greenwood said that he would do this for us and I met
Anthony at Mount Zion one rather cold Monday teatime and we went
round the whole of the site - chapel, cottage, outbuildings and
Anthony then went away and assessed all that we should do.
The Insurance Company had pointed out the floor covering at the
top of the stairs by the organ, handrails up all three staircases
in the Chapel, fire extinguishers and a fire blanket and various
They also asked if we wished to have the organ insured - the value
put on it was £194,000. We have decided to go ahead with
After Anthony had done the risk assessment (all printed out on
spreadsheets, together with various forms which we need) we discussed
which things should be done first. Those items have now been almost
completed and we are most grateful to Anthony for all the hours
of time he has put in and the work he has done in sorting out
- Smoke alarms in the cottage and vestry
- A first aid kit on the vestry.
- Wall handrails in the three staircases in the chapel and at
the top of the stairs in the cottage.
- A fire extinguisher in the cottage.
-Notices - mind the step, mind your head, no exit, etc.
-Cleared out all unused or unwanted items from the gallery.
-Put light bulbs in one or two places where they were out.
- Tested portable electrical appliances.
- New carpet at top of stairs beside organ.
- Refitted the book rests for choir and choirmaster (back gallery).
- Put padding on the gallery above stairs to pulpit - those tall
ministers who have banged their head going into the pulpit would
now have something a bit softer to bang their head on!
- Checked the graveyard for loose stones, monuments, etc.
We have also had fitted
two water fire extinguishers, one CO2 extinguisher in theChapel
and a fire blanket in the cottage.
A lesson in shopping around:-
I contacted Nu-swift, Elland and their quote for one water, one
CO2 and a blanket which I had to collect and would have had to
have fixed, and buy all the signs was £771.
I looked at three other local firms and Calder Valley Fire Extinguishers
fitted two water, one CO2 and a blanket, gave us all the signs
for £172.73 amazing!
Trevor Hoyle - We send Trevor
our greetings and wish him a speedy recovery after his recent
operation. We hope you will soon be back with us Trevor when you
are on your feet and able to walk up the path to Chapel.
Jack Illingworth - We have
been glad to see Jack in his pew again and walking much better.
He is very pleased with his progress but unfortunately he has
to have some more surgery in the near future. This is unrelated
to his previous operation.
We hope all goes well for you and you will be in our prayers as
you undergo surgery and any subsequent treatment.
Una Gill - We continue to
think about you as you travel back and forth to Cambridge to look
after Susan and her family. We are glad Susan has finished her
treatment and hope that she will soon be back to fitness and able
to cope with her family - two lively young children. Well done
Una in caring for those two little children.
Mary Ayrton - We assure
Mary and the family our continued concern and prayers. Mary has
managed to join us once or twice at the fellowship and once at
the Church Council. We hope that you will be able to come again
in the future.
Best wishes for the winter months which lie ahead.
We are now in the closed
season for events but we still continue our worship at 2.45pm
each Sunday. Our attendances are around 14 on average.
There will be a Carol Service
on Sunday, 21st December, 2003. This will be at 2.45pm and everyone
We send you all our greetings
for the Christmas period and for the New Year. It is often a time
for families getting together and it is certainly a celebration
for the Church in welcoming the Christ Child into our hearts again.
Anniversary and Re-union:
This will be on the first
Sunday in July 2004 and the preacher will be Rev Derek Hoe who
is now in retirement in Baildon. We are glad that Derek and Anthea
had enough sense to return to the West Yorkshire area. If you
are missing the water around you as it was in the Isle of Wight
We were delighted to hear that Rev Will Morrey has been designated
as President of the Methodist Conference for the year 2004-5.
This is the highest accolade that the Church affords a minister
and we are so pleased that Will has been given this honour. We
have very fond memories of him at Mount Zion and have followed
his ministry over the years since he left. We are always pleased
to hear from him and about the family.
WiII went to Wales when he left us and he has accomplished so
much since that time. He was Synod Secretary of the North Wales
District and then became the Chairman of the South Wales District
some time ago. We know he has been very involved in ecumenical
affairs in Wales and our sympathy went to him and his colleagues
when the talks about the Welsh Bishop failed. I am sure Will will
be a great ambassador for people with disabilities during his
presidential year, as he has been to the Church throughout his
ministry. We are so glad that you decided long ago that you would
live in and be part of the hearing world and that you continued
to answer your call to ministry.
We hope you wilI have a wonderful year as president and that Vicky
wilI be able to share as much as possible with you. I am sure
some of us will be at Loughborough to see you take office and
receive Wesley's Field Bible and take up his 'chair'.
Our best wishes to Vicky
and Adam and Peter.
Thanks to Mary Dixon for
these words which she remembers from childhood - one of many she