On Saturday 2 January, about 80 people joined with Ryedale Evangelical Church (REC) to praise God for his amazing kindness in providing Middleton Chapel as a place of worship.
REC was formed in 1984 as a plant from Whitby and York Evangelical Churches, meeting initially in Kirkby Moorside and then for the past 18 years in Pickering Community Infants School.
In just over a year, the church has moved from meeting in that school to worshipping in a restored Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, extended in 1883, but in use at least 40 years before that.
When the Methodists finally finished using it in May 2014, it was put up for sale but a local builder’s plans for it were thwarted when planning permission was refused. The building returned to the market at two thirds the previous price, and the church began to consider prayerfully how they might purchase the building.
To their delight and amazement, the Lord stirred up some folks to buy the building for the church’s use. And this was just the beginning of a year-long string of providences wherein the Lord revealed his hand.
Toilets were needed, drains had to be dug, the ceiling needed new plasterboard, the front door fell apart when we began painting, and windows had to be replaced — among many other things! However, we can testify to the Lord’s goodness in supplying all the resources to refurbish and restore the building to a safe working condition.
We gladly offer thanks to God, and to church members, friends and folks from other churches, who rolled up their sleeves to help as they were able.
We began worshipping there at the beginning of November 2015 and had a community open day on Saturday 28 November. A good number of local people attended and we took the opportunity to explain who we were, by demonstrating how we worshipped God and explaining that evangelicals are gospel-centred people who confess to being sinners, yet looking to Jesus Christ and his work of atonement for salvation.
Since then, we’ve had a well-attended carol service, and, for the first time, were able to meet on Christmas morning to praise God for the gift of his Son.
Dr Gareth Crossley preached at the thanksgiving service, speaking with unction, from 1 Corinthians 2:1-4, on ‘We preach Christ crucified’.
A new day has dawned in Ryedale. May it please our God to glorify his Son through us, in the saving and sanctifying of many (www.middletonchapel.com).