The Chapel has been an important part of the Rowney Green community for over 150 years. Below are a selection of key dates in its, and the village’s history. If anyone knows any more facts, please pass them on.
Wesleyan Methodists from Redditch rent “Hillside Cottage” in Gravel Pit Lane and set up a meeting place.
“At Rowney Green we had the most tumbledown chapel I ever preached in or saw, but the preachers were physically well looked after” Benjamin Gregory DD.
Rowney Green Mission Church (in the parish of St Laurence) opened by “licence of the Lord Bishop of the diocese, who came a distance of 16 miles in the most inclement weather to sanction the undertaking by his presence”. “It was designed to be cheap, commodious, easily removable, and calculated to last for 30 or 40 years” (Worcester Herald October 12th 1862).
The owner of Hillside gave notice that he wished to take possession. On December 6th, Samuel Thickbroom (of Jasmine Cottage, Lower Rowney Green) conveyed 144 sq yards of land adjoining Chapel Lane to the Methodist Church.
On September 26th, Rowney Green Trustees agreed to build a new chapel.
The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built, costing £103. Upkeep and expenses were paid for by annual Seat Rents.
The organ (still in use) was purchased from Mr Hewins of Stratford for £19, and conveyed to the church by horse and cart!
The Vestry/Sunday School room, kitchen, toilet and back porch were built on to the Methodist Chapel at a cost of £1,343/17/10 (paid for mainly by local contributions).
The Bishop of Worcester attended a service to celebrate the centenary of Rowney Green Mission Church.
Chalet erected behind the Methodist Chapel to house the Sunday School.
St Laurence PCC voted to close Rowney Green Mission Church (Church of England – CofE) within 12 months.
On January 31st, the final Mission Church service was conducted by Rev. Leslie Aitken. In March, it was decided that CofE services should continue in the Methodist Chapel (one Communion a month taken by Rector of St Laurence) by kind invitation of its members.
Sharing Agreement signed on September 4th, making “Rowney Green Shared Church” official.
Joint Church Council inaugurated. Business split between “Methodist” and “Joint”.
In March, due to his commitments to the Family Service at St Laurence, the Rector (Alan Hayward) announced that Jim Pearson had agreed to lead services at Rowney Green.
CofE Communions increased to two a month.
Decision to no longer separate Methodist and Joint Council business at meetings.
In October, at the request of all church members, the Joint Council approved the change to joint services every Sunday at a new time of 9.30am.
On January 5th, the first regular Joint Service was held.
On September 24th Jim Pearson took his final service.
Church of England services once more become monthly, under the organisation of the Rural Dean.
Talks began on becoming a Local Ecumenical Partnership.
On Saturday June 23rd the Ecumenical Vision Statement & Inauguration of Rowney Green Local Ecumenical Partnership was signed in the presence of the Right Reverend David Walker (Bishop of Dudley) & the Reverend William Anderson (Chair of Birmingham Methodist District).
A special service was held on Sunday June 9th to celebrate completion of a major restoration of the Chapel and refurbishment of its historic organ.
The Chapel continues to be the spiritual centre for the village. As well as providing regular weekly Sunday worship, the Chapel and its ancillary premises are used as a retreat centre, for groups and individuals seeking spiritual refreshment and renewal.