It was a sad day when, after 187 years of services, both Upton and Blewbury Methodist Churches closed on April 14th, but at the same time we (the church members) were glad that our final services were so well supported. The last full service for Upton was on Easter Sunday, a Communion Service led by our minister, Rev Richard Bittleston. It was well supported by regular attendees and visitors to the village, and Upton chapel was completely full for the short service there on Sunday 14th April. Rev Bittleston wanted to emphasise that Blewbury and Upton Methodist churches had combined 3 years ago to become one church, the Spring Line Church. So we started with a short service in Upton, then many of us walked to Blewbury along the old footpath to continue the service at Blewbury chapel.
Members of Blewbury Brass Band volunteered to play at the Blewbury service (very fitting, because one of the founders of the Band was a Methodist local preacher and chapel trustee for 35 years). The chapel was full to overflowing and the singing raised the roof. Richard asked us not to feel sad at the closure of the chapels but to remember everything they had done in the past, in particular revolutionising the Victorian attitude to children’s education by building their chapels with a school room. Methodism thrived in Oxfordshire Villages through the two world wars, but times have changed and the number of members has fallen, so we have to accept that it is time to move on. “Even as we let go of these cherished places, God remains with us”
For those who wish to continue to attend Methodist Church services the nearest churches are in Didcot and Wallingford, or if you prefer to attend a smaller chapel, the nearest is in Milton village. See www.wantageandabingdoncircuit.org.uk/ for details of services.
We would like to thank everyone in the community who has used our buildings in the past few years – your financial support enabled us to continue as long as we have.
Members of the Spring Line Church