The History of Zoar Chapel

Zoar chapel had something of an unusual beginning! It began its existence as a result of members being ejected from the Wesleyan congregation at Himley Road in 1835.  They were part of a dispute which reached way beyond the Black Country and concerned the authority of the national Conference over and above the local Circuits and chapels. 

Using at first the club room of the Woodman Inn, then the barn at The Fiddler’s Arms, these ‘exiles’ took over a wooden building (known as the “Wooden Tabernacle”), near the Limerick Inn on Summit Place.  They were one of 19 similar groups (totalling some 1,500 members) from Societies in the Dudley Wesleyan Circuit who banded together to quit Wesleyanism and join the Methodist New Connexion.  By 1837 the MNC Society in Gornal Wood had a brick building (the “Brick Tabernacle”) on the site of the old wooden building.  A school was built in 1851 in Abbey Road and a new and larger church (the first “Zoar”) was built alongside it in 1854.  Plans were made to extend and improve the 1854 building towards the end of the nineteenth Century.  However, following encouragement from the connexional MNC Chapel Committee, it was decided to erect a new building.  So, the Zoar of today opened its doors in 1906.

(With thanks to Rev. Ward A. Jones for providing the above which was included in the 50th anniversary brochure of the Gornal & Sedgley Circuit)


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