The History of Balsall Common Methodist Church
Methodist witness at Balsall Common has continued for well over 190 years. The original church had a date on the lintel over the front door of 1825, but before that Cottage Meetings were held in the village. The first church had a gallery, wooden seats and a pulpit but pews and a rostrum replaced the seats and pulpit. In the 1860’s Eli Elson, a Local Preacher and Baker came to the village and in due course the Weslyan chapel became known as Elson’s chapel.
The first church, in Kenilworth Road, was sold in the mid 1960’s during the ministry of John T Gray, and the building, previously used by the Plymouth Brethren, in Station Road, was purchased and extended. It was opened on 21st November 1964 with Mr. Granville Berry, City Engineer of Coventry and a Methodist Local Preacher, performing the opening ceremony.
The present Minister, the Reverend Jane Braund, who has been with us since September 2016 has responsibility for Balsall Common and Meriden Methodist Churches and of Fillongley which is a joint Methodist/Anglican partnership.
Over recent years Balsall Common has grown considerably. In 1891 the population was 1,064. Today the church ministers to around 7,000 people without all the new build residents. The church is situated near to the central hub of the village, but sited just over the Berkswell Parish boundary ensuring that both villages can be ministered to by Methodists.
The outlook of the church today tends towards the ecumenical which is borne out by its links with the parish churches of St Peter’s, Balsall Common, St John’s, Berkswell, St Mary’s, Temple Balsall, the Roman Catholic church of The Blessed Robert Grissold, and St Swithin’s, Barston. These churches work together under the direction of Churches Together in Balsall and Berkswell to organise such enterprises as Lent Study Breakfasts, Quiet Mornings in the beautiful surroundings of Temple Balsall and events during One World Week.
The Church has about 90 members but the community roll indicates that we have contact with up to a thousand people through those who come through our doors for services and activities. The attendance at our main morning worship is 40 – 60 but can double that on special occasions.
Whilst being proud of our history and heritage the church is forward looking and seeks to build on its close links with the village to minister prayerfully and effectively to its people.