Welcome to Salem, a traditional Evangelical Church located in the centre of Barnsley. Throughout its history Salem has emphasised work and witness through evangelism. Salem is the ‘mother church’ of the Barnsley Circuit of the Wesleyan Reform Union of Churches. In the early days all circuit meetings were held at Salem.
The church was built in 1825, with seating for 350 people, a schoolroom and classrooms that were opened later, in 1852. It was built as an impressive town centre Congregational Chapel. The beginnings of the Wesleyan Reform Union go back to 1849, when numbers of people within the Wesleyan Church thought to be responsible for the preparation and publication of ‘fly sheets’ were arbitrarily expelled by the Wesleyan Conference. These ‘fly sheets’ were held to be critical of the Wesleyan Church (which joined with the Primitive and United Methodists to form the Methodist Church in 1932). Many of those ejected in this way, plus their many followers who stood for religious freedom, began to worship regularly from 1851 in the largest building in Barnsley, the Corn Exchange. On the 26th January 1857, the ‘Reformers’ held a ‘Day of humiliation, fasting, thought and prayer’ for guidance. Later they held a meeting in the vestry of Salem Congregational Church, kindly loaned to them for the occasion. They set up a committee to look into the purchase of the Salem premises from the Congregationalists. They negotiated and on the 28th July 1857, the sale was agreed. The purchase price was £600, a considerable sum in 1857! Payment was made in installments over six months, the final payment of £100 being made on the 19th May 1858. Salem Wesleyan Reform Chapel opened on the 19th August 1858 and the adjoining schoolroom on the 15th November 1858.
The sanctuary area of Salem is a Grade 2 listed building that had substantial capital expenditure in 2008 on re-roofing, electrical works and repairs to the pipe organ. The interior of the sanctuary is traditional, with an impressive high central pulpit beneath the organ loft. In Salem church there is a beautiful plaque given to commemorate the work of the Taylor family at Salem and also to acknowledge the work of God’s humble servant Hudson Taylor who took the gospel to the heart of, ‘The Chinese Nation’. Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission in 1865.
If you know anything more about the heritage of this site and would like us to include it here please contact us.
Address: Blucher Street, Barnsley, S70 1AP
Opening Times: To organise a visit please contact the church secretary on 07860 780236.
Contact: 07860 780236
Directions: M1 J37. Take A628 to Barnsley. At Town End roundabout take 4th exit onto Westway (dual carriageway). After passing under the road bridge, take slip road left into Wellington Street. At traffic lights turn left into Pitt Street then next left into Blucher Street.
Grid Reference: SE 343 062 GB Grid
The text has been written by volunteers from the site, more information can be found when you visit in person.
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