On 16th September what is believed to have been an electrical fault caused an explosion in an oil tank belonging to a property adjacent to Lower Withington Chapel. Flames spread to adjacent buildings and destroyed a car. The roof of the chapel was set alight.
In addition, the explosion itself caused extensive damage to the chapel. The ground was littered with children’s books used by the toddlers group who meet at the chapel.
The incident was attended by fire engines from Congleton, Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Lymm and Crewe as well as an aerial ladder platform from Lymm. A photo in the Congleton Chronicle showed a massive plume of smoke spreading hundreds of feet above the chapel.
Following the explosion, services were held in the village hall until the Harvest Festival service on 9th October.
Revd Nic writes: Following the fire, we were delighted to be able to return to our building to celebrate Harvest together. We have a long road ahead as we seek to repair the damage, but it is also a journey of great opportunity as we seek God’s will for our chapel.
A huge thank you must go to those who have supported the chapel and each other during our challenging ordeal and we ask for your ongoing prayers. The photograph above was taken the day before we returned for worship. God always keeps his promises. (In the photo the Chapel appears to be at the end of a rainbow.)
Barbara Kennerley writes: This last month has been a really difficult time. Certainly Friday 16th September we will not forget. We had to focus on something and I thought, let’s look on the positive side, at least no one was hurt and, as the fireman said, in a fire like this we would have expected fatalities. Looking at it from that point of view we were all very lucky.
We were also lucky to be back in Chapel for the harvest and the place was full. I think everyone from the village had turned out to support us, which was really nice. There is still a lot to do but I am sure we will get there eventually.
[From an article in Contact Magazine]