Mellor Methodist: The Art Deco Grave

I spotted this beauty in the grounds of Mellor Methodist Church, between Blackburn and Samlesbury. It’s an Art Deco gravestone from the late 1930s. Perhaps there’s a hint of Streamline Moderne, the form the movement took before the second world war. To be buried in so stylish a tomb is really rather special; I can only imagine how these people dressed when they were alive.

Another fashion of the twenties and thirties was the gospel of social action and modernist theology. Ministers doubted the supernatural elements of the life of Christ and disregarded His resurrection. Spurgeon had seen this rot starting in his own day- he called it the ‘downgrade controversy’. Like a cancer, it spread through the body, killing and laming where it went. No bright-eyed young minister of the twenties or thirties would have wanted to preach the old-fashioned gospel so redolent of the previous century. Those once sophisticated pulpits are now empty and their churches demolished or converted.

Let’s hope the fashionable occupants of the Art Deco tomb heard the unfashionable gospel of free grace. If they didn’t, it will have cost them far more than their trendy memorial.