Pickup Bank Old Congregational Chapel

I recently called at Pickup Bank Old Congregational Chapel, perched on a rather steep lane in a hamlet near Darwen. It appears to have once been the Sunday School building, the original chapel premises presumably deemed too dilapidated or dear to maintain. I was unable to gain entry, but peered in through the glass, like a hungry child eyeing a baker’s window. Inside was a large pulpit and dark, wooden pews. I could almost smell the gaslights and damp hymnbooks of an old Victorian, nonconformist chapel.  

The noticeboards helpfully detailed regulations about gravestones, contact numbers for burials and marriages, and even the number of a ‘Chapel Chairman’, whom I assumed to be charged with the building’s maintenance. The only thing not listed was the public worship, which I believe no longer occurs except for special occasions. Sad, perhaps, but not necessarily different to many chapels and churches that do claim to offer weekly service. ‘Worship’ which is all about social concerns, poetry recitals, entertaining children and ‘bringing the community together’ is not the true worship of Almighty God. To spend an hour in His presence, dwelling on His beauty, goodness and righteousness, while contemplating His accomplished rescue mission called the gospel- that is real worship. Said Jesus in John 4:22ff:

“…Believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”