AN emotional congregation will soon be attending the last ever service at a 142-year-old church.

Birtenshaw Methodist Church in Bromley Cross began life in 1875 but the event on Sunday, July 16 will mark the end of its tenure.

It was announced last year that the building and adjacent Bromley Cross Village Hall in Darwen Road would close.

Keith Whitter, a trustee of the church, said: "It has been a very difficult time and a very upsetting time but it is a decision we made and we have to see it through.

"At the final service we will have a selection of hymns chosen by the congregation and there will be three talks."

"A former reverend Gerald Broadbent will give an address and, without giving away any spoilers, the theme will be The Road Ahead."

The reasons given for the closure include an inability to find people to carry out the jobs and functions required to keep the building running.

Average attendance is around 20 people according to trustees.

At the time of the announcement of the closure, assistant minister the Rev Philip Belli said the building needed 'substantial work' that required both people and funding.

Mr Whitter said: "I have been involved with the church for 45 years. I am 70 and considered a youngster — this has been the problem.

"We have people who have been going to this church for 75 years. They were christened there and have spend their whole lives.

"We feel so upset about it and I'm sure it's the same with the rest of the team."

The foundation stone to the building was laid in 1874 and the chapel was originally built in brick before a new stone front was put on in 1923.

Members are appealing to organisations to take some of the items left in the building.

These include furniture, goods and fittings. Payment won't be required but donations to charity would be appreciated by the church.

For a copy of the inventory, email