This fellowship was founded in 1750 by Benjamin Ingham (1712-1772) an itinerant preacher from Osset near Leeds.At Oxford University Ingham became part of a group of earnest young men who became known derisively as ‘The Holy Club’ or ‘Methodists’ (because of their methodical approach to religion and the study of scripture). This group also included John Wesley and his brother Charles, and George Whitfield, all of whom were to be highly instrumental in the eighteenth century revival.
Leaving Oxford, Ingham and the Wesleys were ordained as ministers in the Anglican Church, eventually embarking on a voyage to the new colonies in Georgia America, to preach the gospel to the natives. The mission was a disaster, and Ingham returned to England, followed later by the Wesleys.
Around this time, Ingham renewed contact with the Moravians Christians, and through their ministry came to understand that salvation and reconciliation with God came as a free gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death on our behalf.
This revelation, later to be shared by the Wesleys, transformed Ingham’s ministry and he began to preach from his home town of Ossett across north-east Lancashire and as far north as Kendal.
Great crowds gathered to hear him preach and many responded to the gospel. Eventually around eighty fellowships were established and many more societies.
Wheatley Lane was the first church built by Ingham and his followers and is the only one remaining. The foundation stone was laid on 1st May 1750 and Benjamin preached his first sermon on Christmas Day 1750 in a church of his own.
Wheatley Lane Inghamite Church remains a thriving, fellowship, committed to growing in love and service towards God, one another and the local community.
Information and photographs courtesy of Wheatley Lane Inghamite Church.