A CHURCH community in Leeswood is marking the founding of a chapel with a week long programme of activities.

Bethania Chapel dates back to 1868, when it was funded and built by Welsh speaking miners from Treuddyn.

Initially, the miners bought a piece of land in New Row, which is now County Road, for £44-10-0d.

Their plan was to build a chapel and manse, “to further the Baptist cause.”

Two of the trustees were from Leeswood; John Hellin, who lived in the Smithy on Stryt Cae Rheddyn, and Charles Jones, who died before the chapel was completed.

Since those early days, the Bethania Church Community, part of the Baptist Union, has continued to go from strength to strength.

To celebrate the chapel’s 150th, a series of events will run from Friday, September 14 through to Sunday, September 23, starting with a ‘Pubs and Chapels’ heritage walk with local historian David Rowe and the Reverend Martin M’Caw.

Throughout the week there will be speakers, a film night, young children’s activities, a sensory event for people with special needs, a live band at the community centre and more.

The programme will culminate with a celebration service on Sunday, September 23 at 10.15am.

Earlier in the year the church community also organised a barn dance and music evening to mark the anniversary and distributed a copy of Mark’s Gospel to every household in the village.

John Mainwaring, a deacon of the church, said: “Building on our involvement in Leeswood, we wanted to plan a week of celebrations that reflected the effort and faith of the original Welsh miners who founded the chapel.

"Their aim was to bring the good news they had embraced about Jesus to Leeswood, which was then a predominantly Welsh speaking village.

“Apart from all of the fun things we have planned involving lots of good food and plenty of puppets and balloons for the children, a highlight of the week will be readings from the Gospels. "These will be held during the week day mornings, with a gospel service on Sunday 16 at 10.15am.

"We will also have a special, informal Welsh language service on Sunday, September 16 at 4pm which will be the first to be held in the chapel’s founders’ mother tongue since the 1960s.

“We’d like to invite people to get involved by checking out the programme online and choosing to join in with at least one event.

"We’re looking forward to an exciting week and to welcoming everyone to come along and celebrate this momentous anniversary with us.”

For more information about the programme please visit www.bethanialeeswood.org or call 07901 810013.