church of the Reformed and non-conformist tradition was built
at Stansted in 1698. There had been a
tradition of Puritan Churchmanship in the village, as Robert Abbot (the vicar
of Stansted during the Cromwellian period) was an avowed Presbyterian and the
1687 the people of Stansted decided to form a church of their own. Like the Stansted Methodists later on, it is
likely that the church first met in people's houses, eventually moving into a
converted barn on the present church site in
rolled on and the size of church congregations had reduced. Large Victorian
buildings are not ideally suited for smaller congregations. In 2001, following an intensive fund raising
effort, a major refurbishment took place
- removing the pews; making the church smaller, fully accessible, and more
welcoming; providing a spacious entrance foyer which can also be used for meetings;
and constructing a small car park on land at the rear of the church not
previously used. Two years later the
hall was renovated to provide full disabled access, and a modern kitchen was
fitted. The hall is well used by a
variety of organisations in the village.
There have been many changes since the first few Methodist souls met in
someone’s house in
Church Local Ecumenical Partnership
As long ago as 1983, the two congregations
worshipped together for a trial period of eight months, alternating between the
United Reformed Church and the Meeting House.
However, the time was not right for a formal coming together. Discussions began again in 2001, when both
congregations realised that they could be a more powerful witness in the
village if they were united as one church.
The joining process started in September 2001 with one joint service
every three months. At the beginning of
2004, this became monthly, and the following year was increased to two services
each month. At the same time, the two churches worked together with the
District Ecumenical Officers to produce a constitution that met the
requirements of Local Ecumenical Partnerships.
The two churches have worshipped as one congregation since 1st September