The History of Ryhope IM Church
The first meeting was held at the house of the John Errington in February 1877, when a number of members who had seceded from the Primitive Methodist Church decided to form a new Church. There was present at the first meeting: John Errington, William Featonby, Thomas Richardson, John Stokoe, Matthew Dryden, Robert Cruickshanks, Joseph Alfred Simmonds, Lancelot Dobinson.
The first meeting for public worship was held in the house of Thomas Richardson, the service being conducted by Myers Wayman and William Wills, both of Sunderland. After the first Sunday, the services were conducted in the house of John Errington for the first quarter. Subsequently, the meetings were held at the homes of the various members.
In or about the year 1880, the Public Services were held in the Miners Hall, where a Sunday School was commenced.
In September 1883, the previous building in Ryhope Street was purchased.
The new Church was called The Christian Lay Church and was one of the first six Churches to be formed as a result of the split from the Primitive Methodists. The other five Churches, which, with Ryhope, comprised the Sunderland Circuit and appeared in the first Circuit Plan were: Lechire Hall, Borough Road, Sunderland (which became Bethany Church, Hedworth Terrace, no longer in existence - the building may have suffered war damage), Deptford Shipwrights Hall (now Robert Street), Workmans Hall, Monkwearmouth (now Warwick Street), Old Arcade (subsequently James William Street and incorporated with Cairo Street and now closed) and Seaham Colliery (now New Seaham).
Sunderland Circuit ultimately became united with the Independent Methodist Connexion and the name Independent Methodist Church is now the name by which the eighteen Churches on the Sunderland Circuit Plan is generally known.