Atherton Independent Methodist Church was founded around 1876 in a small cottage in Morley St. It was founded mainly by the Stringer family of whom Joseph, John and Ephraim were the most notable. Records were not kept of these early days but it was known that the cottage was converted at a cost of £50 and became known as the 'Working Men's Mission'. The members themselves called it 'Th'owd Rock'.
Around this time a group of 'Primitive Methodists' (these were later joined with the Wesleyan Methodists to become what is known today as the Methodists) tried to get this original group at Atherton to join with them. However after an exploratory meeting at Lymm with a group calling themselves Independent Methodists the members of 'Th'owd Rock' decided to join this denomination in 1885.
It was at this time that the present site in Mealhouse Lane was acquired and a new Chapel and School was built at a cost of around £600.
However mining subsidence meant that in 1897 a New School needed to be built this time at a cost of £1000 and in 1906 the Chapel itself was rebuilt at a further cost of £600. In fact the Chapel minutes record that ' a beef and tongue tea party marked the occasion'.
In 1921/2 a second hand organ was purchased and this was brought up from Sussex and wooden pews were purchased for the Chapel at a combined cost of £700.
By the second world war the old organ failed and a new Hammond Organ was purchased to replace it. One of the Churches members a Mr Tom Dando had by this time become a very well known cinema organist and he gave an organ recital to mark the opening ceremony.
In 2004 the Independent Methodist Connexion began a Covenant Partnership with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and we look forward to the future with both our friends at the Baptist Church plus all our other Christian brethren in the Atherton Churches Together.