The Methodist Church is part of the universal Church of Christ. Begun in the eighteenth Century by John Wesley, an Anglican clergyman who travelled the British Isles preaching teaching and organizing, the Methodist Church now has links with 70 million people worldwide.
Although the Methodist Church has its own distinctive emphasis, believing that religion should come truly from the heart, and make a difference to the way we live our lives, we share and co-operate with Christians of all churches.
What we do
Our Calling, in the Methodist Church in Britain, is to :
- increase awareness of God's presence and to celebrate God's love;
- help people to grow and learn as Christians through mutual support and care;
- be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice; and
- make more followers of Jesus Christ.
From time to time during the year we run discussion groups and /or bible studies and a Christian Basics Course for those wanting to explore basic Christian belief and those thinking about Confirmation.
We are concerned about caring for one another and the wider community. We support NCH (the Methodist Church sponsored children's charity) with a special service in July.
Every two years our Church has a paricular project supporting an overseas charity. In the last few years, we have raised money for a science classroom at a Christian Girls' school in Parkistan, supporting street children in Kenya and a young peoples literacy project in Myamar (Burma). This year, the church project is The West London Homeless Concern (WLCHC).
We support Christian Aid and Traidcraft which sells Third World goods and produce.
The History of the Church
Methodism came to Wandsworth in the 1740s and John Wesley, Father of Methodism, preached there on 14th November. However, it was only in the early 1840s that there can be any certainty that the Methodists arrived in Putney, renting poor little buildings for small congregations.
By 1869, the Superintendent Minister reported that a suitable piece of ground had been secured in the Upper Richmond Road, sufficient for the erection of a commodious church to seat a thousand persons.
Putney still had barely 10,000 inhabitants and by 1881, they were laying the foundation stones of the thousand-seater chapel completed May 4, 1882. For more details click here.
What are the differences between the Methodist Church and other churches?
The Methodist Church has very good relationships with all the other churches and the differences are much less important than the things that we agree about. Many of the differences were the result of historical circumstances and are not as relevant today.
However, unlike the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church we don't have bishops, Archbishops and a Pope. We think that we are probably less hierarchical and more democratic than some churches. The services tend to be rather less formal and more varied. Members of the congregation play a large part in organising the life of the church. Methodists tend to have a practical and 'down-to-earth' attitude to the Christian life.
Aren't Methodists rather narrow-minded and is it true they don't drink alcohol?
You might be surprised to learn that many Methodists do drink alcohol, although it is still a rule that it is not allowed on church premises. The temperance movement began in the 19th Century when poverty and cheap drink blighted the lives of millions of the new urban poor and Methodists felt that they should try and set an example. Today this has resulted in Methodists getting involved in social concern, community action, politics etc to improve society.
Methodists tend to take a progressive attitude on social issues: combatting racism, the equality of women (women were ordained as ministers over 25 years ago), marriage and the family (the Methodist Church allows the re-marriage of divorced people), sexuality, crime and punishment.
What happens at a service at Putney Methodist Church and will I feel strange or left out?
Every one is welcome at a Methodist service. Services tend to last about one hour and include hymns, prayers, bible readings and a sermon. The sermon is important and the preacher tries to relate the Christian message to every day life and the scriptures.
We are not a "charismatic" Church nor are we very ritualistic. We try to be welcoming, open and inclusive. We try to offer sensitive and accessible worship and stimulating, challenging and thought-provoking preaching.
The Lord's Supper (Holy Communion or Eucharist) is celebrated on the first Sunday morning of every month and everyone is invited to take communion or receive a blessing if they wish.
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