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Shirley Methodist Church One Hundred Years of Witness

In 1966 a Centennial History was published. It is reprinted here in full

Rev. F. G. Glen, C.F.

Three Churches within 100 years, built by one people, and of one Communion. These three separate buildings over the last century show us something of the fortitude of the pioneers, and the changing life in Shirley. The first marked the age of,"establish thou my people", and the second by the removal and shifting, thoughtfulness for a worthy witness, finally the present, and example of courage and enterprise. Certainly few Methodist Churches in New Zealand are so well situated within a main suburban shopping centre and schools. Yet 50 years ago Shirley was still a rural district.

Over the forthcoming century will we of this generation show such enterprise and faith? We don't need buildings, but we need to discover, "communication", one with the other concerning

the great things of Jesus Christ. For us at Shirley now, ambitious experiment, courageous faith, and willingness to attempt new things for Christ ought to be the mark of our generation. When a Church settles, the spiritual rot sets in.

This history is not an exhaustive account of 100 years, records were not easy to come by, but it does record the spirit of the Church for posterity. Today, we will be better remembered

for what we do with a challenging future than for what we have done in the past. Augustine said, "Let thy works praise thee, that we may love thee, and let us love thee, that thy works may praise thee." So let us endeavour in the future.

Minister.Easter, 1966.


This year the Shirley Methodist Church is celebrating 100 years of witness and service. In that century the district has changed from a few scattered houses to a thriving suburban area; although the nature of the community the Church serves may have changed; its basic message, which its purpose is to spread, has not. We must look to the future to consolidate and extend the work that has gone before. Difficulties have been experienced in compiling the history as the Church was originally a Preaching Place and few records were kept.


Christchurch was envisaged by the promoters of the Canterbury Association as a Church of England settlement and all intending emigrants required a certificate of membership of the Established Church. However at this time there was still not complete separation between the Church of England and the Methodist Churches and many "Methodists" were baptised in the parish church and received Holy Communion there. Hence it was possible for the Methodists to come out on the first four ships, and some did so; included in those who did this were the Pattricks, Bradleys, Quaifes and Philpotts who are commemorated in South Hagley Park. On arrival these Wesleyans soon discovered their religious affinities and by 1851 they had started a Sunday School in Hagley Park which was later reorganised at St. Albans. Prayer meetings were also held in the homes of the above mentioned pioneers. In 1860 there were two Chapels and five preaching places within the Christchurch area.

The Canterbury circuit was growing quickly and the first separation was that of the Hokitika circuit; then north of the Waimakariri River became the Kaiapoi circuit. At this time the membership of the Christchurch area was 453 and by 1870 the Christchurch circuit had grown to 613 members, and was further subdivided into the Springston, Lyttelton and St. Albans circuits.


Shirley started its life as a preaching place within the St. Alban's circuit. Between October 1866 and January 1867 a meeting was held in the home owned by Mr Brice, which was in the area known as Lake Terrace Road on what was then the road to Brighton. The service of worship thus held is the first recorded Methodist activity in the Shirley District. The meeting included members of the St. Albans circuit who found the distance to St. Albans excessive. There are few early records as Shirley was just one preaching place in the St. Alban's circuit: the others being Papanui, Crescent Road, Frieston, Riccarton and St. Albans itself.

The Centennial is being taken from the date of the holding of this first meeting, not the erection of the first Church, as the Church is not a building, but the fellowship of believers meeting together for prayer and praise.

Shown in the model deed is the registration of the following Trustees for a portion of land given by Mr Buxton on the corner of Quinn's Road and what was then known as St. Albans Road. This area was known by the Registrar of Lands as Brighton. The Trustees were Messrs Buxton, Craddock, Mundy, Watts, Sears, Thomas, Lowe, Edward Salter, John Leaf Wilson, John Cumberworth and Buxton Jnr. Meetings were held in the homes of Messrs Craddock, Buxton and Brice, wherever it was most convenient in this scattered area. Mr Edward Salter was a Lay Preacher and Sunday School Superintendent who had arrived from England in 1858. John Cumberworth was the first Headmaster of Sydenham School. At this time most of the services were shared by two Lay Preachers, Messrs W. Craddock and Dawson.

A dying request of Mrs John Buxton had been that her son should give a site for a Church. He fulfilled her request by giving the above mentioned site. Mr Hamilton, a member of the Church, drew plans for the erection of a Church, costing ?80, and Mr Alien was the contractor. As soon as the erection of the Church was underway the question of giving it a name began to exercise the minds of the local Methodists. Mrs John Buxton had been a Miss Shirley, and it was considered fitting that her dying request should be honoured by calling the Church after her maiden name. The Church then ceased to be known as Brighton, the change being noted in the cash book of the Circuit, December, 1868. Later the district took its name from the Church at its centre.

The opening function of the Church was a monster tea meeting held on Good Friday, 10th April, 1868. At the Rally afterwards the Rev. T. Buddie presided; and the Rev. R. Bavin preached on Easter Sunday. The Rev. J. Aldred, a Supernumery residing in St. Albans, exercised pastoral oversight on the new cause. It is recorded that in 1869 a Sunday School was commenced with 10 members. Mr W. Craddock was the first Superintendent with Mrs Rogers as teacher. The latter, in 1871 left the district and Mr Craddock was succeeded by Mr D. Hetherington of Kaiapoi, and was followed by Mr Turner.

The sixties were notable for extensive developments in Canterbury Methodism and in that decade ten preaching places were added to the plan. There is probably no place in New Zealand where Methodist Churches are so thickly planted and many date back to this period of aggressive activity in the sixties. Much of the pioneering work was done by self-sacrificing local preachers who enabled so many services to be held amongst the thinly populated area of what was then Christchurch.

In 1871 due to growth and internal tensions the St. Alban's circuit comprising St. Albans, Papanui, Harewood, Knight's Town and Shirley separated from the Christchurch circuit. This illustrates the growth of Canterbury Methodism in that less than two years after becoming an independent circuit, the Christchurch circuit was large enough to need further sub-division.


In this period of growth the district of Shirley was similarly growing and by the beginning of the eighteen-eighties the population in the neighbourhood of the Church had increased to such an extent that the need was seen for a larger Church, and in 1884 it was felt that the Church would better serve its purpose if it were a little further east, and so it was decided to move to the north east corner of Golf Links and New Brighton Roads. The old site was sold for ?50 and the new one purchased for ?100 from Mr McGill. Renovations and additions to provide for the increasing congregations, including a new vestry and ten feet extra to the Church giving fifty extra places cost ?210. More than half this amount was raised prior to the re-opening, chiefly from a sale of work of which Mrs J. Pedler, later of Addington, was the Secretary.

At a meeting of the Trustees held 25th April, 1884, a resolution was adopted, "agreeing to an alteration of name, and that for the future the Church be called 'Windsor'."

The spirit of an early anniversary is seen in the report from the Wesleyan 1883— "By prescriptive right, Good Friday is claimed by the Shirley Methodists for their annual soiree. This year the weather was all that could be desired, and the celebrations were a decided success. The little Church had been decorated for the occasion, and the tables were amply spread with edibles of almost every kind. The trays were furnished and presided over by Mesdames Parish, Briggs and Craddock and Miss Buxton, assisted by Mrs Brice and the young ladies and the bachelors, the last two trays being presided over by Miss Reeve and Miss Gill respectively. At half past five the building was crowded, and relays of visitors continued to arrive until some 200 had been supplied. At the after meeting the Circuit Minister presided, and appropriate and able addresses were given by Messrs Broughton, Salter, Moor and the Rev. J. S. Rushworth. The choir sang suitable hymns from the Sunday School Hymn Book in an effective manner. It was reported that the congregation was growing, and Sunday School and Band of Hope in a flourishing condition. A vote of thanks to the ladies etc. was moved by Mr Peoler, seconded by Mr Jas. Moor, and carried enthusiastically. This brought to a close a very pleasant meeting. The Anniversary sermons were preached on Easter Sunday by Revs. Morley and Tinsley to good congregations. The proceeds of the anniversary were upwards of ?16."

These soirees in which the whole congregation joined together at a high tea seem to have been a feature of Church life of the last century and to have been much enjoyed by all.

In the following years the Church thrived in the growing settlement on the outskirts of Christchurch and by this time two services each Sunday were being held in the little old wooden Church.

Most of these services were conducted by a loyal and devoted line of Lay Preachers under the oversight of the minister resident in St. Albans. Amongst the many who have rendered Stirling service to God in this period mention must be made of Messrs Salter, Armitage, Craddock, Ray, Brownlee, Etherington, Harrison, Moor, Williams and John Smith. This list by no means exhausts the names of those who served Shirley with distinction at this time.

From the beginnings four different branches of Methodism had been established in New Zealand, three of them having strong followings in Canterbury. This often led to petty rivalry, wastage of staff and consequent weakening of the cause. Thoughtful leaders in each of the Communions turned towards Union of Methodists in New Zealand. Wesleyan being the largest group was looked upon to provide a lead. In 1896 the New Zealand Legislative ratified the approved basis of Union, but it was not complete until the Primitive Methodists joined later. Following this came a period in which re-adjustment of circuit boundaries was a burning question. Commissions were set up in 1906, 1908, 1910 and 1912 when finally something like a permanent settlement was arrived at. Four independent circuits were established in Christchurch, namely:— Christchurch Central Mission, Durham Street, Woolston Circuit and Christchurch East Circuit. This last Circuit was composed of East Belt, Linwood, Richmond, Windsor, Marshlands and New Brighton, to be staffed by one Minister, two Probationers and one Home Missionary.


In the first issue of the Circuit Quarterly, January 1915, it is reported that—"Our friends in this part of the Circuit are preparing for the forward movement which the present needs of the Church demands ... ... It is expected that the example of New Brighton and Linwood will be emulated, and that a new Church worthy of the district will be erected in the near future."

The Trustees of the Church obtained a valuable section on the south east corner of New Brighton Road and North Parade. In 1916 another Trust Meeting resolved "that as the Church stood in the centre of the Shirley district, and was a full half mile from the nearest point of the locality called Windsor, it should return to its former honourable name, Shirley. 'Windsor is a charming name, but our Church is at Shirley."

In October, 1916, Mr P. Sharpe established a Sunday afternoon Bible Class; this being a great advance in Church work.

A new Church was proposed for the new site, as the old Church had become too small and needed extensive renovations. The new Church was estimated to cost ?1,500.

On 3rd April, 1917, Rev. Strand the pastor of the Church presided, supported by other Circuit Ministers over a large Anniversary Tea. Over 100 adults were present, as well as a well trained choir of young people.

"In presenting the forty-ninth annual report of general Church activities Mr F. Christian portrayed a growing, harmonious, self sacrificing and enterprising community—a little model Church in deed. The most arrestive example of their devotion and daring is supplied by the new building movement. To meet the swiftly growing needs of an attractive residential neighbourhood, this little community has decided to erect a commodious handsome Church and School. The plan selected is designed by Mr Salkeld, choir master of the Church. It provides seating accommodation in the Church for 200 persons with ample provision for a choir. The School room which adjoins the Church will seat 150 scholars and three vestries and a kitchen are provided." At this time a Young Worshippers' League and Boy Scouts were established in the Church.

Arrangements were made to lay the foundation stone of the Church during Synod of November, 1918, and to have the building sufficiently advanced to allow the opening services to be held during Conference which would be held in Christchurch during February, 1919. A substantial sum was already in hand towards the building.

"Needless to say, many and varied schemes have already been made to augment the funds. Great praise is due to the 'Khaki' girls who are giving entertainments wherever an opportunity presents itself. The ladies are busy arranging for a Sale of Work, advertised to take place at Shirley on Tuesday and Wednesday, 22nd and 23rd October. It is earnestly hoped that from all parts of the circuit sympathisers will come along and encourage by their practical help the faithful few, whom by taking their courage in both hands, have so daringly entered upon an undertaking which promises to supply a long felt need."

The laying of the foundation stone of the new Church took place on Saturday 14th December. Notwithstanding the enforced postponement, owing to influenza, and in spite of unfavourable weather the attendance was good, most of the places in the Circuit being represented. The Rev. A. C. Lawry, Chairman of the District presided, and gave a very able address. Suitable hymns were sung and prayers offered by the Rev. W. C. Oliver who had preached in the neighbourhood fifty-one years previously, also by the Rev. C. A. Tobin, Vicar of Burwood and the Rev. E. P. Blamires, Superintendent of the Circuit. Scripture was read by the Rev. W. Walker.

The ceremony of laying the main stone was performed by Mr C. E. Salter who was presented by Mr J. Salkeld on behalf of the builder, Mr C. Calvert, with a beautiful silver trowel, suitably inscribed. Mr Salter also gave an historical sketch of Methodism in Shirley. Auxiliary stones were laid by Mrs Palk and Mr Rowe, both Shirley residents. Each was presented with a silver mounted mallet by the Revs. E. P. Blamires and L. Hudson respectively. Mr J. Salkeld, the architect, referred to the satisfactory nature of the work being done. The offertory amounted to ?62. Following upon the service a garden party was held at the residence of Mr and Mrs Withell.

Provision was made for a tower which would be erected when funds were forthcoming.

The opening of the new Church was held on 2nd Conference Sunday, 9th March, 1919. The preachers for the day were as follows: Morning—the Rev. H. E. Bellhouse, President of Conference; Afternoon—Rev. W. A. Sinclair; Evening—Rev. C. H. Laws, B.A. Large congregations filled the building on each occasion.

On the Monday a monster tea meeting was held in the old building. Although the tables were several times filled, the provisions were never exhausted. At the after meeting, held in the Church, the building was crowded. The Chairman of the District, Rev. A. C. Lawry, presided in his usual happy style. Short addresses, appropriate to the occasion, were given by die Revs. W. C. Oliver, W. Baumber, L. Hudson, E. P. Blamires, W. Walker and C. Strand.

What threatened to create an awkward situation occurred when the lights failed, however the Rev. W. Baumber who was speaking, continued unmoved and soon the defect was remedied.

The Church soon became the centre of much activity and the Wesley Guild was started as was the Ladies' Guild.

A feature of Church social life at this time was the surprise parties. "Our young people, and some of the older ones too for that matter, have started a series of surprise parties to while away the winter evenings, which have been a great success. It is no uncommon thing to answer a knock on the door and to be greeted with a loud burst of singing from a couple of dozen voices, and you then know that the surprise party has arrived, and that there is a good evening's enjoyment ahead for you."

In 1921 the young people of the Church met together and decided to form a "Ramblers' Club", the object being to meet together on Saturday afternoons, holidays and so on, for walking tours. "They also purchased an airgun, and one night in the week they met for shooting practice and already some of the ladies are proving themselves markswomen of no mean order."

The youth work has always been an important sector of Shirley Church and many mentions are made of 'The Young Men's Bible Class' entertaining 'The Young Ladies' Bible Class' and the teachers of the Sunday School,' and similarly: "On Boxing Day we held our Sunday School picnic in a paddock well suited for the occasion, kindly lent by Mrs Alien in Cresswell Avenue, with a brilliant finish in the evening by a huge bonfire, which was specially built for the occasion by Mr Alien."


In March 1923 the Trustees decided that a scheme be set on foot to raise the necessary funds for the building of a new Sunday School at the rear of the Church, and that the project be commenced as soon as possible. In 1924 Mr Rowe, one of the oldest members of the Church, died in Auckland leaving a legacy for the erection of a Church tower as provided for in the original plans. A Supreme Court decision permitted the erection of a lower and the Sunday School. Mr J. Salkeld, again as architect, rendered invaluable service. One foundation stone was laid during his 1928 Conference by Rev. Dr. Ranston, ex-President of Conference, and the building was opened on 3rd June, 1928. A second stone was laid by Mr R. K. Todhunter on behalf of his father, Mr R. W. Todhunter who had died a few weeks prior to the laying of the foundation stones. It has been called the "Rowe Memorial Hall." The cost of furnishing the new Hall was ?150, quite a considerable sum then, and this was largely raised by a series of concerts presented by the various local groups.


This has always been a feature of Shirley and the Choir twice won the hymn test at the Christchurch competitions during the time of Mr W. D. Marks as organist and choirmaster. Over the years it has made frequent visits to other places to assist in their special functions, and at present attends the Burwood Hospital monthly, and sings at the morning Chapel service.


Through two world wars and a depression the Church has grown along with the district it serves. It has suffered setbacks but has always kept its forward purpose in view.

A communion rail commemorating the bi-centenary of John Wesley was installed and the pulpit was moved from the centre of the Church to its present position in the west corner.

In 1938 the Shirley Saxon Club presented the Church with the pipe organ. This club consisted of a group of young men from the Church who worked for 13 years to raise the necessary finance, and in the process gained some notoriety because they indulged in dancing, which at that time was not countenanced by the Methodist Church.

In August 1946 the Parsonage, at 77 Shirley Road, was purchased for ?1,300. Also in that year Richmond-Shirley gained its first ordained Minister in Rev. J. B. Dawson.

In 1952 more land at the rear of the Church was purchased for extensions to the already overcrowded Sunday School, and in the succeeding years first temporary accommodation, then large scale alterations were made to the Rowe Memorial Hall, until it reached its present state. In 1965 the old Parsonage was sold and a new modem home was purchased at 32 Hammersley Avenue as the Parsonage.

Indicative of the growth of the Church is the fact that there are now three services each Sunday instead of two.

Shirley young people have always taken an active part in leadership and participation at all Bible Class Easter Camps. Boys' Brigade, Life Boys, Girls' Brigade and Cadets, Men's Club, Methodist Women's Fellowship (two groups) and Methodist Men all thrive at the Church.

The present number of members is 295 and upwards of 500 families are under pastoral care.

We owe a tremendous debt under God to the Ministers, Local Preachers, Teachers, Trustees and other Officers of the Church of the past 100 years who have guided the development and progress in the spreading of the good news in this area.

Although many members of the Church deserve special mention space permits the mention of only a few:

MR R. W. TODHUNTER. One of the most respected members of the Church. A member of over forty years' standing, and a Church Trustee. He was thirty-five years Treasurer of the Sunday School. His quiet influence for good was most marked. Died 1928.

MR P. W. SHARPE. Sunday School Superintendent, Bible Class Leader, Society Steward, Trustee and Supply preacher. On six occasions he represented the Circuit at Conference. Member of several Connexional Committees and a favourite to him was 'The Young Peoples' Board.' As a citizen he was a Councillor, Chairman of several Committees and the Hospital Board. He attempted to bridge the gap between the working class and the Church and to give a spiritual basis for Labour Unions. His greatest service was undoubtedly as a Bible Class enthusiast. Died 1930.

MR W. D. MARKS. Organist and Choirmaster for many years and also Treasurer of Trust. A keen rose grower and amateur electrician. In this latter capacity he gave hundreds of hours preparing special lighting effects for the numerous concerts which were a feature of Shirley in years gone by, and these lighting effects are still in working order. Died 1963.

MR G. H. ROGERSON. Known affectionally to everyone as "Harry". He was a tireless worker for Shirley giving many years as Sunday School secretary, teacher, choir member, Trustee and Minister's Steward. He continued long after most men with

similar physical handicap would have given up. It was through his efforts that the Font was presented to the Church. His memory is perpetuated by the beautiful memorial glass door to the Minister's vestry. Died 1958.

MR W. J. SALKELD. "Jack" to all his friends, was associated with Shirley from his early years. Like his father, his love of music was intense and he gave freely of his talents as organist, choirmaster, and Trustee. Died 1963.

MR A. W. EMMETT. For many years a Trustee and choir member. The present stone fence around the Church was a gift from him. Died 1948.

MR H. COX. Also a long-standing member of Trust and choir. Died 1954.

MR R. PALK. A Trustee of many years' standing prior to the time the present Church was built. Died 1914.

Others who gave sterling service to Shirley and have now entered their eternal rest include Messrs J. Southon, A. Collins, H. Fan-, J. Bradley, T. Turner, G. Malony. Faithful women members who too have now been called to rest include Mrs S. H. Provost, Miss B. Holland and Mrs 0. Cummack, all of whom laboured valiantly for the cause in their particular field, and are lovingly remembered.

Of those who remain we recall the long association of Mr J. H. Pugh as a most acceptable local preacher and Trustee, and Mr J. H. Yarr, a product of English Methodism, for many years Choir member. Trustee and Conference representative. Mrs K. Holland who over a long period of years faithfully and reverently carried out the duties of Sacramental Steward. Dr. Neige Todhunter (daughter of Mr R. W. Todhunter). She was the instigator of the "Young Ladies' Bible Class" who eventually went to America where she has risen to prominence as Dean of the University of Alabama. A year or two ago she was named America's "Woman of the Year." Miss R. Emmett, Sunday School Superintendent for many years, for which she was awarded a Diploma by the S.S. Union.


Over comparatively recent years the following retired ministers gave cheerfully of their talents in the interests of Shirley: Revs. C. Strand, G. B. Hinton and J. Richards.


Shirley owes a tremendous debt to a loyal band of local preachers who regularly staffed the pulpit during the many years that one Minister served two churches. This was before the motor car became widely used and these brethren faithfully kept their appointments mainly per bicycle, through rain and shine. Names that come to mind are the Armitage brothers, C. W. Barrell, W. C. Francis, A. Gandell (now General Manager of Railways), J. H. Pugh, A. Sharp, W. L. Thomas, A. G. Williams and many others.


As the Honour's Board lists, Shirley can be proud of the number of her young people who have answered the call to mil time service, of varying durations over the years.


As the 1914-18 Roll of Honour indicates the patriotic spirit was very much alive in the Shirley youth, and this fine characteristic was again evident in the 1939-45 war.


Over the years the generosity of various members of the congregation has been expressed in a number of beautiful gifts. Some of the donors are anonymous but we pay tribute to all those known and unknown whose thoughtfulness and love have been expressed in these visible tokens all of which contribute to the worshipful atmosphere of our lovely church. In addition to those already mentioned in this record, we acknowledge the gift of the brass cross and vases from the late Mr W. J. Salkeld and the carpet and toning bookboard from Mr and Mrs R. Gill.


President Women's Fellowship (afternoon): Mrs A. E. Richards. (evening): Mrs R. Hawker.President Men's Club. Mr J. Salt.President Methodist Men: Mr I. Bathurst.Girls' Brigade Captain: Miss M. Holland.Cadet Leader: Miss R. Salt.Boys' Brigade Captain: Mr D. Fortune.Life Boys' Leader: Mr P. Bullen.Bible Class Leader (in charge): Mr M. Tunnicliffe.Senior Bible Class Leader: Mr P. CarterC.Y.M.M. President: Miss R. Salt.Sunday School Superintendent: Mr T. Judkins.Prayer and Care Group: Mrs N. Hoddinott.Organist and Choirmistress: Mrs 0. Coomber.Assistant Organist: Mr M. Willis.Junior Choir Mistress: Miss L. Doyle.Church Steward: Mr S. Collins.Minister's Stewards: Messrs J. H. Yarr, H. Kerr, A. Rickerby.Society Stewards: Messrs B. Hammond, A. Haywood, F. Johnstone, D. Marshall, A. Marsh, L. MCIntrye, G. Mitchell, E. Palmer,, R. Small, R. Thompson, D. Tointon, J. Williams.


Messrs J. H. Yarr, L. Kington, H. Thomas, H. Kerr, T. Baldwin, T. Hay, H. Moore, L. Marshall, G. Cattermole, J. Salt, H. Dobby, F. Dobby, D. Fortune, R. Gill, T. Judkins, H. Hemmings, A. Rickerby, E. Burn, S. Collins and M. Tunnicliffe.


As a special effort for this our Centennial Year the Church welcomes Mr Matthew Hapa who has come to us from the Solomon Islands. He will be studying Primary School teaching in New Zealand, especially in the schools of Mr M. Edmonds, Mr T. Judkins and Mr B. McMaster. We wish him well in all that he does.


1866—Christchurch Circuit
1868—Rev. J. Aldred, Supermimery.
1871—St. Albans Circuit.
1881—Rev. John B. Richardson.
1882—Rev. W. Morley, D.D.
1883—Rev. Keall.
1913—Christchurch East Circuit.
1915—Rev. C. Strand (Windsor and Linwood).
1918—Rev. L. Hudson (Shirley and Marshland).
1919—Rev. Spencer (Shirley and Linwood).
1921—Rev. J. Guy (Shirley and Marshland).
1924—Rev. Read (Shirley and New Brighton).
1926—Rev. Raine (Shirley and New Brightin).
1928—Rev. 0. S. Pearn (Shirley and New Brighton).
1931—Rev. S. Bailey (Shirley and New Brighton).
1935—Rev. F. G. Brown (Shirley and New Brighton).
1939—Rev. J. K. Watson (Shirley and Richmond).
1940—Rev. J. H. Woolford (Shirley and Richmond).
1941—Rev. C. Bell (Richmond and Shirley).
1944—Rev. Fowles (Richmond and Shirley).
1944—Rev. W. Chambers (Richmond and Shirley).
1946—Rev. J. B. Dawson (Richmond and Shirley).
1949—Rev. R. E. Patchett (Richmond and Shirley).
1955—Rev. L. V. Willing (Shirley).
1963—Rev. F. G. Glen (Shirley).


Those who went before us have laid the foundations and made a centre of worship and praise for Shirley Methodists. It behoves to us to build on this valuable tradition and to open new doors and pursue new avenues of service. It is fitting at this time that we should remember the dying words of John Wesley—"The best of all is—God is with us."


Significant dates in Our History

1866-7 The Brighton Methodist Church was established and meetings were held in homes,
1868 A new church but Id ing was opened on the corner of Quinns Rd and St ALbans Rd (Shirley Rd).
1884 The Church building was moved to a new site on the corner of Golf Links Rd and New Brighton Rd. The building was extended and renovated.
1916 A Sunday School and Bible Class were opened.
1919 A new Church on the present site was opened.
1928 The Rowe Memorial Hall for youth work and social occasions was opened and a tower was added to the Church.
1946 A parsonage at 77 Shirley Rd was purchased. The site is now Kentucky Fried Chicken.
1952 Land behind No 6 New Brighton Rd was purchased and later two army huts were erected as class rooms.
1960 The Lounge and Classrooms behind No 6 were built and the East end of the hall was altered
1965 The parsonage at 32 Hammersley Ave was purchased.
1969 No 6 New Brighton Rd was purchased and rented out.
1979 "Open House" in No 6 New Brighton Rd was established.
1980 The West end of the hall was rebuiltt and a new entrance was established.
1980 -- We talked about a "Link" between the hall and the church.
1989 THe "Link" was opened. This invoIved extensive alterations to the Church and organ renovation costing over $200,000 -
1989 The parsonage at No 2 Voss St was purchased