New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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A short History of Methodism in Canterbury 1840-1950.

Our Yesteryears 1840-1950
by W. A. Chambers

The Wesleyan Maori Mission in Canterbury
The Canterbury Wesleyan Circuit and its Divisions
The Wesleyan Day Schools           
The United Methodist Free Church in Canterbury           
The Bible Christian Church in Canterbury
The Primitive Methodist Church in Canterbury
The Union Period and Subsequent Development in Canterbury
The Connexional and Institutional Progress of North Canterbury Methodism
The Development of Methodism in South Canterbury
The Forward movement


To survey thoroughly the history of Methodism in Canterbury in such a small volume as this, is an impossibility. Each chapter could be written at much greater length and still only a fraction of the story be told. Yet it is hoped that the following pages will give a brief panoramic view of Methodist history in the Canterbury Synodal Districts since 1839-40, when the first Wesleyan native Christian began to preach "the wonderful works of God" in Port Levy.

In the first three chapters the story of the Wesleyan Church can be quite fully told from documents still in existence. Since the Wesleyan Union of 1896 however, the Bible Christian and United Methodist Free Churches have almost lost their identity in the larger body. With that identity has passed away a mass of Church records, much of which will never be recovered. In these chapters I am greatly indebted to other writers who have had documents and Minute Books at their disposal which it has not been my good fortune to read.

Knowledge of the work since 1896 comes within the bounds of living memory. Thus only trends have been recorded. Detailed work in individual Churches and Circuits must be chronicled by local writers. More particularly should attention be paid to Kaiapoi, Springston, St. Albans and Lyttelton Circuits, whose spiritual connections penetrate back into the early days of Canterbury Methodism.

The present writer owes much particularly to the Rev. H. L. Fiebig B.A., who has given much encouragement, read through the rough proofs and made helpful suggestions. Miss E. R. Thomas and members of the Connexional Office Staff have helped locate old records and many friends have supplied occasional books, records and information. The chapter on South Canterbury has been compiled from notes kindly supplied by the Rev. W. T. Blight, B.A., B.D. To all who have helped in piecing together the following story, I wish to express my thanks.

Woodend, North Canterbury.