New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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The Winds of Change

       Christchurch 1950-1975
       High Tide 1950-1966
       Church Life in 1950
       The Period of Advance
       The Uncertain Years
Changing Winds
                         The Synod
                         The Local Church
                         The Methodist Women's Missionary Auxiliary
                         The Ladies' Guild
                         The Methodist Women's Fellowship
                         The Men's Fellowship
                         Christian Education
                         Sunday School Union and Leadership Training
                         Lay Preachers
                         The Connexional Budget
                         Works of Super-erogation
                         The Connexional Office
                         Deaconess Training
                         The Connexional Paper
                         Investment Board
                         Ecumenical Affairs
Caring When the Winds of Change Blow Cold
                         The Central Mission
                         South Canterbury - Glenwood
                         South Island Methodist Children's Home
                         Rutherford Hall
The Winds of Change - Towards Union
                        The Twilight of Denominationalism
                        Growing Trust
                       Grass Roots of the Future
                       And If . .

      Profile of the Circuits of North Canterbury District Since 1950
      Profile of the Circuits of South Canterbury District Since 1950
      Methodist Churches with the Dates of Their Erection,
enlargement, etc.
      North Canterbury
      South Canterbury
      Chairmen of District


It is just twenty-five years since 'Our Yesteryears: 1840-1950' (a short history of Methodism in Canterbury) was published. At that time Cantabrians stood on the eve of the provincial centennial. Twenty-five years later five denominations -including Methodism - stand on the brink of a decision which is crucial to their continued independent existence. It seemed appropriate therefore, to bring the story of Methodism in Canterbury up to date in the hope that from the late 1970s the Church of Christ in New Zealand will be a reality and the story of Methodism as a separate denomination complete.

From the writer's point of view it also seemed opportune to do this. During the period under review he has been a circuit minister in Canterbury, been secretary of the North Canterbury Synod Standing Committee, secretary of South Canterbury Synod, a member of many Connexional Committees and more recently. Chairman of the North Canterbury District. This has enabled him to experience the years of unprecedented change in the life of the Church at the nerve centre of decision making. While many things are relatively fresh in his mind and access to people involved in events, and to records is relatively easy, it seemed an ideal time to put pen to paper.

The purpose of this volume is to trace significant trends in the ongoing life of the Methodist Church from a District point of view. So unimagined and so unprecedented have been the changes during this period that they suggested the title of this volume -'The Winds of Change'. World War II interrupted a trend in the life of the Church which continued until the mid 1960s. Then the ecclesiastical ship ran into the turbulent cross currents of our times and began to trim her sails and batten down her hatches for the stormy times ahead. As a result, during the second half of the period under review the Church has undertaken a radical re- structuring of its life to equip it for mission in the modem world. These changes are examined as they affect circuit life -Women's, Men's and Youth Work, the Synod, Christian Education, Lay Preachers, the Connexional Budget, and the Connexional Departments based on Christchurch. During this period the Social Service work of the Church has grown with seven league boots, while the financial pressures of our times have given impetus towards the amalgamation of Circuits and the formation of Union Parishes.

To a large extent the names of people have been avoided. This has been done to make a short book as compressed as possible. For the same reasons circuits have not been treated individually. Hopefully the history of individual circuits will be written in due course and adequate tribute paid to the men and women who have made the Church what it is today. In this way circuit histories will supplement this volume.

Several appendices have been added. One is a profile of each circuit in both North and South Canterbury Districts. Only certain significant facts are presented. They are left to speak for themselves. The second appendix corrects and brings up to date the list of Methodist churches - the dates of their erection, enlargement, etc. - first published in 'Our Yesteryears'. This has been a tedious and time consuming task but one which will be invaluable when circuit brochures are being prepared. Since 'Our Yesteryears' is no longer available it seems appropriate to publish this amended and enlarged appendix in full. The third appendix lists the names of the Conference designated leaders for both North and South Canterbury Synodal Districts.

Many people have helped in compiling this volume by supplying information. They are too numerous to mention. The Connexional Office, always willing and always helpful, deserves special mention for making available the circuit records deposited in its vaults. To Mrs Peggy James who typed most of the letters and to Mrs Quett Hamilton who typed the script in all its stages, and undertook some of the detailed research, we owe the fact that the work was completed in less than a year. To the Rev L. R. M. Gilmore who encouraged me to pursue this idea, to the Rev G. I. Laurenson who has seen it through the printing press, to the Rev W. E. Falkingham who prepared most of the illustrations, especial thanks are due, while to Maida and the family who lived without me for a little longer while I lived with history, most thanks of all should go.