150 Years Old – Woodend Methodist Church

The current church - opened 1911
The current church – opened 1911

Woodend Methodist Church is celebrating its 150th birthday this weekend.

In 1858, some newly-arrived settlers held the first Methodist service in Woodend (or Gibbs Town) in the cottage of James Gibbs.  The service was conducted by Rev W Rowse of Lyttelton.
In 1861, the trustees of the church were listed as Thomas Wilson, Robert Atkinson, Thomas Ayers, Charles Skevington, William Gibbs, Arthur Gibbs, Thomas J Turner, Thomas Veysey and Richard Meredith.  There are descendents of some of these, if not all, in the District still.
In 1864, the first church building was opened, a sunday school hall having been built earlier and used for a church.
The photo at the right comes from a history of Methodism published in 1900.
Methodism had a pivotal role in the colonisation of what we know know as the Waimakariri District.  Many prominent citizens of Kaiapoi, Woodend and Rangiora were of that persuasion.

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