Wallington Methodist Church

History

The church was founded in 1908, and was actually celebrating its 105-year anniversary during the service which I attended. When founded, the congregation topped 50 people, hitting a peak of 400 in the 1960s and 70s.

Appearance

The inside of the church has mostly blank white walls with brick pillars and arches, with a wooden ceiling. At the front is an altar with some Union Flags behind it and a small font in front of it, with a cross, candle, Bible and flower display on top of the altar. Above the altar is a large stained glass window showing saints kneeling down to Christ. To the left of the chancel is a small pulpit with a banner emblazoned with a cross draped down from it, and further left from that in the corner of the church is a drum kit and piano. To the right of the chancel is a projector screen, and further to the right of that a small table with a cross on it. There are also a few banners and pictures dotted around the inside of the building, with noticeboards and toys for young children at the back.

Clergy

The service was led by a male minister. He was not wearing vestments, but was smartly dressed and had a clerical collar. Another man gave some notices at the very start of the service, and three girls came up to the front to sing.

Congregation

The congregation numbered about 80, with a roughly equal divide between men and women. Almost half the congregation was comprised of ethnic minorities, who tended to be relatively young, in contrast to the white members of the congregation who were generally elderly, although there were of course several exceptions to both. The congregation was very friendly – so much so that I could not sit down and write some notes about the layout of the church before the service without being interrupted by five different people approaching me and welcoming me, which was certainly a nice start to my visit.

Service

The service started with the minister – a former minister of the church visiting from the USA for the church’s anniversary – addressing the congregation on how glad he was to be there, and inviting them to worship and to celebrate 105 years of Wallington Methodist Church. After an opening hymn and prayers, there was a sharing of the peace and a talk on anniversaries and gratitude to God for his blessings before the Junior Church left the service to do their own activities.

There was then a second hymn, followed by the New Testament reading, Ephesians 4:1-8 and 11-13. Songs were then sung by girls who went up to the front accompanied by the piano to the left of the chancel and by a boy with a cello while the collection was taken. After another hymn, the Old Testament reading was read (Exodus 2:1-10), which tied in with the sermon that followed, which was titled “What’s Around The Corner?”

The Junior Church then returned and informed the congregation what they had been doing – reading the parable of Dives and Lazarus. After a final hymn, the service – which had lasted for about an hour – then ended with the minister blessing the congregation.

Afterwards

Tea, coffee, orange squash and biscuits were available at the back of the church. It being the birthday of one of the congregation members, slices of cake were also being given out. I heard mention of a church lunch later, which I was unable to stay for, but gathered that this was a special occasion due to the anniversary and not a weekly event.

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