Putney Methodist Church

History

The current Methodist congregation in Putney can be said to have been founded in March 1865, with previous communities formed in the 1840s having by then died out. The foundation stones of the church building – the congregation having previously rented rooms to worship in – were laid in November 1881, and it was opened on 4 May 1882. The church was made a Grade II listed building in 1983.

Appearance

The exterior of the church is in the Gothic style.

The interior is divided in two parts by a screen; almost half of the inside is comprised of an open space where refreshments were served after the service, which took place in the half of the church adjoining the sanctuary area. The screen has small flags on, which represent the countries of origin of members of the congregation.

On the wall at the front of the church is a large white Celtic cross (obscured by light in the photograph to the right), on either side of which are stained glass windows showing scenes from the life of Jesus.

There is a wooden table in place of an altar, on which is placed a Bible, flowers, and the offering plate, and two lecterns stand on either side of it.

Two large projector screens flank the sanctuary area, and displayed the words to hymns and to the confirmation part of the service. The church has a lovely wooden ceiling, with carved brackets for the rafters.

Clergy

The service was led by a male minister, dressed in a black suit with a clerical collar. A lady from the congregation came up to give the Bible readings.

Congregation

The clergy numbered just under sixty people, not including the eight younger children who went out during the service. A large proportion of the congregation were relatively elderly, the ratio of females to males was about 2:1, and there were several people from ethnic minorities. There may have been more people there than usual, due to the confirmations which took place during the service I visited.

Service

I attended the 10:30 morning service.

The service started with the minister welcoming the congregation and leading it in prayers and an opening hymn. He then asked us to think of things we were grateful for, and led prayers of thanksgiving for the things which the congregation had mentioned: family, music, and plants, to name a few. A second hymn followed during which some of the younger children left the congregation to do their own activities in a room at the back, after which notices were read out by a member of the congregation while an offering was taken.

A lady from the congregation then came up to the front to give the Bible readings. These were Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (the repentance of Nineveh) and Mark 1:14-20 (the start of Christ’s ministry in Galilee). The sermon followed, the latter half of which was on the subject of personal faith triumphing over proof or probability, but the first half of which went into great detail on The Theory of Everything; I’m afraid I found any links the minister was trying to make between the film and the readings somewhat tangential at best.

After another hymn, prayers for the world were said, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer. There then followed the confirmation of four younger members of the congregation into the Methodist Church; they came up to the front and made promises, and the minister and congregation said prayers for them. The children who had gone out of the service earlier then came back in, and showed the congregation a banner they had made which read “Team Jesus”, an affirmation of unity in Christ for those who weren’t yet full members of the church. This was followed by a final hymn, and the service ended with the congregation saying grace to each other.

The service lasted just over an hour.

Afterwards

After the service, tea, coffee, fruit juice and cake was served in the back half of the church, where tables and chairs were laid out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: