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Born in Leigh, Lancs , the son of the Rev, Stanley K. Bridge , Superintendent of the Leeds Mission , he was the fifth generation in succession to enter the ministry. He was a pupil at Kingswood School, but with his father’s early death at 49, found himself prematurely head of the family. He trained for the ministry at Hartley Victoria College, followed by a year at the Graduate School of Ecumenial Studies in Geneva, which, he said, ‘left a deep impression on me… by awakening an interest in European affairs and in Christian-Marxist dialogue’. In later years he paid many visits to eastern European countries and led groups on visits. He also chaired the European Committee, playing a part in setting up the European Methodist Council.

He served for nine years in the Home Mission Division, exercising his interest in apologetics and enabling Donald English to fulfil his wide-ranging preaching ministry. He was also widely known for his contributions to the Methodist Recorder as its television critic. He retired from his last circuit, Chichester and Bognor Regis, to Emsworth and finally to Berkhamstead, where he died in 2018.

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Susanna Wesley, the 'Mother of Methodism'. was born in Spital Yard, London, the daughter of Samuel Annesley, a nonconformist minister ejected from his living of St. Giles, Cripplegate in 1662. She left the dissenters in 1682 , influenced by latitudinarian clerics in the Church of England such as John Tillotson and Edward Stillingfleet. She met and married in 1689 Samuel Wesley, formerly at the Stoke Newington dissenting academy, then at Exeter College Oxford from which he entered into Anglican orders, serving in South Ormsby and Epworth, Lincolnshire as Rector. There she raised 19 children, including John born 1703 and Charles born 1708. Receiving home education from her, she continued guiding them through her correspondence while they were studying at Oxford. This concern for their education and training and her spirituality expressed through regular daily prayers with the household had a lasting influence on the Wesley family and the Methodist movement. Many of her writings perished in the fire at Epworth Rectory in 1709, but others have survived as a source for understanding her debt to puritan and other writings. After her husbandl’s death in 1735, she settled with family members in Salisbury and London. She died in 1742 at The Foundery in City Road and was buried in the nonconformist cemetery at Bunhill Fields.

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A fishing community at the north-west corner of Chichester harbour, in the parish of Warblington and now part of the borough of Havant. It had no place of worship until St. Peter’s proprietary chapel was built in The Square in 1789 (replaced by St. James parish church in 1840).

In the 1830s and 1840s the Wesleyans from Chichester and the Primitive Methodists fromPetersfield attempted to establish missions in Emsworth, but without permanent success. Eventually in 1874, under the leadership of the Rev. George P. Clark, newly appointed Superintendent of the Chichester Primitive Methodist Circuit, converts were made and within two years a society was established with 58 members. A site for a chapel was acquired in The Square at the centre of the village, where it still stands. Some of the adjoining land was sold off, enabling them to build the chapel on the street front, next door to St. Peter’s chapel (which later became a cinema). It was opened on 25 April 1877 Access for many years was by a small central porch. The limitations of the site as well as financial constraints were among the factors determining improvements to the premises for many years.

From 1877 until 1932 Emsworth was in the Chichester PM circuit, with an all-time low of 9 members in 1929. But soon after Methodist Union it was transferred to Portsmouth, sharing ministers with various churches in that circuit. The post-war years saw social and demographic changes that brought the possibility of alterations to the premises. The membership at Emsworth began to grow again in the 1960s and a District Replanning Committee in 1964 expressed the hope that ‘in the light of the young and virile leadership that has emerged in recent years, it would be a mistake to vacate our central site’. Some urgent first aid was undertaken on the building. One token of new life was the annual ‘Industrial Festival’ held for some years.

On 17 July 1977 a service to mark the centenary of the church was held in St. James’s parish church, with the Rev. Harry Morton, secretary of the British Council of Churches, as the preacher. Improving Anglican-Methodist relations at national level at this time led to a degree of shared worship locally, but the Scheme of Union resulting from years of ‘Conversations’ failed to get a 75% vote in the Anglican General Synod.

In 1979 the temporary housing of Vietnamese refugees on Thorney Island led to their being welcomed with jasmin tea and other refreshments in the church, and this later resulted in the opening of the Pastoral Centre, with the recently retired Mary Bray as its first manager. A building fund was opened in 1980 and alterations were begun in the following year, including the opening up and extension of the front facing the Square to make it more inviting, a coffee bar on the south wall and a new sanctuary. The new premises, costing £76,000, were opened in May 1982 by the Rt, Hon.George Thomas, Speaker of the House of Commons, who was full of praise for the project. The church itself became - and remains - the Pastoral Centre’s venue, staffed by teams from all the local churches, providing a meeting place, refreshments and a friendly welcome at the centre of the village. As Mary Bray wrote in 1988, ‘Our activities here take place within sight of the sanctuary because all service is offered in the name of Jesus Christ, to whom our work and building are dedicated.’

As the 20th century approached, the opportunity to extend the premises became a reality. Schemes to acquire the site to the north, including St. Peter’s Church, had come to nothing. But in 1999 the neighbouring property to the south, ‘International House’, came on the market, the church was offered first refusal and led by the Senior Stewand Hugh Benzie, a speedy decision was accompanied by the beginning of fund-raising. With gifts and loans from members together with grants and loans from other sources, ‘Project Connect’ followed, including an atrium to join the two buildings from front to back. A service of Rededication was held on 8 March 2008.

Emsworth has been the chosen retirement venue for a number of notable ministers, including the missionary doctor Frank Davey and the biblical scholar Cyril S. Rodd.

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See Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network

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Following the suggestions made in the Halifax Circular, the WM Connexion was first divided into Districts in 1791 as a basis for administration between the annual Conferences: initially, 19 in England, 2 in Scotland and 7 in Ireland. Each District appointed one preacher to represent it and its circuits when preachers were stationed by the next Conference.

Districts, with their boundaries defined by Conference, remained an essential part of the Methodist structure, though there has been little attempt to relate their boundaries to those of secular or other ecclesiastical bodies. During the nineteenth century they proliferated and by 1932 there were 35 British Districts in WM (increased to 46 as a result of Methodist Union), with 7 in Ireland.

Similar patterns developed in the other branches of Methodism. In PM, despite the predominance of circuit initiatives, circuits were grouped into four Districts as early as the 1820s and Conference representation was transferred to them from the circuits. BC Districts were first organized in 1824, each under a 'Superintendent' who had the right to preside at the Circuit Quarterly Meetings if he so chose. The UMFC had District Meetings from the outset, but their powers and functions were limited.

As the Church's missionary work developed, overseas Districts were formed and continued until each in turn became an autonomous Conference (or part of one). The last overseas Districts to attain autonomy were Togo in 2000 and The Gambia in 2009. (Until 2006 Gibraltar and Malta were part of the London South West and London South East Districts respectively. With the creation of a single London District they both became part of the new South East District.) By 2013, there were 31 Districts, of which all but four had separated Chairs (see District Chairman); three of those four Districts operate as single Circuit Districts.

The purpose of the District has been set out in CPD as (1) to advance the mission of the Church by enabling circuits to work together and support each other, and together to engage in mission to the wider society of the region in which they are set and (2) to link the Connexion and circuits, especially in training, and also by approving applications for grant aid to circuits. Its role has been significantly enlarged in recent years in two respects. First, by the creation of District Advance Funds, made up of mandatory contributions from circuit funds, Districts are enabled to direct resources across circuit boundaries to areas of priority within the District. Secondly, responsibility for the approval of most projects for works to be done on local church or circuit property has been devolved to the District from the connexional level (see Chapel Affairs).

There has been continuing debate about the rôle and functions of the District in the life of the Connexion, stimulated in part in recent years by the “Regrouping for Mission: Mapping a Way Forward” process, which has resulted in a growing number of circuit amalgamations, creating fewer, larger Circuits. A report brought to the Conference in 2013, “Larger than Circuit”, reviewed the history and present position, and set in motion of period of consultation within and between Districts about future patterns and structures. In 2016, it was reported (Agenda pp.107-120) that whilst there were various areas which had been identified for further development, such as the leadership role of District Chairs and the need for periodic reviews of district life, there was no widespread desire for radical change of the structures of Districts.

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Physicist and radio astronomer, born on 31 August 1912 at Oldland Common, Bristol into a Methodist family. Church organs became one of his lifelong interests. He was educated at Kingswood Grammar School and Bristol University, where he took a BSc in 1934 and a PhD in 1936 on electrical conductivity. He worked in the cosmic ray research team at Manchester University and then during World War II on radar systems in the Telecommunications Research Establishment. Resuming his research on cosmic rays, with university funding he built what was then the world’s largest steerable radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, now known as the Lovell Telescope. In 2009 he claimed that he had been the subject of an assassination attempt during a visit to the Soviet Deep-Space Communications Centre, because of the telescope’s use in an early warning system during the Cold War.

He gave the Reith Lectures in 1958 on 'The Individual and the Universe', theMacmillan Memorial Lecture in 1959 on 'Radio Astronomy and the Structure of the Universe', and in1977 the presidential address to the British Association on 'In the Centre of Immensities'.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1955, President of the Royal Astronomical Society 1969-1971 and was also a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He received an OBE in 1946, a Royal Medal in 1960, an honorary DSc at the University of Bath in1967, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in 1980 and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1981.

He died at Swettenham, Cheshire on 6 August 2012.

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See Southend

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Southend in the parish of Prittlewell was no more than one of the scattered villages in the Rochford Hundred until it began its rapid development in the 1840s. It became a separate parish in 1842. About this time the earliest references to Methodism occur. The house of Benjamin Johnson, shoemaker, was registered for worship in 1841 by the Wesleyan minister John Morgan of Chelmsford. Two years later his successor James Aldis registered the dwelling house of a Miss Dovey to be ‘opened and continued as a place of public worship’. The following decades saw the population grow from 3,375 in 1861 to 28,793 in 1901. Southend became a borough in 1904, the year in which the diocese of Chelmsford was crreated.

John Wesley’s Journal records visiting the ‘little flock at Leigh’ nine times between1748 and 1758; and that may provide a clue to his reason for visiting so out- of- the- way a part of the country. But with the silting up of the harbour, it was not until 1811 that the first chapel was built in Leigh at the end of Hadleigh Road. The building of the new railway line in the 1850s caused them to seek a different site and in 1861 a new chapel was opened in High Street with the help of compensation from the railway company. 18 years later a further move became necessary because of a serious structural problem and a third church was opened in New Road in1889, to be replaced by the present New Road church in 1932. Known for many years as ‘the Fishermen’s Chapel, this survived the effect of the war years, including the evacuation of its children in 1939, and provided a refuge for the residents of Canvey Island made homeless by the floods of 1953.

Wesley, Elm Road was opened in 1897 to meet the growing population of Leigh. During World War 1 its hall was intermittently used by the military stationed locally.

The first Methodist church to be built in Southend itself was on the Eastern Esplanade, oppened in October 1861 by a group under the leadership of a fisherman and local preacher named Michael Tomlin. But after some controversy with the Wesleyan Circuit authorities they chose to be called the Wesleyan Free Church and it eventually became part the United Methodist Church in 1915. It was replaced by a new church in Whittington Avenue, opened in June 1955, which became known as the 'Michael Tomlin Memorial. Church.

The earliest Wesleyan church in Southend was built in Park Road and opened in 1871 on a site given to them them on the Park Estate. By the time of World War II this church was in decline and eventually closed in 1997.

Leigh was at first in the Essex Mission, became the head of a circuit from 1810 to 1822 and again from 1854 until renamed the Southend Circuit in 1870.

Three churches in the growing suburb of Westcliff-on-Sea, all originating around the turn of the 19th century, were brought together in 1973 to form a single church renamd Trinity: Argyle Road, formerly United Methodist (1902)), Beedell Avenue Prinitive Methodist (an iron chapel, opened 1905, replaced 1926) and Wesley Hall, West Street (opened 1900; extendd 1926)

The history of Methodism in the area, including Southend and Leigh on Sea, has been chronicled in detail by George Thompson Brake in a series of booklets, The History of the Methodist Church in theSouthend and Leigh Circuit.

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Born at Horton in the Staffordshire moorlands into a Wesleyan family and brought up in Hanley, he came under the influence of an aunt, Elizabeth Dakin, a Primitive Methodist preacher in the Cloud Primitive Methodist chapel at Congleton. He was influenced by Bethesda Methodist New Connexion Chapel, where he and his first wife were married in 1856 and he became a trustee in 1862. He and his second wife were later leading MNC members at Mount Tabor,Fenton and Ebenezer, Newcastle under Lyme, at a time when the Hanley and Longton Circuits were strongholds of the denomination.

Harvey followed his father James into the Pottery trade, joining the MNC Shelley family business in 1861/62. When J.B. Shelley was declared bankrupt in 1862 the saved him from the prospect of imprisonment by paying his outstanding debts. From 1869 to 1885 Harvey Adams and Co. were know for their high quality products, many of them for the export market, including the invention and design of the ‘moustache cup’, acknowledged as his invention. The family firm was also associated with other MNC pottery firms, notably that of Titus Hammersley.

Harvey became widely known for his refusal to pay the School Rate introduced in the1870 Education Act, on the grounds that it unfairly favoured the Church of England. He was possibly the first to do so, and was described in the press as ‘the school rate martyr of the Potteries’. He sold the family business in 1885 to his partner George Hammersley, but continued to travel in retirement for other potters, the Forester Phoenix works and the Methodists Mayer and Sherratt. As a successful businessman, energetic local politician and loyal to the New Connexion, he reflects much that was best in Victorian Methodism and nonconformity. He died in 1916, surviving his eldest son who had been Medical Officer of Health for Warrington.

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Born in Southport into a Methodist family, she joined the WRNS in 1940 and spent the war years either in London or on the South Coast. She was a "wireless telegraphist," conversant with a variety of secret codes, as she worked on intercepting and monitoring messages from U boats. Once the war was finished, she completed her education and became a teacher. Eventually, under pressure from colleagues and education officers, she became a head-teacher. This was at a time when comprehensive schools were coming into being. At Leyton and at Loughton, she oversaw the transformation of selective (and prestigious) schools and was widely acclaimed for the manner in which this was achieved. In retirement, she served as one of the treasurers of MCOD and brought wisdom and inspiration to her colleagues there as well as travelling to far-flung places as a kind of roving ambassador for Methodism's overseas work.

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Methodism in Wales had from its beginning separate chapels and Circuits conducting worship in either Welsh or English. There is also the Calvinistic Methodist Church/Presbyterian Church of Wales.

When the Wesleyans formed their Welsh Mission in 1800 with the Rev.Owen Davies as Superintendent, what is now Colwyn Bay was still a sparsely populated area to the west of what is now known as Old Colwyn. The first Wesleyan chapel was built at Bron y Nant in 1809. When a ship was wrecked in 1818 off the coast at Llandrillo, some of the chapel members were among the despoilers and the chapel was closed, but later reopened and enlarged in 1840 by a group led by Thomas Roberts.

Until 1865 the only house in what is now Colwyn Bay was Pwllcrochan Hall, the home of Lady Erskine, which became a hotel. Land for development was made available by the Pwyll y Crochan and Erskine estates. A railway station was opened on the Chester to Holyhead line. In 1871 a Welsh speaking Wesleyan society was started in Colwyn Bay, with services held in members’ homes. A chapel was opened in Greenfield Road in 1876, replaced by a larger one named Shiloh in 1888. As the congregation grew, Shiloh was sold to the English Wesleyans and replaced by Horeb in Rhiw Road on 2 November 1902 (extensively renovated in 2000).

In the 1880s the need for an English chapel in Colwyn Bay was recognised by W. Morley Punshon and [Entry:2154 Frederick Payne]] who carried the project forward after the former’s death. Foundation stones were laid on 11 August 1882 and the schoolroom opened on 21 January 1883 and used for worship until the church was opened, after further fund-raising, in 1888.

In 1903 a site was bought at the junction of Abergele Road and Nant y Glyn Lane for a Wesleyan chapel, designed by the Manchester architectArthur Brocklehurst and opened on 16 June 1905, to cater for the growing population at the eastern end of the town. Until it was built the English-speaking congregation used the Welsh Wesleyan chapel in Greenfield Road andt St. John’s Chapel in Conway Road.

Around the turn o of the century the English-speaking Wesleyans in Old Colwyn worshipped on Sunday mornings following the Welsh service in Bethesda Wesleyan Chapel, and in the evening in a room above a toyshop. On weekdays they used Shiloh chapel in Greenfield Road and the Baptist ‘iron chapel’ until their ‘Arts and Crafts’ Chapel opened in 1909 (extended in 1933). During World War II this was used as temporary accommodation for evacuees from [Entry:1718 Liverpool]]

The last English Wesleyan church to be established was ar at Rhos on Sea, built with the help of the sale of Llanrwst church in 1920 and designed by Arthur Brocklehurst. It opened on 4th April 1921 with the young William E. Sangster as its first minister.

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Born on 13 February 1876 in Grimsby into a poor but well-cared for family. Following his mother’s death, he was brought up by his grandmother and like her became an agricultural worker. He was also a successful champion cyclist, until the death of a friend in a race caused him to give this up in 1896. He was encouraged by Thomas Champness to train as a Lay Evangelist. Despite his early lack of education he distinguished himself in both the academic and sporting life at Headingley College. During his first appointment at the ManchesterBarrow-in-Furness and Salford Mission he started the Central Hall Brotherhood and there as well as at the new Barrow in Furness King’s Hall, pursued his vision as a social reformer of helping the sick, offering loans to the needy, and opening a ‘labour registry’, together with opportunities for young men to become athletes.

In 1914 he became an army chaplain, rising to the rank of Major and being awarded the Military Cross. ‘During several days’ operations he continually went forward under heavy fire and attended to the wounded. On one occasion he saved the life of a wounded officer by carrying him to safety under close-range machine-gun and sniper fire.’ In 1918 he was mentioned in despatches and awarded a bar to his MC while serving in the fifth Battle of Ypres Salient.

After the end of hostilities his hatred of war led him to become a powerful Peace Advocate’ and public supporter of the League of Nations Union; also of many social reform movements, including the National Birth Control Association. He supported the Labour Party, speaking on the same platform as such leading figures as Clement Atlee. During his ministry in Wallasey he had a lasting influence on the young Fred Pratt Green. He died on 26 November 1945.

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