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In the beginning

recollections of a Founder Member

During the winter of 1936 a group of twelve Methodists met one evening in the home of Mr & Mrs Curnow in Stoneleigh Park Road, to discuss the possibility and the ways and means of establishing a Methodist Society in Stoneleigh, a fast developing area at that time. We were led in our discussions by the Rev Wilfred Hannam, Superintendent Minister of the Wimbledon Circuit and, under his guidance, this dream began to take shape. Before the meeting adjourned a site had been suggested and agreed upon whereon to build, in the first instance, a hall for worship with enough land on which to build a church.

The nearest Methodist Church to Stoneleigh was in Worcester Park and the majority of our small band were regular worshippers there during the previous two or three years, and had become actively involved in that time. However, it was assumed that we would become the nucleus of the new society at Stoneleigh, and in due course our membership was transferred. In order to lay the foundation and in preparation for this, we ‘Founder Members’ met together on Sunday evenings in a schoolroom in Stoneleigh West Infants School (now The Mead) – in somewhat cramped conditions I might add! Our devotions were led by the father of one of our members (Mrs Blazey) and he was an excellent local preacher.

Meanwhile the site for the Church had been acquired, the Methodist Society for the Stoneleigh Church formed, and the first service held on Whit Sunday, 23rd May 1937 in the hall of Stoneleigh West School. By this time, due to the influx of a great number of families into the newly developed area, quite a few Methodists had joined our ranks, and we had a very sizeable congregation. The Rev Wilfred Hannam conducted the service, and a small choir had been formed who sang an anthem which Malcolm conducted. It was a most spiritually inspired service giving praise and thanksgiving to God that our Church was born. For Malcolm and myself this was a particularly auspicious and exciting time as on the following Sunday morning our daughter, Deidre, was born. The first new life to be welcomed into the Church fellowship.

Within a few weeks the Stonelaying Ceremony took place, greatly supported by members of other churches in the Wimbledon Circuit. This was a very exciting event and we really felt that our Church would shortly become a definite realisation. At the conclusion of the ceremony we all made our way to Stoneleigh West School for tea and, as one can imagine, much conversation!

By this time a great deal of activity and enthusiasm had been engendered by way of fund-raising efforts since, of course, in true Methodist tradition, our Church would be opened with a debt to be subsequently cleared, and an enormous effort would be required to pay this off.

The opening day arrived and the Church Hall was filled to capacity for the ceremony and service, a really thrilling and moving occasion, and one which we remember so well. Throughout the years we have felt very privileged and honoured to have been Founder Members of ‘The Church on the Hill’.

Florrie MacDonald


Foodbank latest

We would be grateful for donations of  Instant Coffee, Long Life Sponge Puddings, Shaving Foam/Gel and Cooking Sauces. As at 10/1/2018 we are not short of anything else thank you.