The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892.
The Wesleyan Methodist Church
The Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Amongst the earliest residents in Nelson in 1842 was Mr. E. Green, then a local preacher in the Methodist Church. He arrived in the"Lord Auckland," on Thursday, 18th February. Having distributed tracts on the following Sunday, the 21st, Mr. Green on Sunday, the 28th, preached in the open air at"Little Scotland," in what is now known as the Brook street valley. The was probably the first sermon preached in the Nelson Pro-Provincial District.
Other Methodist local preachers arrived in the rapidly-following vessels, Messrs. Andrews and Mears being of the number, and Methodist services were for some time conducted in a tent.
In June, 1842, the Rev. S. Ironside visited the settlement, and preached to both Europeans and Maoris. He also baptised Mr. Benjamin Lovell's infant daughter, the first British child born within the Province, and another child.page 172
In August or September, a Methodist Sunday school was established in the house of Mr. Butler, in Alton street, Messrs. Andrews, Butler, and Mears being teachers.
Mr. Hough, a home missionary in connection with the body, arrived in October, and the Church was further strengthened by the arrival of Messrs. G. W. Lightband, Riley, Foy, Jackson, and others.
The first class-meeting was held at the residence of Mr. G. W. Lightband. Mr. Foy was the leader. About this time a building was put up by public subscription, and called the"Ebenezer." It was for the use of all Christians as a place of public worship, and was used by the Methodists. It stood on the site of the stables near Messrs. Dodson's brewery, Tasman street. Subsequently the late Mr. Matthew Campbell built a large brick schoolroom; and the Methodists held all their services in it. The increasing number of adherents led to the building of a brick church on an acre, given by the New Zealand Company, where the Custom House and the warehouses of Messrs. J. H. Cock and Co. now stand, for the accommodation of about 200 people. It was opened in 1845 by the Rev. J. Aldred, who had come to take charge of the circuit. A Sunday school was conducted in this church, of which Mr. G. W. Lightband was superintendent.
In 1857, the congregation had so increased as to render a larger church necessary. The gables and other parts of the church were damaged by the heavy earthquake. The property was sold for £1500 to Messrs. Edwards & Co., merchants. The parsonage, or mission bouse, was, at this time, in Washington valley, and was subsequently sold to Mr. R. Lucas.
On 13th November, 1857, £400 was paid for an acre in Hardy street, and in June, 1858, £2195 was paid for the erection of a church to accommodate about 400.
The Hardy street church was opened on Friday, June 18th. 1858, by the Rev. J. Warren, and on the following Sunday services were conducted by the Rev. P. Calder in the morning, in the afternoon by Mr. W. Beatson, the architect, and in the evening by the Rev. E. Thomas. On the Tuesday following a monster tea meeting was held, the proceeds amounting to £102 14s. 10½d.
The ministers stationed here since the opening, to the present time, have been the Revs. Ironside, Warren, Innes, Kirk, Crump, Watkin, Buddle, Harper, Bavin, Lee, Beck, Oliver, and Isitt (seven of whom have occupied the President's chair during the last twelve years.)
It is estimated that the Methodists of Nelson have raised and expended over £30,000 since the foundation of the settlement.