Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
The Methodist Church in Gisborne had its origin in services held in the early 1870's in James East's home. Between 1874 and 1876 either the school or the courthouse was used as a meeting place. Mr. (later the Hon.) G. W. Russell (then a Divinity student) was the first minister. He preached his inaugural sermon on 5 July, 1874, and, in March, 1875, was transferred to New Plymouth. Subsequently, he engaged in journalism and, eventually, entered Parliament, attaining Ministerial rank.
As the acre section in Carnarvon Street which had been presented by the Auckland Provincial Council was so remote, the site of the present church in Bright Street was bought at a cost of £50. A church (34 feet by 24 feet) was opened on 2 January, 1876. Its successor was dedicated on 19 January, 1891. Suburban churches were opened at Te Hapara (1910), Mangapapa (1913) and Victoria Township (1915). In 1932, on account of the depression, the second minister was withdrawn, and this step led to the closing of the country causes, which included Matawai, Motu, Motuhora, Makauri, Kaiteratahi, Tolaga Bay and Tokomaru Bay. New church buildings closer to the main centre of population are projected.
Ministers: G. W. Russell (1874–5), T. G. Carr (1875–6), W. S. Harper (1876–9), L. Salter (1879–80), J. Dellow (1880–2), L. Hewson (1882–3), J. T. Pinfold (1883–4), G. W. Spence (1884–5), T. J. Willis (1886–7), J. A. Luxford (1887–8), J. Ward (1888–91), S. J. Gibson (1891–3), T. N. Griffin (1893–5), L. Salter, second term (1895–6), J. Blight (1896–9), F. B. Oldham (189901), B. F. Rothwell (1901–4), G. Hounsell (1904–6), C. Griffin (1906–9), J. A. Lochore (1909–14), R. Raine (1914–16), W. Wills (1916–19), W. H. E. Abbey (1919–21), E. T. Cox (1921–4), G. Frost (1924–30), W. J. Elliott (1930–3), H. Daniel (1933–6), F. E. Leadley (1936–40), A. Blakemore (1940–5), B. M. Tasker (1945–8), E. B. Chalmers (1948—). Assistant ministers: Revs. A. F. Attwood, I. M. Raynor and I. S. Williamson. Three Gisborne trainees—John Dawson, Selwyn Dawson and Francis Parker—have joined the ministry.