Saturday 20 July 2019

Celebrating 150 years at Methodist Church

Members of Arklow’s Methodist community outside the Ferrybank Church
Members of Arklow’s Methodist community outside the Ferrybank Church

Simon Bourke

Arklow's Methodist community celebrated an important landmark with the 150th anniversary of the opening of its church in Ferrybank.

Methodist work in Arklow began in the late eighteenth century with the arrival of members of the Methodist Church from England. First meeting in a rented room, the early members were encouraged and visited by such notable preachers as Gideon Ouseley, Andrew Taylor and Charles Graham.

The first Methodist chapel in Arklow was built in 1822 at Abbey Lane. But having outgrown it, the Methodist community acquired a much larger site on Ferrybank, and there on May 12, 1869, opened the present church. The total cost of the construction of the church was £1,200. In 1872, a manse (minister's house) was built beside it, and a school and teachers' residence were built at Brigg's Lane in 1891.

The church and the hall below it, which is now used as a Montessori school, continue to serve the faithful congregation and the wider Arklow community. Previous ministers at Arklow Methodist include the Rev Rosemary Lindsay (now retired) and Rev Ivor Owns, who now ministers on the north side of Dublin. Last July, present Minister Rev Katherine Kehoe came to serve the Methodist communities of Arklow and Gorey.

Discussing the importance of commemmorating the anniversary, Rev Kehoe said she hoped the Arklow Methodist community would still be in the church in another 150 years time, adding: 'Everyone is welcome to join our worship every Sunday morning as we strive to live out our mission statement "Seeing Jesus as our mirror and reflecting his love."'

The Irish Methodist church has 50,000 members and is part of the World Methodist Council.

Wicklow People