Putney Methodist Church celebrates 150th anniversary

Putney Methodist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary with a two-day exhibition this weekend.

The event was organised to commemorate the history of Putney by combining art, music and refreshments in the church.

The weekend had a good turn out with many new faces entering the church, on Gwendolen Avenue, including Labour MP Fleur Anderson, who made an appearance to congratulate the church on the exhibition.

Reverend Geoffrey Farrar said: “It’s a very significant time not just for the church but for all of the area of West Putney.

“It’s been a great weekend and we really enjoyed it and loved having everybody in and seeing people who live locally walk past for years and never stepped in, it’s been fantastic.

“We’re hoping we can show people we are still there and still alive.”

On Sunday they held a workshop, Messy Church, for children and families, which included cookie decorating and parachute games.

One of the oldest members of the church, who has been there since 1966, volunteered to help supervise the children with the activities.

She joked she was pleased the floor avoided being decorated too. 

Due to COVID-19 the event was postponed by a year, making this weekend the 151st anniversary instead.

In February 2020, the church put together a production of Noye’s Fludde which was meant to kickstart the anniversary year, but the celebrations were promptly halted.

Putney Methodist Choir (PMC) was conducted by Lesley Murray and they performed over the weekend.

This Place was written by Murray and she showcased it on Sunday.

The PMC also sing at church services including special events like Christmas. 

REFURBISHED: Putney Methodist Church has been refreshed over the years

Over the years there have been many adaptations to the building, some of which have been funded by donations given to the church.

Reverend Farrar said: “25 years ago we had a big refurbishment that made it look more modern and attractive.”

The transformation turned the dark mahogany wood into a light airy interior which is still present today.

In the late 19th century the current building was erected after it was granted £1,000 by the philanthropist, Sir Francis Lycett.

The only requirement to receive the grant was to have a capacity of 1,000 seats and Lycett offered this money to the first 10 churches in the capital who achieved it.

This helped to spread Methodism, and the church saw a peak of membership in 1915.

Reverend Farrar said: “Considering how small the Methodist community was, it was a real act of faith to build the church.”

In 1944 the building was closed for eight years after a V1 flying bomb fell opposite to the church on Charlwood Road. 

After the war, the church was rebuilt at a cost of over £24,000 in 1952, and although some of the shrapnel and damage can still be seen, Sunday services were able to resume.

The church has two services every Sunday, one in the morning and one in the evening.

They always look to welcome new faces and build the community.

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