Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

branches of the recently established London Mission report more than a third of this number after less
than ten years' labour.

The success of London Methodism in late years is largely due to the establishment of the Metropolitan
Chapel Building fund in 1862. The late Sir Francis Lycett gave L50,000, on condition that an equal

amount should be raised throughout the country, and that ten chapels, each seating at least a thousand

persons, should in ten years be built in the metropolitan area. The noble challenge called forth a fit

response. In his will he left a large sum to the same fund, so the committee could offer an additional

L500 pounds to every chapel commenced before the end of 1898, with a proportionate grant to smaller

chapels; aid will also be given by the committee in securing additional ministerial supply. Such offers

should stimulate chapel building for the two years. Already, since the establishment of the fund, more

than ninety chapels have been built in London at a cost of L630,000, towards which the fund contributed

in grants and loans L213,000. Before 1862, there were only three important chapels south of the Thames,

and now there are thirty-seven. During the last ten or twelve years unprecedented prosperity has been

shown, not only in chapel building, but in chapel filling, and the establishment of successful missions.

In 1885 the earnest attention of the Churches was directed to "outcast London." The deepest interest was
aroused, especially in Methodist circles; and that year great meetings were held in City Road, to initiate a

movement that should benefit London's outcasts. A large sum of money was raised, and the London

Mission formed. The West London Mission at St. James's Hall, the East End branch, and the almost

deserted chapel in Clerkenwell became notable centres. Thus at one time efforts were put forth to reach

the rich, the artisans, and the outcasts. The success has abundantly justified the enterprise. In addition to

evangelistic work, the missions make strenuous efforts to improve the social condition of the people, for

Methodism realises that she is called to minister not only to the souls, but also to the bodies of men.

Already, as a result of the London Mission, a new, fully organised circuit has grown up; the West

London Mission alone reporting a membership which is one-tenth of the whole membership of London

in 1837.

The latest and most novel branch of the work is the "Bermondsey Settlement," established six years ago
in the poorest district of south-east London. In this hall of residence live devoted workers who have been

trained in our universities or in our high-class schools, and who spend their leisure in benefiting their

poor neighbours by religious, educational, and social effort. A home for women, in which about ten

ladies reside, is connected with the settlement, which is in special connexion with Wesleyan schools

throughout the country. The programme of work is extensive, and in addition the settlement takes an

increasing part in local administration and philanthropy, many non-resident workers assisting.

To support the London Mission, appeal is made to Methodists throughout the country and the world. The
meetings held on its behalf in the provinces have greatly blessed the people, stimulating them to fresh

efforts in their own localities. Similar agencies had previously been established in various great trading

centres, where the tendency is for the people who can afford it to leave the towns and to live in the

suburbs. Thus many chapels have become almost deserted. The Conference decided that the best method

of filling these chapels would be to utilise them as Mission halls, for aggressive evangelistic and social

effort; which has been done with surprising success in Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Birmingham, and many

other large towns. In Manchester there are from ten to twelve thousand people reached by the Mission

agencies, and already a new circuit has been formed, the members of its Society having been gathered in

from the army of distress and destitution. It would be impossible here to enumerate the thousand ways in

which the Mission workers toil for the redemption of the downfallen, or to tell half the tale of their

 

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