Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

success. But all this work could not be so well carried on without the assistance of another important
department. The Wesleyan Chapel Building Committee, instituted in 1818, was reconstituted in 1854; it

meets monthly in Manchester to dispose of grants and loans, to consider cases of erections, alterations,

purchases, and sales of Wesleyan trust property, and to afford advice in difficult cases. It has also to see

that all our trust property is duly secured to the Connexion. The erection of the Central Hall in

Manchester, to be at once the headquarters of our Chapel Committee and of the great Mission, marked a

most important era in Methodist aggressive enterprise. The income of the Chapel Fund from all sources

last year was L9,115. It was reported that the entire debt discharged or provided for during the last

forty-one years was L2,389,073, and the total debt remaining on trust property is not more than

L800,000; while L9,000,000 had been expended on chapel buildings during the thirty years preceding

1893.

The Extension of Methodism Fund was established in 1874, to supplement the ordinary funds of the
Connexion and the local resources of the people, by aiding in the increase of chapel accommodation

throughout the country, and in the extension of Methodism by Home Mission and similar agencies. At

first the building of a thousand chapels was contemplated; but already 1,796 cases have been helped,

with grants and loans amounting to L122,999. In 1867 a fund was started for the relief and extension of

Methodism in Scotland; a Chapel Fund for the North Wales District was instituted in 1867, and for South

Wales in 1873. There are now in Great Britain 10,000 Wesleyan chapels, which will accommodate

2,156,209 hearers, more than four times the number of members returned; for there is something

misleading, as far as the general public is concerned, in the published statistics of Methodism, which take

account of class-meeting membership only. Estimating the other Methodist bodies at the same rate,

Methodist chapels provide accommodation for 3,000,000 people; so that the united Methodist Church in

this country is second only to the Established Church of England.

The Wesleyan Methodist Trust Assurance Company was established in 1872, for the insurance of
Methodist Trust property only. The Board of Trustees for Chapel Purposes was formed in 1866, which

undertakes to invest money intended for the chapel trust and for Methodist objects. Seeing that there are

so many funds in Methodism, and that while some have a balance, others might be obliged to borrow at a

high rate of interest, it was suggested that a Common Cash Fund should be established, making it

possible for the committees to borrow from and lend to one another, the borrowers paying the ordinary

bank rate of interest, and the profits being equally divided among the funds.

A passing reference must be made to another committee, instituted in 1803 - the Committee of Privileges
and Exigency: and in 1845 an acting special committee for cases of great emergency was formed.

Between the sessions of the Conference this committee often renders great service, safeguarding

Methodist interests when they would be endangered by proposed government measures, or in any other

way. At present it is engaged in trying to get through Parliament several measures in the interests of

Nonconformity generally.

The subject of education drew the anxious attention of Wesley; his followers were less alive to its
importance, until just before the Queen came to the throne. The training of the ministry was neglected,

and the young ministers had to educate themselves. Though Wesley approved the idea of a seminary for

his preachers, it was only three years before the Queen's accession that the first Theological Institution

was opened at Hoxton. The Centenary Fund provided for one such institution at Richmond, and another

at Didsbury. The Headingley branch was opened in 1868, and the Birmingham branch, built with part of

the Thanksgiving Fund, in 1881. Our ministers are now far better trained than were the old Methodist

 

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