Methodist Church

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John Wesley, who visited Jersey in 1787 for ten days
0707MethodistLogo.jpg

History

Methodism arrived in Jersey via Newfoundland, where early preachers met Jerseymen involved in the cod trade.

Pierre Le Sueur

Lawrence Coughlan introduced Methodism to Carbonear and Harbour Grace in Newfoundland in 1765. Among his converts were Pierre Le Sueur, who had a small fishing station, and Jean Tentin, of Huguenot descent.

They began to preach when they returned to Jersey in 1775, and were joined four years later by John Brown, from Poole, who set himself up in a cellar at Le Sueur’s house at 22 Hill Street. Because of his beliefs, Pierre Le Sueur was opposed by his family, and his business partner left him. Business declined and he was left with few friends.

Initially services were in French, which did not suit Methodist soldiers sent to join the island garrison and John Wesley responded to their request for an English-speaking preacher in 1783 by sending Robert Carr Brackenbury.

Robert Brackenbury

He held services at 3 Royal Square, the home of Philippe Perchard, and then moved to La Chapelle des Pas, a privately owned chapel on South Hill, which would eventually be demolished to make way for Fort Regent.

Wesley visits

By 1784 Jersey was listed by the Methodist Church as a mission station, and John Wesley visited the island in 1787, staying ten days at 15 Old Street.

Brackenbury was joined in his work by a Jersey layman, Jean de Quetteville, who carried Methodism to the country parishes and later to Guernsey and Alderney; for the missionary spirit was evident from the outset. Among others who joined the movement were Abraham John Bishop, son of a Dorset father and Jersey mother, and partner in the firm of Bishop, Chevalier and Bishop, who were merchants with trading links in many parts of the world, and Marie-Louise Carcaux, daughter of a sea-captain, Jean Carcaux, and his wife Judith Cartault, both of Huguenot descent, who married and converted Francois Jeune, grandfather of the future bishop of Peterborough.

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke

One of the most famous of the early Methodist preachers in Jersey was Adam Clarke, who would later become President of the Methodist Conference. He was born in Ireland and was appointed to Jersey by John Wesley in 1786 because of his knowledge of French. He was well received and entertained in the family of Henry De Jersey. Although Clarke returned to England with John Wesley after his 1787 visit, he was reappointed to Jersey and remained for another two years before transferring to Bristol.

The story is told that one day in 1786 he walked across the sands from St Helier to St Aubin with Brackenbury and went on to spend considerable time there, trying to overcome the fierce opposition to the Methodist cause.

Members met in a shed in the yard of Les Vaux, the home of Francois Jeune (whose grandson became Dean of Jersey and Later Bishop of Peterborough). This meeting place was frequently attacked by the mob and attempts were even made to destroy the house.

Clarke was howled down when he preached in the open air. The Jeunes lent a shed at their home at Les Vaux in St Aubin and fitted it with a pulpit and benches. On one occasion shots were fired through a window, on another the mob, toughened no doubt by experience on privateers, arrived with sticks, swords and forks to the sound of drums, fifes and trumpets. On one occasion pulpit and benches were carried down to the harbour and tied to the shrouds of vessels; but the Jeunes persevered.

Militia drills

Opposition became more violent when Clarke persuaded Methodists not to do military training on Sundays. Drills were held every Sunday after morning service, but militiamen who had become Methodists believed that they should not be forced to drill on the Sabbath.

Many were prepared to pay the fine for non-attendance, but their numbers were such that the efficiency of regiments was affected and prison sentences began to be imposed instead of fines. As the problem worsened, sanctions became tougher. In May 1796, after three successive defauts, Francois Jeune was banished from the Island for three vears. In 1798 his son was imprisoned with other laymen, and two ministers were also banished.

Le Marais, St Mary, where John Wesley preached while in Jersey
In October 1798 the States passed an Act banishing all militiamen who absented themselves from drill. They closed the meeting house at 22 King Street, but the Methodists met at each other's homes, and then reopened 22 KIng Street on the basis that it was private property.

An influential deputation to the Privy Council of leading English Methodists, supported by William Wilberforce MP, and accompanied by Pierre Le Sueur from Jersey protested that, while the Jersey Methodists were willing to be placed in the front of the battle on any day at any hour, they could not 'consistent with their views and sentiments, consent to learn the military exercises or merely go through the military evolutions on the Sabbath Day'.

The Privy Council refused to support the States' high-handed approach, the Act was rejected and the Methodists were allowed to do their drill on weekdays.

Abraham Bishop

When La Chapelle des Pas proved too small for the growing congregation and the States refused to allow the Methodists to buy a new property au nom de la societe, Abraham John Bishop bought a house on what is now the corner of Don Street and King Street and it was modified to form a chapel, which was used until 1813, when a new chapel was built in Don Street.

The price was £400, of which Brackenbury paid more than half. The Bishop family added about £105, and thus, with the necessary alterations made, the Methodists had a place of their own which served them for 24 years.

Church building

As the English language became more popular in Jersey the Methodist Church was split into two, the English Circuit and the French Circuit. Later other groups, such as the Primitive Methodists, appeared.

The period from 1790 to 1912 saw 42 Methodist churches built in the Island. The largest, Wesley Grove Church, formerly known as Grove Place Wesleyan Chapel, was built in 1847 with a seating capacity of 1,450 and was part of the French Circuit. The total cost of construction was £8,000, which took 34 years to raise.

Notre Dame du Pas Chapel

Churches today

Bethesda Bethlehem Ebenezer
Eden Georgetown La Rocque
Philadelphie Samares St Aubin
St Helier St Martin St Ouen
The Bay St Helier Methodist Centre





Wesley Grove

Earlier churches

Weslyan Chapels in the Channel Islands from 1784 to 1884.

Church Opened Language Preacher(s) at opening
King Street, St Helier 1790 AF
St Ouen 2 December 18809 F De Quetteville
Six Roads, St Lawrence 31 December 1811 F De Quetteville, H Mahy
Don Street, St Helier 3 January 1813 AF H Mahy, A Ollivier, W Pearson
St Mary 1815 F
St Aubin 12 October 1817 AF H Mahy, Th Rowlands
St Martin 13 February 1820 F P Le Sueur, F Guiton
Les Freres, St John 11 November 1821 F P Le Sueur, F Guiton, E. Batty
St Peter 27 November 1825 F J de Putron, D Robin
St Brelade 1 January 1826 F J de Putron, J Newton
Bethel, St Clement 2 July 1826 F D Robin, J du Putron, Cotton
Ebenezer, Trinity 1 October 1826 F J de Putron, D Robin, J Newton
Sion, St John 24 June 1827 F A Ollivier, P Le Sueur, J de Putron
Wesley Street, St Helier 30 December 1827 A J Newton, J Akerman
Bethlehem, St Mary 2 August 1829 F A Ollivier, P Le Sueur, D Robin
Salem, Grouville 11 March 1832 F Ph Tougis
Galaad, St Lawrence 14 October 1832 F P Le Sueur, P Tourgis
Augres, Trinity 30 June 1833 F H de Jersey, F Guiton
Eden, St Saviour 15 September 1833 F Ph Tourgis, A Ollivier, F Guiton
La Rocque, Grouville 4 November 1838 F Ph Tourgis
Gorey, Grouville 29 February 1840 A N Sibley, E Neel, Th Saunders
Carmel, Trinity 14 January 1844 F Ph Tourgis, F Guiton, D Robin
First Tour, St Lawrence 28 December 1847 A
Grove Place, St Helier 10 October 1847 F J Beaumont, F Puaux
St Martin 5 January 1851 F Tougis, Neel, Handcock
Six Roads, St Lawrence 15 September 1861 F M Gallienne, C Copoke, Ph Tougis
Bethesda, St Peter 30 August 1868 F Ph Tourgis, Ph Hocquard, Ph Le Gresley
St Aubin 19 August 1868 A R Leake, Ph Tourgis, R Hardy, R Roberts
Seaton Place, St Helier 13 November 1868 A J Bedford, R Hardy, A Rees, CE Bateman, M Gallienne
St Ouen 23 August 1871 F M Gallienne, AJ Dupuy
Georgetown 18 June 1873 F P Lucas
Wesley Street, St Helier 5 April 1873 A JS Spencer, WM Punshon
Sion, St John 28 September 1881 F M Lelievre, F Puaux, DA de Mouilpied, J Hocart

References

  • Histoire du Methodisme dans les Isles de la Manche by Francois Guiton, published around the 1840s
  • Histoire du Methodisme dans les Isles de la Manche by M Le Lievre (1885)
  • Methodism in the Channel Islands by R D Moore, largely a translation of Le Lievre, published in the 1950s

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