Sunday, 24 May 2015

WESLEY CHURCH, LONSDALE ST

Wesley Church is a Uniting Church in the centre of Melbourne, in the State of Victoria, Australia. Wesley Church was originally built as the central church of the Wesleyan movement in Victoria. It is named after John Wesley (1703–1791), the founder of Methodism. Today Wesley Church is the home of two Uniting Church congregations, the English-speaking Wesley Church, and the Chinese-speaking Gospel Hall. In 1902, the Wesleyan Church in Australia combined with four other churches to form the Methodist Church of Australasia. In 1977, the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches further combined to form the Uniting Church.

The present Wesley Church, in Lonsdale Street was built in 1858. The Superintendent, Daniel Draper, strongly proposed a grand gothic design with high quality architecture. This design was criticised by many Wesleyans as too ornate, too Gothic and too Anglican for a Wesleyan Church. However, Draper's design prevailed. The foundation stone was laid on 2 December 1857, and the Church was opened on 26 August 1858. This Church was the central congregation of the Wesleyan Church for Victoria, where the Conferences met, and where ministers were ordained. It was located in a poor part of Melbourne, and pioneered many initiatives in Community Service. In the 1880s, a team of Biblewomen were appointed to work with people experiencing serious poverty. One of these was Mrs Varcoe, who established Livingstone House, a home for homeless boys in Drummond St, Carlton.

Wesley Church was designed by Joseph Reed, who also designed the Melbourne Town Hall, the Scots' Church and the Independent Church (now St. Michael’s in Collins St. The church is in the English Gothic style and takes the shape of a cross. The church is 50.3 metres long from north to south and 23.5 metres across at the transepts. It has an octagonal spire rising 53.3 meters above ground level. Wesley's organ was the first pipe organ in Melbourne. It was built in England, and arrived in Melbourne in 1842, being moved to the present church in 1858. It was largely rebuilt in 1957. Inside the church are two paintings by the noted Australian painter Rupert Bunny (1864–1947): "The Prodigal Son" (Luke 15:11-32) and "Abraham's Sacrifice" (Genesis 22:1-14), which Bunny gave to Wesley Church in 1934. The statue of John Wesley A statue of John Wesley stands in front of the church. It was sculpted by the British sculptor Paul Raphael Montford in 1935.

This post is part of the Spiritual Sundays meme,
and also part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme.










2 comments:

  1. It's just exquisite! I love the grey stone, and the stained glass! Lovely church!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful architecture and very fine lead light glass Nick.

    ReplyDelete

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