John Wesley and Charles Wesley, sons of Samuel and Susanna Wesley were born at Epworth, a Lincolnshire town in the early 1700s. John was the preacher (he preached more than 50,000 sermons) and Charles the musician (he wrote some 6000 hymns).
Both were ordained Anglican priests, and had new, real and deeper “conversion” experiences in May 1738. On the 24th May at Aldersgate Street John “felt my heart strangely warmed, knew that I did trust in Christ for my salvation and that I had been set free from the law of sin and death”. From then on began a great evangelical revival which spread through England and Wales, bringing tremendous social and moral changes.
Methodist emphasis has always been upon Sin, Salvation, Assurance and Sanctification as is stated in the four ALLs of Methodism:-
- ALL need to be saved,
- ALL can be saved,
- ALL can know they are saved, and
- ALL can be saved to the uttermost.
The two Pillars upon which Methodism stood (and still stands) are, Fellowship and Mission:
- Fellowship = the Class Meeting
- Mission = Let me commend my Saviour to you = telling others about Jesus Christ and caring for the orphanages, Schools, the sick, the poor, the aged and those in prison.
THE METHODIST CHURCH largely follows Protestant Reformers, but lays greater stress on certain doctrines. Wesley emphasised certain aspects of Christian discipleship, never losing sight of the objectivity of God’s act in Jesus. He stressed:
- salvation by faith as the only basis for the Christian life
- the importance of Christian love
- the social implications of the Gospel
- the necessity for growth in holiness
- the need for regular Christian fellowship
The MCSA functions as :
- a Connexion which meets as a Conference under the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Ivan Abrahams. 12 Districts comprise the Connexion – we are in the Natal Coastal District and meet as a Synod under Bishop Purity Malinga,
- Near to 250 Circuits are in the Connexion – we are in the Clerpine Circuit, and meet as a Circuit Quarterly Meeting under the Superintendant minister, Revd Peter Crundwell.
- Approximately 4000 Societies are in the Connexion. A Society is a local congregation headed by a Leaders’ Meeting led by a Resident Minister. The MCSA consists of more than a million members served by some 800 Ministers together with Deacons, Evangelists, Bible Women, Local Preachers, Lay Agents and appointed Youth Workers.
The four Pillars upon which modern day Methodism stands in Southern Africa are:
Spirituality Evangelism Morality and Dignity.
Methodism in Hillcrest
Methodists have been meeting together in Hillcrest for more than 60 years; first services in a wood and iron hall on the land now occupied by the Civic Offices. In 1943 after that little hall was demolished, services were held in the Highbury Chapel, maybe for as long as forty years.
The Anglicans and Methodists then shared the Anglican Hall in Nqutu Road which was dedicated in September 1984. Additional buildings were added over a period of time and the premises were happily shared until June 2002 when the Methodist Church was moved across the road to their own premises. Good relations with our Anglican friends continue! Our new church was officially opened on the 10th November 2002 by Bishop Purity Malinga.
In the early years HMC was served by ministers from Kloof. Hillcrest first appeared on the Circuit Preaching Plan as from 4th February 1973: Services were held at Highbury.
For the past 3 decades Hillcrest has had its own resident minister. George Pappas, Jonathan Anderson, Raymond Pitts, Arthur Loans, Neil Oosthuizen and Eric Dorey, have all served this congregation. The Rev Andrew Robinson is the Superintendent of the Clerpine Circuit, having replaced Rev. Peter Crundwell a few years ago.
We are in the Hillvale Region of the Clerpine Circuit and the Rev Andrew Robinson and Rev Chris Mokone are our present resident ministers, who are assisted by Deacon Ernie Nightingale (Waterfall), Evangelist Jackson Tokwe (Molweni) and Mrs. Glynnis Crowe (Pastoral Assistant) . We have a membership of some 600 which includes 30 Zulu speaking ladies who meet for Manyano and worship at 11.30 am on Sunday mornings. Mrs. Ester Duma, an accredited Local Preacher, is the Society Steward who supervises that part of our work.
As many of you are no doubt aware we recently conducted a series of retreats at which we gave serious thought to what we believed a church was all about and, in particular, what God wanted us at Hillcrest Methodist Church (HMC) to aspire to as a church. The outcome, after much prayer, discussion, debate and reference to the Bible has been summarized in the document which follows.
In essence we want HMC to become a “Light on the Hill”, a place which is warm and welcoming, a place where we can learn to love and worship our God more dearly and, through this growing and transforming experience, we can actively enable his light to shine through us to the benefit of the community as a whole and especially to the least, the last, and the lost.
Wow…! That is quite a tall order, I hear you say, how can we possibly aspire to all that? Well, on our own it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, but we are confident that this is the way God wants us to go, and we are also confident that he will enable us, individually and as a church, to glorify his Name and help in building the Kingdom of God here in Hillcrest.
Even with God’s help it won’t be easy and it will require a constant and conscious effort on the part of each one of us to try to live and actively promote this vision of our church, in the way we live and interact with each other and with our community on a daily basis. Pew-warming won’t cut it.
How effective we shall be in working towards and living this vision will depend not merely on how good the minister is; or, on how good the door stewards are; nor how wonderful the flowers are; nor how well we warm the pews; nor how good the words look on a piece of paper……..it will depend on how well and to what extent each and every one of us contributes and makes the effort to live as a ‘light’ to the nation, a child of God, a disciple of Jesus.
It matters not whether you are just starting your journey with Christ or whether you have been on the road for some time; it matters only that you continue to open your heart to God and commit yourself to try….every moment, every day, and always.
We look forward to you joining us on this joyful roller coaster ‘journey into light’. We trust that God will get us through the inevitable potholes and that others will see and want to join.
We have 3 pillars under which all our ministries operate. They are Growing, Embracing & Serving.