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WESLEYAN CHURCH ANNIVERSARY.

'Hie celebration of the fourth anniversary of the Wesleyan Church in this township, which terminated last night with a, tea and public meeting, has been throughout very satisfactory, notwithstanding that, at the outset, peculiar difficulties had to be surmounted, and the attendance at the tea meeting last evening anything but •. encouraging. The Rev. W. E. Gillam, of Christchurch, conducted the services on Sunday last, speaking at the morning service from Isaiah xxvi., 3 ; and in the evening gave an impressive and eloquent sfermon on the text —“Quench not the Spirit.” The attendance at the morning service was unusually large, but the unpropitioua weather prevailing later on in the day, doubtless accounted for the i , moderate number present at night. Mr Gillam also addressed the children of the; Sunday School on Sunday afternoon, arid the rev. gentleman gave practical evidence, - Tr of possessing the unusual talent of making his remarks acceptable to both old and - 1 - young. The collections for the day, which were on behalf of the trust fund of the church, amounted to L 4 15s ; this, of course, being exclusive of the ordinary envelope donations. The usual tea and public meeting in connection with the anniversary took place yesterday evening in the church, when a moderate number of visitors and friends were present. The ladies of the congregation had evidently spared no pains in catering to the most fastidious of appetites, and the profuseness of creature comforts was generally remarked. The following ladies provided the “trays,” and were indefatigable in their efforts to bring their part of the evening’s engagements to a successful issue Mesdames Ling, Hoatten, G. Andrews, W. H. Collins, Hodder, H. M. Jones, Thiele, J. Orr, Ray, and Causey. The bachelors'

table was, on this occasion, represented by a “cash” donation from these adherents of celibacy. < The public meeting commenced shortly before eight o’clock, the Rev. W. Keall r .. presiding. After devotional exercises, - the chairman called upon Mr J. E. Buchanan to make a statement regarding the finances of the church. Mr Buchanan, who possesses the happy knack of making the otherwise dry subject of finance a most attractive theme, ■aid that much as they had talked in the , past, and as much as the congregation of '• that church had been derided, they were 1 in a better position financially than they had ever been. During the year ended ■ 80th September, 1881, the sum of L 448 Os lid had been raised for the trust fund • alone, and that amount added to the circuit income of over L3OO for the same period, showed the gratifying total of about LBOO raised during the past year. - Of that amount, the sum of L 245 19s: 3d had been collected in less than two months, by special effort, to meet urgent demands, and it was only fair to mention that L2OO had during the last twelve months come from outside sources, _of which amount Mr Garrick, of Christchurch, had given the handsome donation of LIOO. In concluding his speech, which was intensely humorous throughout, Mr Buchanan spoke in high terms of the pastor of the congregation, and questioned whether there was any other man in New Zealand who could have done so much for Methodism in Ashburton than the Rev. W. Keall. By the way in which that gentleman had brought his business experience to bear on the church’s financial condition, the debt of L 1,600 which existed two years ago had been reduced to L 1 ,056. (Applause). Anthem : “ The Lord is my portion.” The chairman, after referring to several causes which perhaps accounted for the somewhat meagre attendance at the tea meeting, said that the very satisfactory financial statement just made by Mr Buchanan was really the result of the steps taken by the late Chairman of the District (Rev. J. B. Richardson), who, by his practical help, advice, and influence, had assisted in no small measure to place them in the hopeful position they were in that evening. In speaking of the donations which had been given from time to time, Mr Keall said that no individual’s name had been lost sight of, and while the names of many kind friends who had contributed in various ways had not been read out in detail, those names all appeared in |the church’s ledger, and could be inspected by any who wished so to do. After apologising for the absence of the Rev. J. Nixon, who was detained at home through illness, the chairman resumed his seat, and the choir sang the Anthem, “ Arise and Shine. ” The Rev. A. M. Beattie introduced his remarks by observing that he believed in the Scriptural injunction to “ Owe no man anything, but to love one another.” He would like his friends the Wesleyans to get out of debt, and then they would he at liberty to extend their liberality to their neighbors. In an admirable ad- ' dress, Mr Beattie then proceeded to speak on the word “ Attention,” and the very racy manner in which he treated the subject was provokative of much merriment, especially when the rev. gentleman spoke in facetious terms of some hindrances to concentrating attention on various subjects. Anthem—“ Oh ! How Lovely. The Chairman then called on Eev. W. E. Gillam to address the meeting, stating also that he (Mr Gillam) would be expected to propose a vote of thanks to the ladies before taking his seat. The Rev. W. E. Gillam commenced his speech with a humorous reference to the first address he had ever given—about nine years ago—which was at a Juvenile Missionary Society’s meeting, when, after speaking for about ten minutes, he had his attention withdrawn by hearing a lady from behind whisper. “ Look at his legs,” which, from excessive nervousness, were very shaky, the result being an abrupt conclusion of his carefully prepared harangue. He confessed to feeling somewhat timid in addressing an Ashburton audience, because from what he had heard of people in this district, they would not be satisfied unless they got a good speech. Before he left England, he had been told that it he came to New Zealand, he would have to “ endure hardness as a good soldier,” and he now felt there was some truth in the remark. He had had hard beds to sleep on called “ shakedowns,” and had to do some amount of riding on horseback, at the same time knowing as much about horses as an engine-driver. He had been asked to move a vote of thanks to the ladies, which reminded him of a negro’s story that God made man first and woman afterwards, and, the black preacher added, “ woman had been after man ever since.” (Laughter.) But in regard to the tea meeting that night, he thought the women were a long way ahead of the men. [The vote of thanks was here put, and, it is unnecessary to add, was carried unanimously.] Mr Gillam then proceeded to speak on “ Difficulties,” and in referring to difficulties through which the colony had passed, said that, as a “new chum,” his observation went to prove that one of the principal causes of the recent depression was rash speculation—that speculation which went so far that a man would risk all that he possessed to secure wealth, and in case of failure such men were ruined. Gambling of that description was equally as bad as any that occurred on the racecourses of the country. The topics of running into debt and taking right views of life, in their relation to “ difficulties,” were vigorously dealt with by the speaker, who completely carried his audience with him—one moment causing excessive laughter, and the next bringing them to a most serious frame of mind.

Anthem—“ Open ye the gates ” The Rev. Thomas Brooks, of Leeston, gave an excellent address on “ progress ” as it effects- the political, commercial, educational and spiritual affairs of the colony, but our limited space precludes ns from doing more than refer to one portion of his remarks on education. Mr Brooks said that perhaps education was the leading question of the day, and the progress which it had made had already broken down a state of things which once existed ; when the amount of balance in the bank, and the amount of a man’s rent roll was the basis of his influence. The American poet’s graphic story of “ Dollars and Dimes ” was a thing of the past, and the brains of men would now rule the country, and not *be money which men possessed. Mr Brooks concluded his speech by moving a vote of thanks to the choir, which was carried very enthusias-

tically. Mr H. M. Jones proposed, and Mr W. H. Collins seconded, a vote of thanks to the speakers, which was carried by acclamation. The Rev. W. Keall made an explanatory statement with reference to some financial matters connected with the Beafield church, and trusted that ere long some effort would be made to clear off the balance of debt remaining on that buildIng. Mr Collins said he would not like the meeting to separate without a hearty vote of thanks being accorded to the chairman, and spoke of the energy and ability which had characterised Mr Keall’s work in Ashburton. Mr John Orr seconded the motion, and also bore his testimony to the very excellent way in which the rev. chairman had managed the affairs of the church during his pastorate in Ashburton. The Rev. W. E. Gillam put the motion to the meeting, when it was carried in a very demonstrative manner, the whole meeting, by the request rf Mr Gillam, showing

their hearty sympathy with the vote by rising to their feet. Mr Keall having responded, the choir sang another anthem— ‘ ‘ Why art thou cast down,” and the proceedings came to a close by the Benediction being pronounced. The choir, under the leadership of Mr Chas. Ray, contributed in no small measure to the evening’s enjoyment, and a concert by its members, to be held in February next, will be looked forward to with pleasing anticipations by those who listened to the music of last night, and were acquainted with the drawbacks which the choir labored under.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

WESLEYAN CHURCH ANNIVERSARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 508, 14 December 1881

Word Count
1,700

WESLEYAN CHURCH ANNIVERSARY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 508, 14 December 1881

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