No. 48 - The Pilgrim Uniting Church - 'Preaching without Cessation'

The origins of this Methodist Church, which is now the Pilgrim Uniting Church, was covered in an earlier blog entry on the former Wesleyan Church on Paterson Street (23 January 2018). The rapid growth of the Methodist movement in Launceston in the 1850’s soon gave rise for the need to build a much larger church. Part of the reason for the revival of Methodism arose out of the impact of dynamic preachers visiting Tasmania. The Examiner reported that in 1855:

“…on the occasion of the visit of the Rev. William Taylor from America…. Meetings were frequently held on the old Launceston Market Green; the preacher's voice carrying easily to the farthest edge of the great crowd. At the conclusion of the gatherings a procession was formed and marched singing to the church. On the last day the Rev. W. Taylor preached without cessation until a cab finally rushed him away to catch the waiting steamer”.

During this period the membership of the church doubled and a new building adjacent to the originally Wesleyan Church was built. The foundation stone was laid in September 1866 and the building was completed in 1868.

The Gothic Revival style structure was designed by Melbourne architects Crouch and Wilson. The church’s congregation sat in rented or purchased pews, and the large space had the capacity for a congregation of 1000 people.


On the occasion of the church's centenary in 1932, the Examiner highlighted the Methodist communities achievements:

''The church has had a long and honourable association with the public life of Launceston, and many of the most prominent public men of the town have been numbered with its worshippers. It has maintained a consistent tradition of generosity to the various mission causes of Methodism, its annual gifts' to foreign missions... [and] it has also been prominently associated with many philanthropic causes. It may be mentioned that the Paterson Street Church was the first Methodist Church In Australia to maintain its own life without financial assistance from the English Missionary Committee". 

In 1977, three separate Launceston congregations: the Paterson Street Methodist Church; Christ Church Congregational church and Chalmers Presbyterian Church came together at the Paterson Street building and became part of The Uniting Church of Australia. It is now known as the Pilgrim Uniting Church and the original Wesleyan Chapel of 1835 now serves as its hall.



Photo: Duncan Grant 2018

Photo: Duncan Grant 2018

Photo: Duncan Grant 2018

Photo: Duncan Grant 2018



Sources:

The Mercury Friday 1 April 1932
Examiner Friday 1 April 1932

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