Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

The only British stamp ever to celebrate Methodism was this 19p Christmas issue of 1999. The stamp was part of a series of four released by Royal Mail entitled "The Christian's Tale," celebrating the previous 1,000 years of Christian experience in Britain. American-born artist Brody Neuenschwander, an internationally renowned calligrapher living in Belgium, designed the stamp.

The stamp design incorporated a mixture of written texts and image, an approach for which Neuenschwander is particularly well known. As part of his research into the Wesleys, the artist visited John Wesley's Chapel in London as well as Wesley College in Bristol. One of the chapel's stained-glass angels served as inspiration for the stamp.

Hark! the herald angels sing,

"Glory to the new born King, peace on earth, and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!"

Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;

with th' angelic host proclaim,

"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! the herald angels sing, "Glory to the new born King!"

Monday, November 20, 2006

Westminster Central Hall

Westminster Central Hall stands in Victoria Street, London, directly opposite Westminster Abbey. The Hall serves as a Methodist Church as well as a conference and exhibition centre.

Central Hall was built in 1912 and funded by 1,025,000 contributors between 1898 and 1908 to the 'Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund' (or the 'Million Guinea Fund' as it became more commonly known), whose aim was to raise one million guineas from one million Methodists.

Central Hall hosted the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946. It has been regularly used for political rallies - famous speakers include Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill.

On 14 April 1958, the United Nations issued 3c and 8c stamps to commemorate the first meeting of the General Assembly. Both used the same design which pictured Westminster Central Hall and which can be seen on the First Day Covers shown above.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Philippines issue stamps to mark centenary of Methodist Hospital

An interesting piece of news about a new Methodist-related stamp issue. Read all about it here: LINK

John Wesley commemorated

Back in 2003 members of the Methodist Philatelic Society worked hard, but unsuccessfully, at trying to persuade Royal Mail to mark the 300th Anniversary of John Wesley's birth.

It's nice, therefore, to see that some other postal administrations did feel this was an event worth marking. The set illustrated was issued by the Bahamas on 27th April 2004 (so a little late) and shows:
15c Methodist Church at Cupid's Cay, Governor's Harbour. 25c Church at Baillou Hill Road and Chapel Street, Grant's Town. 50c Wooden church at Marsh Harbour. 65c Ebenezer Methodist Church. 70c Trinity Methodist Church. 80c Portrait of John Wesley by Antonius Roberts.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wesleyan Methodist Church – Ulleskelf, N. Yorks

John Nelson was instrumental in establishing a Methodist community in the village, having founded one at Acomb near York. He came in 1746, whilst staying at Milford Hall nearby. His service took place in the open air near where the old chapel was later rebuilt. A regular meeting house was organised in 1780 and the first chapel built in 1827. It is to the rear (the last chimneys mark the building). For 12 years it was unheated and a stove was in place by 1839, put in by the Sunday School. The first Band of Hope was held here in 1883 and the same year a library of books was added but ceased after a few years due to the expense of buying new books.
By 1913 a new chapel was needed and was added to the front, as seen on the postcard. It can hold 180 people, has an organ chamber and arrangements for the choir. The old chapel was to remain for the use of the Sunday School.

It was printed at the time of the opening of the chapel. This one was written on November 1st, 1918 a few days before the end of hostilities of the 1st World War. It was written to a visitor who was due to speak on the 3rd but had not been in touch with them. It remarks: “I am sorry but things are very much upset just at the moment owing to the war”. A service of thanksgiving was held in the chapel on November 13th, just 2 weeks later, to celebrate the cessation of hostilities.

Thanks for the information go the granddaughter of the person who wrote the card, who was amazed to see her relative’s handwriting on the card.

Terry Smart

Monday, October 09, 2006

Methodist Colleges

Methodist Colleges can provide an interesting theme within Methodist philately.

Today's first cover comes from the old Hartley Victoria Methodist College in Manchester. The Manchester Theological College admitted its first students in July 1881. The College's early years were marred by severe financial difficulties, but by the beginning of the 20th century, under the direction of the Principal, Dr Arthur Samuel Peake, 105 students were being trained at the College for the Primitive Methodist Ministry.
In 1906 the College was renamed after the industrialist Sir William Hartley, and in 1934 Hartley College amalgamated with the nearby Victoria Park College to form the Hartley Victoria College. In 1972 the decision was taken to close Hartley Victoria, but the College survived and continues to operate on a smaller scale in premises shared with the Baptist Church.

The second cover is from Wesley College, Belize City in the former British Honduras (now Belize). Unlike Hartley Victoria, which existed to train new candidates for the ministry, this College is a church-affiliated secondary school. Together, the two covers show some of the breadth of educational interest within the Methodist Church over many decades.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cover from a WW1 Canadian Methodist Chaplain

A Methodist postal history item displayed at the Annual Meeting of the Methodist Philatelic Society at Wesley's Chapel, London on 30th September 2006.

Canadian military cover posted from APO S.11, dated 23 OC 18. This was the Army Post Office serving the large BEF camp complex at Etaples, France. The letter was written and self censored by Captain Rev. J. Bruce Hunter, while serving at No. 7 Canadian General Hospital (7 CGH), Canadian Army Medical Corps. Although the censor number in the censor handstamp type 6 (CM6) was erased (standard practice when a letter was addressed to a country outside the British Empire), it almost certainly was that used by 7 CGH. The hospital was located at Etaples from 14 October 1916 to 31 May 1919.
Captain Rev. J. Bruce Hunter, a Methodist Chaplain, was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the Bourlon Wood operations before Cambrai. On 27 September 1918 he went over the top with the attacking wave and untiringly ministered to the wounded under very heavy enemy shelling and machine gun fire. He not only dressed the wounded but repeatedly, and under fire, assisted in carrying wounded men back to safety.

Rev. John Bruce Hunter had been appointed Captain and Chaplain to the Canadian Overseas Forces on 15 August 1916 and the following May sailed for England. He was initially posted to Witley Camp with the 208th Battalion, Irish Canadians. In August 1917 he was posted to the Discharge Depot, Buxton, where he remained until ordered to France for duty with the Canadian Corps in April 1918.

John Bruce Hunter was promoted to Major in May 1919. By 1942 he was minister of St. James United Church in Montreal, Qu├ębec, a Lt-Colonel and Chaplain of Canadian Military District No. 4.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Some Methodist Stamps

Grenada miniature sheet from 1986 showing St George's Methodist Church and celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Methodism in Grenada.

Ireland 1997 portraying John Wesley, founder of Methodism.

New Zealand 1972, the 150th Anniversary of Methodism in New Zealand.

Methodist Conference Cover 2006

As usual the Methodist Philatelic Society commissioned a special Royal Mail postmark and a commemorative cover design for the 2006 Methodist Conference in Edinburgh. The postmark motif draws on the Conference "Forth Bridge" logo, turning it into a Scottish saltire. An appropriate commemoration of the first Methodist Conference to be held in Scotland.

This cover will be supplied to members of the MPS Cover Service. Contact the Society (see top of page) if you'd like to purchase a copy.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Methodist Philatelic Society Cover Service

A cover service is available for members and supplies to subscribers on an annual basis, where possible, all known Methodist related covers and stamps. This part of the Society is funded by members themselves who subscribe, initally paying a deposit in advance. A sum of £15 (US$25) will usually cover a normal year. This enables the Society to buy, commission or organise the printing of covers and inserts to commemorate significant Methodist events or to purchase stamps.

The illustration is of a cover which will be sent to 2006 subscribers and which commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Wesley Methodist Church, Winchester, UK.

For more information contact the Cover Service Secretary

Welcome to the Methodist Philatelic Society

Methodist philately can include special stamp issues, historic Methodist covers and postal history, postcards and modern covers.

To the left are a set of stamps issued by the West Indian island of Antigua, marking the establishment of an autonomous Methodist Church.

The example on the right shows both sides of a postcard sent in the 1930s by Methodist missionaries in China asking for funds.